Google Ads

Site Stats

Suggestions for Obama Cabinet Picks

by: DavidNYC

Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:22 PM EST

As our fellow Swingnuts are well aware, President-elect Obama's cabinet appointments can and likely will have big reprecussions for downballot races throughout the nation in coming years. So James and I, out of a deep desire to help John Podesta and his extremely busy transition team, have put together the following list of suggestions so that Obama can, well, maximize his impact on the country:

Secretary of Interior: Mark Begich
Secretary of Defense: Ike Skelton
Secretary of Commerce: Byron Dorgan
Attorney General: Charlie Justice
Patent Office Commissioner: Jim Matheson
FCC Commissioner: Jeff Van Drew
SEC Commissioner: Walt Minnick
EPA Administrator: Kathy Dahlkemper
OMB Director: Alex Sink
White House Chaplain: Tom Perriello
Drug Czar: Paul Carmouche

What other good ideas do you guys have?

DavidNYC :: Suggestions for Obama Cabinet Picks
Tags: , , , (All Tags)
Print Friendly View Send As Email

Agriculture Secetary
Steve Kagen

Kagen's a doctor.
So make him Surgeon General instead.

[ Parent ]
Dave Freudenthal for Secretary of Treausry
Skelton is better suited for Veterans affairs. Wait..,is this list a joke to see how much Obama can make the midterms tougher for dems?

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

Ding! Ding! Ding!
How about Chet Edwards for Deputy Undersecretary for Federal-Municipal Affairs?

[ Parent ]
Gene Taylor
Secretary of the Navy

Should Travis Childers head the FBI or CIA?
Give the other job to Charlie Melancon!

The "Make John Thune's Day" nominations
Tom Daschle  Health and Human Services
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin  USDA

Oh, wait...

There's not nearly enough senators
on your list.  How about:

Sec of Energy Mary Landreu
Sec of Transportation Kay Hagan
Sec of Agriculture Nelson (either one)
Sec of Education Nelson (the other one)

Don't forget
Jim Marshall, John Barrow, Heath Shuler, all four Arkansas Democrats, Joe Manchin...

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

What four Arkansas Democrats?
There are three Democratic Representatives, a governor, and two senators.  

[ Parent ]
My Suggestions
First off, nearly half your picks have either just been elected, not yet elected (Carmouche), or if selected their seat falls to the GOP (Ike Skelton's district for example). And Mark Begich? The guy just got elected to the Senate; do you really want Sarah Palin to be in the Senate?

Here are my picks for cabinet (I'll do the ones I know enough info about to make a pick)

Interior Sec. Dave Freudenthal
Defense Sec. Robert Gates (FYI, he's not even a Republican!)
Commerce Sec. Olympia Snowe (hello Maine Senate seat pick up!)
Attorney Gen. Patrick Fitzgerald or David Iglesias
EPA Administrator Arnold Schwarzenegger or Al Gore
White House Chaplain? My old pastor! (I won't say his name because I don't want to get him in trouble! Let's just say he's from Rhode Island)
Drug Czar? How about my old dealer? KIDDING!!!!

lists a joke.....

progressive, NY-8 (home), PA-7 (college)

[ Parent ]
Maybe The Last Two
But I'm actually quite serious for all the rest.

[ Parent ]
You really aren't catching on, are you?
We're all pissed about the Napolitano pick and the potential pick of either Peterson or Herseth-Sandlin for Secretary of AG and we're joking about how to screw the Democratic congress over by picking senators in states with a Republican governor or Democrats in Republican tilted districts.  

[ Parent ]
In other words,
this board is living up to the stereotype of the blogosphere as being run by overgrown children. Seriously, people, I doubt Napolitano would have run anyway. Furthermore, I doubt Peterson or Herseth-Sandlin would be interested in leaving their fairly secure jobs for a mid-to-low-ranking cabinet post that will last four years at best. I still think Vilsack has the upper hand.

[ Parent ]
... but I'd go a bit further.  It's not just a joke.  It's a Greek tragedy.

[ Parent ]
Well Goodness
Can't leave out Kathleen Sebilias. lol she should just be the White House Nanny or some other useless shit... lol

I'd put money on Sebelius being picked
People have said she'd be likely to join the administration all year. We might as well get the hand-wringing over with now.

Delaware Liberal - biggest and best blog in Delaware.

