Saturday, October 09, 2010

Obama's Disastrous Choice of Tom Donilon as National Security Advisor

Things became a lot scarier for our national security yesterday when President Obama appointed Tom Donilon as his new National Security Advisor replacing General Jones. To prove my point all you have to do is read Bob Woodward's new book "Obama's Wars" The Republican National Committee did and this is their report:

Obama’s Choice Of “Democratic Fixer” And Lobbyist
Tom Donilon As New National Security Advisor
Could Spell “Disaster”
Secretary Of Defense Robert Gates “Felt That Donilon Did Not Understand The Military Or Treat Its Senior Leadership With Sufficient Respect” And That Donilon Would Be A “Disaster” As Obama’s NSA.

“Gates did this in part, he told an aide, because he did not think Donilon would work out as Jones’ successor. Gates felt
that Donilon did not understand the military or treat its senior leadership with sufficient respect. The secretary later told Jones
that Donilon would be a ‘disaster’ as Obama’s national security adviser.” (Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 343)


Donilon Elicited Criticism That He “Didn’t Have The Broad Experience For The Sensitive White House Position And
Lived In A Lawyer’s Bunker.” “Donilon unloaded on many people at the Pentagon, invoking the president’s name and
insisting Obama wanted this fixed immediately. He was a lawyer with one client – the president. But instead of absorbing
Obama’s frustration, he was a pure transmission belt for it. He took the heat from the president and retransmitted it, eliciting
sniping that Donilon didn’t have the broad experience for the sensitive White House position and lived in a lawyer’s bunker.”
(Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 195)
“Donilion Had Not Even Visited Afghanistan. He Had No Feel For The Situation On The Ground Or For The Military. He
Had Hosed Down Pentagon Officials And In The Process Come Close To Endangering His Relationships With Some
Of Them, Including Gates.” (Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 196)
Jones Thought Donilon Had Made Key Mistakes, Including Not Visiting Afghanistan, Iraq, “Or Really Left The Office
For A Serious Field Trip,” Which Gave Donilon “No Credibility With The Military.” “In good Marine Corps tradition, Jones
believes that all key subordinates were entitled to a performance evaluation. … But Donilon had made three mistakes. First, he
had never gone to Afghanistan or Iraq, or really left the office for a serious field trip. As a result, he said, you have no direct
understanding of these places. ‘You have no credibility with the military.’ You should go overseas. The White House, the
Situation Room, interagency byplay, as important as they are, are not everything.” (Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 199)

• Jones Said Donilon Would “Frequently Pop Off With Absolute Declarations About Places [He Had] Never
Been” Which Almost Caused Secretary Gates To Walk Out Of An Oval Office Meeting. “Second, Jones
continued, you frequently pop off with absolute declarations about places you’ve never been, leaders you’ve never
met, or colleagues you work with. Gates had mentioned this to Jones, saying that Donilon’s sound-offs and strong
spur-of-the-moment opinions, especially about one general, had offended him so much at an Oval Office meeting that
he nearly walked out.” (Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, pp. 199-200)

• Jones Criticized Donilon For Not Being Able To Connect With Staff. “Third, he said you have too little feel for the
people who work day and night on the NSC staff, their salaries, their maternity leaves, their promotions, their family
troubles, all the things a manager of people has to be tuned into. ‘Everything is about personal relations,’ Jones said.”
(Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 200)
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Donilon “Made Impulsive Statements And Snap Judgments.” “On January 12, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti.
Leading the U.S. relief was Air Force General Douglas Fraser, head of the Southern Command. Early in the effort, Donilon
raced into Jones’ office. It was an example of how Donilon made impulsive statements and snap judgments.” (Bob Woodward,
Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 342)

• “‘We’ve Got To Replace General Fraser For Cause,’ Donilon Said. ‘He’s Incompetent. You Won’t Believe How
Slow They Are Getting Relief Down There.’” (Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 342)

