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Why Obama Should Announce Key Cabinet Members When He Announces His VP Choice

07/04/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

There's been this ongoing allusion to Lincoln, from the beginning. Barack announced in Springfield, Illinois remember -- and he referenced Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about Lincoln's Team of Rivals in at least one discussion of why Hillary would be seriously considered for VP.

How about Hillary for Secretary of State or even Defense? She's done serious work on the Armed Services Committee and earned a lot of credibility at the Pentagon. And talk about breaking glass ceilings. Picture the stage with some of the other rivals all standing together with Hillary and Barack. John Edwards for Attorney General? Biden at State. Or maybe Richard Lugar? Dodd (if he recovers from his VIP Countrywide mortgage) at Treasury. Richardson at Interior. Rendell at Labor. Work Chuck Hegel in for something that has nothing to do with abortion rights. Maybe Arlen Specter for Attorney General and shift Edwards to HUD to serve his poverty cause? Jim Webb for national security advisor?

The details aren't the point. The point is that Obama runs as the head of a slate, an administration with a profile that crosses party lines and creates a team of rivals for real. The positive impact of this move might be tremendous, and what's the downside? It would certainly throw McCain for a loop, neutralize the whole experience issue at a stroke, and actualize the theme of a new kind of politics without looking reckless. Most of all it would take the exclusive focus off Obama as the campaign heats up and all that latent racism out there starts to kick in -- and don't kid yourself, it will, it will.

Putting Obama at the center of a team of rivals, all of them familiar, even venerable, pieces of political furniture in everybody's mind -- nothing would do more to dampen the he's-not-one-of-us factor that is, in the last analysis, still the greatest danger Obama faces.

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