[ Parent ]
Well So long as we are going for broke
USDA: Jon Tester
Defense: Jim Webb

progressive, NY-8 (home), PA-7 (college)

What exactly are you guys smoking???
Mark Begich?  Jim Matheson?  Walt Minnick?  Alex Sink?  Byron Dorgan???

WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU WANT TO TAKE THOSE WHO MANAGED TO DO THE NIGH IMPOSSIBLE -- to win victories as Democrats running for Congress in deep, deep red areas of the country (many of them, quite recently) -- and very likely cede those seats back to the Republicans when they have to be filled as open seats?

The same goes for Tom Perriello, Kathy Dahlkemper, and Jeff Van Drew.

Silly me... I thought this site was about winning races in purple and red states and districts, not engaging in the same speculation every other political blog in the world is doing.  That's part of why I post here.  This post is making me begin to reconsider a little, but hopefully this is an outlier, and sanity will resume shortly.  I can forgive you guys for catching the Obama administration hype fever, but only if you get over your case of it quickly.

They were joking
It was in response to the idea that if Napolitano is in cabinet that throws the chance for picking up AZ Senate seat.

[ Parent ]
Can't forget picking Herseth Sandlin or Peterson for Sec. of Agriculture.

[ Parent ]
Absolutely hilarious this is. n/t

[ Parent ]
*sound of joke going over Bluer Ohio's head*

[ Parent ]
To be fair...
the same thing has happened to me a few times. A Dkos dairy got me all fired up over "donating to other organizations" then the Obama campaign. Turns out all the links (example "Campaign for Better Schools") led to the Obama donation page. I totally made an ass out of myself going on and on about how everybody should support Obama blah, blah, blah. I still feel like an ass actually.

[ Parent ]
It *MIGHT* have been funny...
... except I fear all you're really doing is giving some of the more tone-deaf members of the Obama transition team more really, really bad ideas...

[ Parent ]
The list is so ridiculous
it's almost as if no one who submitted it could expect it to be taken seriously.


[ Parent ]
As I said...
... don't give the idiots in the Obama transition team who could care less about taking away the heavyweights that could compete in the reddest states any ideas.  This joke could very well backfire in that case...

[ Parent ]
thanks.  gave my tipsy self a good chuckle  :)

whatever, we dont really need the AZ seat anyway.  well, i spose i may be speaking too soon with the hopes of all the other seats we could gain, but none of those could materialize i spose.

I dunno about you guys but...
Cabinet Secretary: Barack Obama.

i wonder if someone from Obama's team will read this and be like, uh, sir, they're mocking your choices.

[ Parent ]
There is an opening at the DNC
I hear this Obama chap is good at organizing.

[ Parent ]
Let's see...
Treasury Secretary: Rep. Bill Jefferson.
Security Advisor: Sen. Patrick Leahy
Secretary of Veteran Affairs: Sen. Jack Reed (hello Senator Lafferty)
Secretary of Commerce: Gov. Ed Rendell
United State Trade Representative: Sen. Kent Conrad
Secretary of Transportation: Sen. Evan Bayh
FAA Director: Sen. Bill Nelson
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Tim Kaine

followed after he is swarn in by....

NCIS Director: Sen. James Webb.

NY-13, Democrat. Blog @ http://infinitefunction.wordpr...

I really think all of you need to calm down
Seriously this isn't even funny. Because of one pick and another that's in the air now were mocking and poking fun at Obama just because he chose the Governor of Arizona to head Homeland Security and possible another from a red state or a red district to head the Ag department. So what because he picked Napolitano that this takes the Arizona Senate race out of play. First off it wasn't a sure thing that just because she would beat McCain and I don't care what one poll said, polls don't mean crap. If they were accurate then Paul Kanjorski would of lost to Lou Barletta, John Murtha would of narrowly instead of winning in a blowout, Ethan Berkowitz would of beaten Don Young etc. Puls if you would of read the Politico article about Janet getting picked to be the head of Homeland Security it said that she wouldn't of ran for the Senate if McCain wasn't retireing.

As for the two he has in mind to be heading the Ag department, we won't know for sure until the pick is offical. I think this pretty childish by all of you for poking fun of a man because of a godamn Senate race. I want competant people in Obama's cabinet and Janet Napolitano is a competant person to be running Homeland Secruity. I guess this isn't "change" for all of you and I guess in the eye of the netroots Obama has a 10 percent approval rating because of this.

