John Brennan, Obama's chief intelligence adviser and anticipated CIA chief, was recently forced to withdraw his name. There was no drumbeat of opposition to Brennan from the front pages or on cable. Rather, the pick was torpedoed by the blogosphere.
"Apparently there is a lot of pressure on the Obama team from a blog saying that Brennan couldn't be made the director of the CIA because he was involved in torture and renditions, which he wasn't," said Mark Lowenthal, former assistant CIA director.
Very bad sign. One of the first challenges a new president faces is dealing with the extremists in his own party--or on the fringes of his own party. Ronald Reagan had the John Birchers whom he deftly defied and ignored. Clinton, before his election, shouted down Sister Soljah. George W. Bush went a step further, pissing off his core supporters by spending like a drunken sailor for 8 years.
While Obama seems determined to go forward with the Rick Warren invitation, he has folded to left-wing bloggers over his choice for Director of Central Intelligence. Not good.
America is at war with Islamofascist murders. This war requires a strong, skilled, and experienced CIA director. So far, Obama has failed to make any major intelligence appointments, indicating that foreign policy was not a strategic objective of his campaign. (Clinton as SECSTATE was purely political and likely offered in August.)
Other than this retreat, Obama's pre-Inaugural work has been uniformly outstanding, all things considered. He has assembled a centrist cabinet, for the most part, and allowed W to twist in the wind over the economy--which his cronies destroyed. But now the left is on his case. How he deals with the radicals whom he encouraged for 2 years will determine to a large degree the success of his administration.
For America's sake, let's hope he tells them to bugger off.