• Jones Told Donilon To Calm Down And Pointed Out That Once Again, Donilon Had No Understanding Of The
Situation. “’Calm down,’ Jones said. ‘You’ve got to realize that SouthCom – do you even know where it is? SouthCom
is always at the bottom of the resource list. They get the last helpings from the military pie. They’re always
shortchanged. I know Fraser. He’s a good guy. He’ll straighten this out. It’s going to take longer than we would like.’”
(Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 342)


Jones Thought Obama Was Not Tough On His Political Advisers, Whom Jones Referred To As “Water Bugs,”
“Politurbo”, “Mafia”, The “Campaign Set,” “Major Obstacles To Developing And Deciding On A Coherent Policy.”

“Jones thought there was another group that President Obama was not tough enough on – his senior White House political
advisers, whom he saw as major obstacles to developing and deciding on a coherent policy. This group included Emanuel,
Axelrod, press secretary Robert Gibbs, and the two former Senate operatives now placed in the NSC – Denis McDonough and
Mark Lippert. He privately called them ‘the water bugs,’ the ‘Politburo,’ the ‘Mafia,’ or the ‘campaign set.” (Bob Woodward, Obama’s
Wars, 2010, pp. 137-138)

• According To NSC Member Ret. General Douglas Lute, The Obama Administration Was Divided Into “Tribes,”
With The Campaign Aides Dubbed The “Insurgency.” “Members of his [Gen. Doug Lute] shop privately described
the Obama administration in Afghan terms. ‘Tribes’ populated the presidency, reflecting its divisions. The Hillary tribe
lived at the State Department. The Chicago tribe occupied Axelrod’s and Emanuel’s offices. The campaign tribe at the
NSC – led by chief of staff Mark Lippert and strategic communications director Denis McDonough, both former Obama
campaign aides – seemed to flaunt their personal relationships with the president and often circumvented Jones as the
national security adviser. Lute’s team dubbed them the ‘insurgency.’” (Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 144)

• Jones Felt Obama’s Political Advisers Hindered Policy. “‘There are too many senior aides around the president,’
Jones said privately. ‘They’re like water bugs. They flit around. Rahm gets an idea at 10 A.M. and wants a briefing by 4
P.M., and I will say no’ because the work can’t be done in a day. The water bugs did not understand war or foreign
relations, Jones felt, and were too interested in measuring the short-term political impact of the president’s decisions in
these areas.” (Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 138)
Bob Woodward Noted That Everything To The Obama White House Is "Political" And That All They Focus On
Immediately Is "The Political Impact." CNN'S LARRY KING: "What do you make of this whole staff? I mean, you know all the
staffs going back a long way. What do you make of this one?" BOB WOODWARD: "It's political. They immediately think about
what is the political impact." (CNN's "Larry King Live," 10/3/10)

• Obama's White House Team Lives In The "Permanent Campaign." WOODWARD: "But the political staff is -- you
know, it's the permanent campaign." (CNN's "Larry King Live," 10/3/10)
Jones Felt He Could Never Connect With Obama And Felt Shut Out From The Inner Circle. “In 40 years in the Marine
Corps, Jones had always found a way to connect with the boss. That was not the case with Obama, whom he found cerebral
and distant. Jones had never really been invited into the inner circle of Emanuel, Axelrod, and Gibbs – and now Donilon. With
those aides holding so much control, Jones felt as though he couldn’t be in charge. He planned to leave office around the start
of 2011.” (Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 344)
At Times, It Seemed As If The White House Had Five Different National Security Advisers. “Blair realizedthat Jones had
no control over the place. Donilon and Brennan had direct access to the president, so they didn’t have to go through Jones.
There were at least three national security advisers – Jones, Donilon and Brennan. But Denis McDonough also had his own
turf, so he was a fourth. And Emanuel also tinkered in policy and acted at times as a fifth. ‘It’s the goddamnest thing I’ve ever
seen,’ Blair said.” (Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 289)
“Worse For Jones, He Often Felt Sidelined By Emanuel, Who Would Regularly Come To The National Security
Adviser’s Suite And See His Deputy, Donilon.” (Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 138)