Good rule of thumb
People without a sense of humor should not post in humor threads.

Blow your nose before your head explodes.  Chill out.

[ Parent ]
No we will not chill out
Deride us if you will, but some of us find this "humor" not only lame but reckless and immature. First of all, as has been repeated before, Napolitano was not going to run against McCain. His weak showing in AZ was due to his lousy campaign and his complete shunning of the state. Neither of those would be a given in 2010.

As for the USDA pick, those two are only speculative possibilities. I highly doubt Peterson would give up his secure seat and committee chairmanship for what is at best a four-year job. I also think Herseth is intent on staying in the House.

[ Parent ]
Herseth is positioning for Tim Johnson's Seat
I think that's what going to happen in South Dakota, Jim Thune is pretty popular, why would she risk a safe house seat for what would at best a 50/50 shot.

I like her a  lot though and think she's a great congresswomen, definite star power potential their.

Peterson is Ag Chair, he's not giving it up. Would you? its a permanent house seat and chairmanship for at least another 6 years (I think that's how long it would take in 3 consecutive good republican cycles for them to regain the majority) probably more. Its career suicide imo, and I don't know why you would do it.

[ Parent ]
I always though Governor was more likely
Since it is something of a family tradition.

[ Parent ]
I don't suppose it's occurred to you
that the Napolitano pick also hands the Arizona governorship to a Republican.  

[ Parent ]
It has, but
the R in question, SoS Jan Brewer, is not all that popular and would face a very strong challenge from our likely candidate, AG Terry Goddard (who was also mayor of Phoenix). Having said that, I don't think this appointment is a great idea either, but it's not like the governorship would be gone for good.

[ Parent ]
All true
But have you considered how much damage two years of TOTAL republican rule can do to Arizona?  I shudder to think.

[ Parent ]
No worse than before
Let's not forget that the AZ GOP had an iron grip on the state from 1990 to 2002, and yet the state survived (tarnished but alive).

Let me repeat: I'm not crazy about this choice either, but agonizing about it won't do one bit of good.

[ Parent ]
Grow up
Jeezus, your head is going to explode because somebody makes a joke.

LOL, you are even making "counter arguments" to a JOKE!

You must be great in the audience at a comedy club.

It's actually kind of amazing that after a massive, realigning election, some folks still have to be bitter and childish rather than sharing the joy of the moment.

In other words, if you are too thick to realize it is a good thing to be speculating in good humor about stuff like this as opposed to talking about McCain's cabinet picks, you really need to take a lay down now.

[ Parent ]
Talk about overreaction
Look.  All I've heard for Janet Napolitano's qualifications are that she's the governor of a border state.  Well hell, someone shoot me in the leg so I can qualify to head the CIA!  I mean, seriously.  I see the HHS connection to Tom Daschle, Eric Holder and Attorney General, Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State... But being governor of a border state = qualified, governor of a non-border state =/= qualified?  Somebody has to explain this to me.  

If you want to dispute John McCain's electoral strength in Arizona versus Napolitano's, I'd be glad to.  You may look at a poll and scoff but there are so many things you can look at, for example his recent 54% blowout in his homestate for a presidential election.  Obama went up on the air, last minute, and never visited the state except for in the primary, versus someone who has been re-elected statewide how many times?  Come on.  If Napolitano ran for senate, it would be her seat.  

Take a chill pill dude.  We aren't applying to Harvard here.  

[ Parent ]
No, it would not have been her seat
A senate race is very different from a governor's race. Arizona has elected only one Democratic senator (Dennis DeConcini) in the last 50 years. Granted the state was much different then, but the fact still remains. Furthermore, the state has had a history of electing Democratic governors to balance off the Republican state legislature. They look likely to do so again in 2010 as AG Terry Goddard, the likely D candidate, is wildly popular and would likely beat any GOP opponent. However, that dynamic changes when you shift to the Senate. McCain could easily take advantage of whatever missteps she made (which her gubernatorial opponents were never able to do) and beat her.

I think you also have a misunderstanding of why McCain won so narrowly in AZ. While changing demographics played a part, McCain had also paid little to no attention to his home state, which was the reason for his rising unpopularity. Furthermore, he ran a lousy campaign. Another thing to remember is that a presidential race has very different dynamics than a presidential race. While many Arizonans would probably vote to keep McCain as their senator, they may not be so eager to have him as president. Neither of the first two factors are givens in 2010.  

