Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Take the Hammer and Build a Cabinet

Once the post-election party cleanup is complete, and the funeral has taken place, President-elect Obama will have to assemble a Cabinet and staff.

I'm sure that the Beltway Boys and the left-wing equivalent are running around Georgetown, speculating and pontificating on Obama's future Cabinet/staff choices, but I don't really pay attention to the Beltway Boys and the left-wing equivalent, so I have no idea who Obama will pick.

But, without reservation, I can predict that the right-wing side of the aisle will immediately voice displeasure with the choices, stating:

They're just a bunch of Clinton Administration retreads

To which I will respond:


There are basically two kinds of people floating around Washington:
  1. Elected officials, bureaucrats, lobbyists, pundits, and others that are aligned with the Democratic Party.

  2. Elected officials, bureaucrats, lobbyists, pundits, and others that are aligned with the Republican Party.
At this point, all of the Democrats are polishing up their resumes to join Obama, and all of the Republicans are polishing up their resumes to join lobbying firms and think tanks.

In most cases, it's a vicious cycle. The pool from which Obama can draw consists primarily of Clinton Administration people (and perhaps some Carter Administration people). Look at Bush 43, who populated his staff with Bush 41 people, Reagan people, and (at the highest levels) Ford people.

There are a few exceptions to the rule, when a President brings someone from outside of Washington into the administration, and that person eventually becomes a Washington power broker. Jody Powell, now of Powell Tate, was the first person that came to mind. But generally, the Washingtonians recruit from within.

So now Obama will have to populate a Cabinet. While there are 15 million Cabinet and Cabinet-level positions these days (eventually, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will become fourseparate Departments, each with its own Secretary), the Cabinet members that really count are the ones that have been in existence since 1789:
  • Secretary of State

  • Secretary of the Treasury

  • Secretary of Defense (formerly Secretary of War)

  • Attorney General
It will be interesting to see who President-elect Obama chooses for these positions.

Oh, and since I'm sure that Barack reads my blog regularly, I can give him a couple of suggestions:
  1. Please don't appoint Wesley "I'm a general" Clark as Secretary of Defense.

  2. Please don't appoint Bennett "I'm a general too" Landreneau as Director of FEMA.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Of course, the Cabinet appointments don't matter, because they won't have power. Now who has the office next to Obama's - THAT'S what will be interesting.

Sphere: Related Content
blog comments powered by Disqus