Will President Obama in 2012 be able to harken back to his ’08 theme of unity? He will have to, especially with the brewing and credible general election threat posed by Jon Huntsman’s centrist presidential campaign. But he’ll need to do more than he has already to make good on his promise to govern in a bipartisan manner.
The president could have filled the void left by the recent exit of Robert Gates as defense secretary, the more high-profile of the two conservatives in his Cabinet, with a Republican. He didn’t. But now with the possible departure of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the prospect of future turnovers, Obama has the opportunity to bring more Republicans into his government. One candidate, despite his age (almost 80), is former Wyoming senator Alan Simpson, who co-chaired the president’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
During a December 2008 news conference announcing Hillary Clinton, his former bitter rival, as his choice for secretary of state, Obama said all presidents are endangered of “getting wrapped up in groupthink.” Obama in 2011 and 2012 should take his own advice.