[ Parent ]
Yes, Obama campaigned so hard in Illinois in order to win by such a large margin. HA

[ Parent ]
Still don't get it
Obama also ran a really strong campaign and at least acknowledged his home state while he was running. Furthermore, he was the junior senator and had Durbin to pick up the slack. Who did John McCain have? John Kyl, one of the least popular and least effective senators around. Obama also didn't do anyting to alienate the majority of those who had voted for him as senator (although that number was exaggerated by him having no credible challenger). McCain, however, appeared more and more erratic/senile as the campaign went on, which made some in AZ uneasy.

Let's also note that McCain's margin of victory is nearly identical to Bush's in 2004. It's also worth noting that unlike NV or CO, AZ doesn't really have a large progressive bastion. Yes, there is Pima County (Tuscon), but that is outweighed by Maricopa County (Phoenix), which, while becoming more and more competitive, is still an R-leaning county (54-44 for McCain) and its suburbs are even redder. CO has Denver-Boulder and the pivotal counties of Jefferson and Arapahoe have been trending blue very rapidly. NV has Clark County (Las Vegas), and NM has Santa Fe and (recently) Albaquerque. AZ is still dominated by Maricopa, and as long as that county remains reddish, Rs will win it at the presidential level. That said, if any other R had won, Obama could have won AZ narrowly. The fact that McCain was able to win it at all shows that he still has some pull there.

[ Parent ]
McCain sustained Bush's margin of victory and you're championing that as an accomplishment?
This is just too good.  Keep it coming.  

[ Parent ]
Keep up the immaturity
I've just about had it with you. If you want to continue this childish behavior, go on DKos. I tried to offer legitimate counterarguments, but you don't seem to want to listen. This is why the blogosphere will never be taken seriously.

Yes, that IS an accomplishment because I highly doubt any of the other GOP candidates would have been able to win AZ anyway. Even with McCain as the nominee, I doubted AZ would be a blowout because the state is changing too rapidly to allow that. It also didn't help that McCain's antics alienated the sizable number of Hispanics and Native Americans (not majorities but sizable %s) that have supported his Senate runs. That vanished.  

[ Parent ]
I see what you're saying
And I tend to agree. This hand-wringing by the netroots over Obama picking her as his Sec. of Homeland Security wears really thin on me. Would Napolitano probably be the only one who could make a real race of it against McCain? Sure, but there's no reason to believe that:

1. She would really run against him
2. That the race would be either a slam-dunk for us or that Napolitano would even be considered the favorite.

Napolitano would probably be better off waiting until 2012 to run against Jon Kyl (something which she could easily do even if she takes the administration's position).

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!

[ Parent ]
I was beginning to think I was alone in this :-). I fully agree that Napolitano would be better suited by challenging the unpopular and unproductive Jon Kyl.

[ Parent ]
chill out
but keep posting!  dont want to scare you away!  i dont recognize your handle so im assuming you're newish?

[ Parent ]
At least you and Johnny Longtorso are thinking clearly about this. I don't care if this is a humor thread, it just a reminder of how immature and idiotic the blogosphere can be.

I agree with everything you said. I doubt Napolitano would have run against McCain anyway. As weak as he is right now, he could still beat her. John Kyl, however, is another story.

[ Parent ]
What are Hawaii's rules on appointments?
Maybe Akaka and Inouye could co-chair Veterans Affairs and we could see Sens. Lingle and, umm, well, are there any other Republicans left in Hawaii?

Also, I can't believe y'all are forgetting future Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ's Criminal Division Bobby Bright.

22, Democrat, AZ-01
Peace. Love. Gabby.

Hawaii law forces same-party appointments
Of course, then the job might go to Ed Case, so that's little better.

[ Parent ]
Well damn
Hawaii Dems have a veto-proof majority in the legislature, maybe they could fix that.
I mean, when the voters decide to send someone from one party to the Senate, what they really want is for the governor to appoint some guy s/he went to high school with, regardless of qualifications or party, in the event of an open seat.

22, Democrat, AZ-01
Peace. Love. Gabby.

