Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Ken Salazar and other Barack Obama cabinet picks messier than the BP oil spill

Today, President Barack Obama gets to enjoy the ultimate, inevitable result of tapping Janet Napolitano -- Janet Napolitano, as though the governor of Arizona was the ideal person for the job! -- to head the Homeland Security department: He'll meet with Republican governor Jan "Jannie Get Her Gun" Brewer, who, as Secretary of State, was Napolitano's automatic successor, to discuss just what the hell kind of crazy state she's running down in Arizona. The White House should have seen this one coming.

And here in Colorado, where Obama pulled Ken Salazar from the Senate to run the Department of the Interior, the mess just keeps spilling over.

Governor Bill Ritter filled Salazar's Senate seat with Michael Bennet, then the superintendent of Denver Public Schools, passing over such obvious candidates as Diana DeGette, John Hickenlooper and Andrew Romanoff, who was out of a job since he'd been term-limited as Speaker of the House. Nine months later, Romanoff finally decided to make a run for Bennet's seat -- and now the story that the White House offered Romanoff a job if he decided not to run against Bennet is spilling everywhere.

Next time, Obama will want to play his game of cabinet musical chairs more carefully. If there is a next time...

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun