Obama as far as I know has placed himself as neither a communist nor as a socialist, though many on the right wing here in this country seem to have tried to place him here. As near as I can tell, he is a slightly to the left of center Democrat, and an old-fashioned Liberal in terms of domestic politics.
The presence of of Clinton folk on his proposed staff ó again, as best I understand it ó comes from Obama being caught between a rock and a hard place. If he brings in entirely new blood to bring about the promised changes, then he sets himself up for an attack by the right for being a dilettante, bringing in a team of people who aren't up to the task of governing. When Bill Clinton tried this in 1992, this is in fact what happened. It greatly slowed his ability to consolidate his power, and was not in the end very productive for the country. The other option for Obama is to do what he is doing ó to draw from the pool of experienced talent that's available to him. In this case, that talent has mostly gotten its experience in the Clinton administration. He must then hope to use a seasoned chief of staff to make them work his way, rather than Bill Clinton's way, and bring about change by stamping his own mark and direction on the team.
In doing this, he also draws criticism from the right, but he has the possibility of an effective administrative team that can move into action more quickly. The right will be trying to sabotage him whatever he tries to do unless he can make them see things his way. They may try to sabotage him anyway, even if he does. They're not bad people, it's simply how the system works at this point.
"Neo-liberals" you may understand better than I do, Juju. You confuse me, though, because you use them in a spectrum with socialist and communist in your talking about Obama, as though Liberal and Neo-liberal were stops along the same continuum. Liberal and Conservative may be; Neo-liberal, near as I can tell, is not, but has something to do with international politics and game theory, including zero-sum games. I'd need more understanding than the Wikipedia article I read to say that Neo-Liberalism had anything to do with American Liberalism at all.
The globalization questions seem to be involved, somehow, as well as trade barriers. Liberals, as near as I can tell, at this point (many are calling themselves "progressives" now) are in favor of tarriff protection. Neo-Liberals, if I understand you correctly, are not. Neither are Conservatives, according to their traditional economic position. They tend to be Free Trade folks.
Bill Clinton, though he was a Democrat, was something called a New Democrat, which meant that he favored many actual Republican positions. This may be one of the reasons the Republicans were so darned mad with him. One of those positions was Free Trade, which led him into NAFTA. Hillary was, apparently, against it at the time. Whether or not it was a smart move would depend on whether or not the actual provisions of the act were or could be enforced. Labor fairness, health and safety provisions, I'm told, are in there, but have not been enforced. This pretty much blows the whole thing out of the water. GATT may have similar problems, though I'm not sure.
Thoughts, comments, corrections from you or anybody among the multitudes who know more about this than I do?
Sincerely, Bob Kaven