Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

There has been some leftward carping about President Obama’s pick of Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff, but it’s what was required, unless he wanted to play out his first one hundred days in office as another Jimmy Carter. (Carter had his ‘Georgia Mafia’ with him when he came to office and they had to learn the wicked ways of Washington. By the time they did, Carter was ending his first term.) Emanuel, for all of his manifold faults, is good at playing the ‘enforcer’ and knows Congress inside out he’ll use strong-arm tactics when necessary to push through legislation, and that’s just what Obama needs.

At any rate, here are some suggestions to fill out President Obama’s cabinet, although I’m not delusional enough to think most of them will become reality:

Attorney General: David Iglesias. He’s a Republican, but an honest man who refused to prosecute cases for political reasons, even after pressure from heavy-hitters like New Mexico’s Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson; that sort of integrity alone should qualify him for this job, but he’s also a good lawyer and his appointment would demonstrate a real change of direction for the tattered Justice Department. If not him, how about California prosecutor Carol Lam who was also one of the eight Republican federal attorneys fired for not toeing the line for Karl Rove? Short of that, John Dean is out there, tested, rested and able.

Secretary of State: Bill Richardson is the obvious choice, and on Obama’s short list, but he may not want to give up New Mexico’s governorship. How about a surprise pick Valerie Plame’s husband and former ambassador Joe Wilson?

Secretary of Defense: Reaching across the aisle, how about Colin Powell? Yep, we’ll have to forgive his despicable performance at the UN and some other unsavory acts he indulged in out of fealty to the Bush clan, but he does know, and is respected by, the military and he was, initially, against the Iraq debacle. Aside from that, it will reassure older brass that Obama can be trusted. If not Powell, ex-Gen. Wesley Clark is looking for work.

Secretary of the Treasury: Either Paul Krugman or Dean Baker since they are both economists who clearly foresaw the current fiscal meltdown, but that probably won’t happen. Clinton retread Robert Reich has been mentioned, and he wouldn’t be bad at all. Obama campaign economic advisor Austan Goolsbee also wouldn’t foul the nest. (Please, no more Paul Volcker’s or Robert Rubin’s.)

Secretary of Labor: Barbara Ehrenreich. (I know, I know, she won’t be asked and probably wouldn’t do it if she were, but she is more of an expert on the subject than the Inside-the-Beltway desk jockeys usually named to this post.)

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Eleanor Holmes Norton. The DC Delegate to Congress has spent most of her adult life working on these issues and she’d be a tireless advocate for the people, for a real change.

Secretary of Homeland Security: Richard Clarke. The former White House Counter-Terrorism chief who was ignored by the Bushites before 9/11 knows his business, he’s competent to do the job and he respects the Constitution.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Max Cleland is the obvious choice, in an upgraded department. He headed up the VA under Carter and intimately knows what vets returning from combat are going through he was once one himself.

Secretary of the Interior: John Edwards. Obama needs his progressive voice in the cabinet and Edwards needs a job.

Secretary of Agriculture: Who else but Jim Hightower? (Take that Karl Rove!) Hightower previously served in the Texas Department of Agriculture, so he has the experience, and he’s a true populist. No Mad Cow meat with Jim.

Secretary of Commerce: Ah, what the hell, give Warren Buffett something to do that’s not Treasury Secretary.

Director of National Intelligence: One of the two Tony’s Anthony Lake or Gen. Anthony Zinni.

CIA Director: Got to be Valerie Plame, and not just as a payback to the neocons who ruined her career she had an exemplary record with the Agency and considerable experience in the area of nuclear non-proliferation, an important issue in the future.

FBI Director: Colleen Rowley. She had the guts to tell the truth about the shoddy job the DC-based FBI in reading the warnings of the 9/11 attacks and she was an excellent agent. It’s time someone with intelligence and acuity had a chance to reform the Bureau.

EPA Director: Ralph Nader. Bring the Perennial Outsider into the tent and let him loose in an arena in which he has past experience.

And install Bill Clinton in a new post: Ambassador Extraordinaire to the Middle East. (Bill probably won’t do it the New York governor’s mansion beckons but he knows the players and he’s respected over there. He could start to bring peace to the region.)