• Jones Realized He Should Have Never Picked Donilon As His Deputy. “So Jones told Emanuel, ‘I’m the national
security adviser. When you come down there, come see me.’ It got better for a short time, but the practice of visiting
only Donilon soon started up again. Jones hadn’t realized what a clique the White House was. He concluded that if he
had understood that dynamic when he was picking a deputy, he never in a million years would have gone with
Donilon.” (Bob Woodward, Obama’s Wars, 2010, p. 138)


Donilon Is “A Classic Democratic Fixer” And Has “Done His Time In The Political Trenches.

. As a campaign veteran and lawyer at O’Melveny and Myers, he was a classic Democratic fixer with a
specialty in debate prep for Democratic candidates from Michael Dukakis to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Donilon also
worked at the collapsed mortgage giant Fannie Mae for several years, but kept his hand in foreign-policy circles through the
Council on Foreign Relations and as a congressional adviser on national security.” (Richard Wolffe, “The Next Rahm,” The Daily Beast,
Donilon Has Worked For The Greats, “Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis...” “Donilon's background as a
Democratic political strategist would be an asset to the Obama White House: He has worked for Jimmy Carter, Walter
Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden. From 1999 to 2005 he was a registered lobbyist working for Fannie Mae.
Donilon has also spent time inside the White House, serving President Clinton as the assistant secretary of state for public
affairs and as chief of staff for Secretary of State Warren Christopher.” (Alex Wagner, “The Next White House Chief Of Staff,” Politics
Daily, 9/30/10)
The Connections Between The Donilon And Biden Families Runs Deep. “Donilon’s ties to Biden do not stop there: His
brother Mike Donilon is Biden’s longstanding political consultant (now counselor), and his wife Cathy Russell is chief of staff to
Mrs. Biden. Another credential that might help Donilon win promotion: He knows how the media works, having held a job as a
pundit for CBS in 1988...” (Richard Wolffe, “The Next Rahm?” The Daily Beast, 9/28/10)


“Donilon Would Be A Rich Pick” Given His Longtime Ties To “Fannie Mae During The Housing Bubble” And Obama’s
Anti-Lobbyist Stance. “Given Obama’s talk about “exclud[ing] lobbyists from policymaking jobs,” and stopping the revolving
door between the executive branch and K Street, Donilon would be a rich pick. He was a top lobbyist at Fannie Mae during the
housing bubble, when Fannie fought — with Democratic help — to avoid any restrictions or curbs on its work to inflate home
values and get more people under mortgage. Before that, Donilon was a lobbyist at O’Melveny and Myers, where Fannie was a
client.” (Timothy Carney, “Rahm’s Replacement?: A Fannie Mae Lobbyist In The Pay Of Goldman,” The Washington Examiner, 9/8/10)

• In 2004, Thomas E. Donilon Was A Lobbyist On Behalf Of Fannie Mae. (

• In 1998, Thomas E. Donilon, Was A Lobbyist At O’Melveny And Myers, Where Fannie Mae Was A Client.
“In 2008, According To His Financial Disclosure Forms, Donilon Was A Paid Consultant For Citigroup, Goldman
Sachs, And Apollo Investments.” (Timothy Carney, “Rahm’s Replacement?: A Fannie Mae Lobbyist In The Pay Of Goldman,” The Washington
Examiner, 9/8/10)

Donilon “Served For Several Years As The Top Lawyer At Fannie Mae.” “Donilon is a longtime partner at O'Melveny &
Myers, the law firm of Warren Christopher, who was Clinton's first secretary of State. Donilon was Christopher's chief of staff at
State. He later served for several years as the top lawyer at Fannie Mae, which was on the verge of collapse when the federal
government took it over this year.” (John Mulligan, “R.I. Native Tom Donilon Is Part Of Obama’s Team,” The Providence Journal, 11/13/08)