The Shape Of A Cabinet

The NYT today has a speculative piece on how each candidate might build their White House team. Most commentary on the article so far has focussed on a possible Obama cabinet - mainly because McCain's campaign just seems to be "going through the motions" at this stage. It quotes anonymous advisers (aren't they always?):

Obama advisers mention Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader, as a possible White House chief of staff, and Timothy F. Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as Treasury secretary. To demonstrate bipartisanship, advisers said Mr. Obama might ask two members of President Bush’s cabinet to stay, including Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

...Mr. Obama has several possibilities for White House chief of staff, most notably Mr. Daschle, his close adviser, although that could be complicated because Mr. Daschle’s wife is a lobbyist. Other possibilities mentioned by Democrats include Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, former Commerce Secretary William M. Daley and Mr. Obama’s Senate chief of staff, Pete Rouse. Mr. Podesta, who held the job under President Bill Clinton, could also be recruited for another tour of duty.

Besides Mr. Gates, some Obama advisers favor keeping Dr. James B. Peake, the veterans affairs secretary. But Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. has made clear to colleagues that he has no desire to stay on no matter who wins, and neither nominee is inclined to ask him, associates say. Instead, Obama advisers are weighing a short-term appointment of an elder statesman to get through the current crisis and help instill confidence in global markets. The names being mentioned include the former Federal Reserve chief Paul A. Volcker and former Treasury Secretaries Robert E. Rubin and Lawrence H. Summers.

Matt Y is sure it'll be a fresher face at the Treasury, though, and Booman is sure he doesn't want gates to continue as SecDef even though he thinks he's done a creditable job as one of the very few adults in the Bush administration. I'm not going to argue with either of them.

Looking at a possible McCain administration, there's a couple of names that jump out as "not just no, but F**k No!"

Many Republicans believe Mr. McCain would bring his top campaign staff with him to the White House, including Rick Davis, the campaign manager, whose history as a lobbyist has come up repeatedly during the election. Others who would most likely accompany Mr. McCain to the White House include Mark Salter, his adviser and alter ego; Douglas Holtz-Eakin, his economics adviser; and Randy Scheunemann, his national security adviser.

I've no real objection to Holtz-Eakin, although he's a campaign shill who is holding a book until after the election that, no matter what his boss might say on the stump, admits the next administration is going to have to raise taxes if it wants the books to be anywhere near balanced.

But Rick Davis - friend to Russian oligarchs and Italian fraudsters - would probably get tapped as McCain's chief of staff, which would in short order explode the myth of the maverick reformer, bane of K Street, and should give even conservatives collywobbles. And Scheunemann as NSA? My mind positively reels over the many conflicts this war-boosting, lobbying neocon could embroil America in.

It's just as well that the McCain campaign are treating transition as a purely intellectual exercise and that the wider conservative base are settling down to four years of Clenis-esque innuendo, argument from assumption, and downright paranoid mythmaking to excuse their own abject failure in being a viable alternative for government.

Back in August 2007, Obama outlined his criteria for choosing a cabinet at a private rally.

Crossposted from Newshoggers


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