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The All-Mighty Webmaster
15 years ago

I can understand everyone BUT Ralph Nader. That man needs to spend the rest of his years in the space station, or caretaker for the Hubble Telescope. I think his Uncle Tom remark the other day should be the final nail in his coffin:

The man is pure jerk. I never have gotten over the past eight years of Bush, mainly because he was on the ballot.

RS Janes
15 years ago

DJ, I didn’t hear that Uncle Tom remark until now. (I never watch Fox News unless forced by circumstances beyond my control.) Maybe Ralph is going soft in the head or he’s been a closet racist all these years. Unbelievable.

BTW, what’s Nader doing on Rupert’s cable network anyway? Corporate kingpin Murdoch represents everything he’s supposedly been against his entire career, yet here he is smiling in the belly of the beast. Of course, he has also shown no shyness at appearing on any corporate outlet, including those owned by arms manufacturer GE, apparently whenever they’ll have him.

Well, now you know why Michael Moore and Bill Murray stopped supporting Nader after 2000 — similar to the Beatles with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; they liked his ideology, but found out his shoes were filled with clay.

Ken Carman
15 years ago

Interesting picks. Warren Buffet for Commerce? Jimmy! Jimmy! We’ll all be sipping Margaritas… just screwing with you.

AG: Joe Wilson. Qualified? Not sure… but let’s get this husband and wife team some super powers so Lex Luther Cheney and Joker McSmirky might at least worry a little. Will it happen? Nah, I think Barack’s a little to much the unifier… but it’s sure nice to dream. Plus I think we may find if he doesn’t do something like that we’ll regret it later. They and their minions just aren’t going to go away, and everyone knows how doggedly determined they are that the nation goosesteps to right wing political correctness.

The All-Mighty Webmaster
15 years ago

There are a lot of people on the Left who are starting to whine about the early picks of Obama. They feel that with this ‘mandate’ he should come out hard-Left and swinging.

I think Obama is doing exactly what he should be doing. Regardless of how well he did in the election, there are STILL over fifty million people who voted against him and probably as much if not more who didn’t vote at all.

He is going to need Conservatives on board to get us though our current and growing economic crisis. I am not talking about the “down it in the bathtub” crowd, but real Republicans.

This doesn’t mean that he can’t move the country to the Left and away from the brink of disaster that the past thirty years has brought us, but he can’t do it without the help of everyone.

So while a part of me would like to see him just shove the Right out of the way and make a hard Left and run, the realistic side of me tells me that he wouldn’t get very far.

I know that his picks are starting to look like the third term of Bill Clinton, but you have to realize that most of the pool of experienced democratic advisers worked in the Clinton administration. You would have to go all the way back to the Carter administration to find other experience.

So we are going to start out from the center. I personally think it is a great place to start. We have time to shift left after we get going a bit. Bear in mind that no president ends his term with the same cabinet he went in with. There will be shifts and changes made along the way as Obama gets better control on things.

He has been very careful to tell us each time he speaks that he is looking for the long haul. We aren’t going to have solutions over night. We aren’t going to wake up on January 23, 2009 and suddenly have health care, a thriving economy, and all of the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. If anything, it will probably be worse then than now, and even get worse six months after that.

Obama has inherited a huge mess that took eight years of mismanagement to get this far. He is not going to fix it all in a year. I don’t think he can fix it in the first term.

But he can make good progress on it.

But in order to do it, he has to be somewhat of a unifier. He needs to bring people together again, because if history has shown us anything, it has shown that we can get more done together than when we are fighting each other.

RS Janes
15 years ago

DJ, it doesn’t bother me a bit that he’s ‘going to the center’ — it’s what he said he would do — reach across the aisle, etc. He has to have the sane Republicans working with him or he’s sunk.

Ken, check again: I thought Joe Wilson would be good for Secretary of State, not AG. Wilson has a mountain of experience in foreign affairs, including extensive assignments in the Middle East. He also supported HIllary in the primaries which, in this case, would be a plus.

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