While President Obama’s second inauguration took most of the political headlines this last week, confirmation hearings continued to fill out the president’s administration for his second term and the gun control debate raged.
Denis McDonough – Winner – as expected, Barack Obama named Denis McDonough his new chief-of-staff. This is a major promotion for the former deputy national security adviser. Now that he has the reins of the president’s schedule, McDonough can help shape policy from the back room, deciding who gets in to speak to the President and who does not get to make their case to the top executive.
Saxby Chambliss – Loser – People from outside of his home state of Georgia may not know of Chambliss (pictured), but the two-term Republican senator announced on January 25th that he will not seek re-election in 2014, citing partisan gridlock. He recently made news when he came out in favor of possible tax hikes, in opposition to people rallying around Grover Norquist.
Chuck Hagel – Winner – The new Defense secretary nominee got a major boost on Sunday when he received the formal endorsement of two retired generals, former Air Force general and CIA director Michael Hayden and Stanley McChrystal, who was once a general in the U.S. Army. Hagel won two purple hearts, once by saving his brother’s life, and the other for a time he sustained a life-threatening injury, and was saved by the same brother.
Dianne Feinstein – Loser – The senator from California introduced legislation that would ban the sale, transfer, manufacturing or importation of hundreds of models and varieties of weapons. The bill would include firearms with any one of a number of “military-style” features which are found on many types of arms. The provisions of the proposed law would also ban guns with magazines holding over 10 rounds. Although the bill has just been introduced and limits thousands of models, it is likely to cause a lot of backlash for over-reaching its stated purposes.
Barack Obama – Winner – While Senator Feinstein took a hard stance on the highly-contentious issue of gun control, President Obama staked out a more moderate approach, even stating that he and guests often go skeet shooting at camp David. While differentiating between gun usage in rural and urban areas, he was still able to a toe a middle-of-the-road line which has been lacking in this debate since the beginning.
Bobby Jindal – Winner – Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal laid out his vision for a new Republican Party, stating in a fast-paced speech in Charlotte that the GOP must “stop looking backwards.” The next presidential elections are not until 2016, but people who intend to be serious contenders then need to start positioning themselves today. Jindal did just that with his speech last week.
Beyoncé – She may not be a politician, but faking her performance by using a prerecorded track during the inauguration was just a poor show.
What did you think of last week’s developments?
(Photo: U.S. Senate)