[ Parent ]
Get over yourselves
Obama picks one person who might be a potential Senate candidate, and suddenly the sky is falling. If Napolitano accepts the job, it seems to me that means she wouldn't want to challenge McCain in 2010.

You know, if all you want is craven political choices, let's put Jim Inhofe as head of the EPA. It would be a disaster, but at least we'd get a Senate seat out of it!

The non-cravens are making a comeback

Several minutes ago, I posted a blog objecting to the myopia I've seen on this Web site in recent days.

Now, I'm reading some intelligent posts -- and this one has humor too.  Perhaps, we should create our own list of disasters that would help Democrats win Congressional seats.

How about Tom Coburn for Secretary of Health and Human Services or Surgeon General?  How about putting John McCain in a new War Czar position where he is given carte blanche to decide whether U.S. troops will stay in Iraq?

And if Franken and Martin lose, we should look further for more unqualified help.  Those total nonentities in Wyoming aren't good for anything, but we can make them Secretary of Treasury or State just for political spite.  They'd take it!!!

If Sam Brownback rescinds his retirement decision, we can give him the newly created post of determining when Religion should stick its nose into our bedrooms.

Now, let's tackle the House of Reps.


[ Parent ]
A craven political choice would be naming somebody
Like Olympia Snowe to get another Dem in the Senate. Giving away hard fought seats to the Repubs for nothing is just stupid.

[ Parent ]
Hey now
I think we're being a bit short-sighted here.  As someone already commented - the single biggest determinative factor of the 2010 midterms is going to be the performance of the Obama Administration. As hackneyed a meme as it is by now, he's going for the most competent possible governing team, and though it may cost us a handful of slots in the short-term, I imagine it will have significant dividends in coming cycles that otherwise could have been veritable bloodbaths. I'm as annoyed as everyone about the Napolitano pick... but come on.  She can still run in 2012 against Kyl (who in my determination is probably more vulnerable anyway), and our forfeiture of the AZ governorship was probably just pre-empting the inevitable. Moreover, this will spare her from having to take responsibility for the plummeting state economy (housing market in particular), and will boost her national security bona fides.  (Remember, too, that since 2006 the GOP has made NO net gains in gubernatorial terms -- they took Louisiana, we took Kentucky, we took Missouri, they'll take Arizona). And beyond that? In the event of a Sebelius pick, the lieutenant governor is a Democrat (formerly moderate Republican). It's purely speculative at this point that Herseth-Sandlin or Peterson will get tapped for USDA (Vilsack still seems to be the prohibitive favorite), and David Paterson is enough of a party player that I suspect he's looking at electability above all other qualities in a successor to Hillary (hence my putting my chips at this point on Brian Higgins... with NY-27 being conveniently a fairly safe district for us).

That having been said... my contribution would be Lincoln Davis as head of the Office of Faith-Based Initiative.

Male, 23, DC-At Large

AZ governorship not permanently forfeited
While Napolitano's successor, SoS Jan Brewer, is an R, she is not especially popular or that strong a candidate. We, on the other hand, have the hugely popular AG, Terry Goddard, who could beat Brewer to reclaim the governorship.

I just think it's interesting that AZ has not had a governor complete two full terms in office since Bruce Babbitt retired in '86.

[ Parent ]
Oh my God; there's someone who agrees with me
JFM:  "As someone already commented - the single biggest determinative factor of the 2010 midterms is going to be the performance of the Obama Administration. As hackneyed a meme as it is by now, he's going for the most competent possible governing team, and though it may cost us a handful of slots in the short-term, I imagine it will have significant dividends in coming cycles that otherwise could have been veritable bloodbaths."


I've been cruising through this Web site for the past few days and have been frustrated by the literally dozens of posts that I have read complaining about one or two Congressmen being promoted to Cabinet posts.

I have been astounded again and again by the incredible MYOPIA of this Web site.

I have FINALLY, finally, found someone who understands the big picture -- and what is right for this nation.  And you make reference to another person who does.

Wow, maybe people who care about government are making a comeback.


PS -- I worked on Capitol Hill.  I can count the number of people who worked in the Congressional office that I worked in while I am writing this sentence.  Fourteen.

Anyone who thinks it takes more skill to be a member of Congress than supervising hundreds of thousands of people in offices all over the USA is just, well, ignorant.

[ Parent ]
Bill Nelson
Head of NASA.

I highly doubt that Napolitano would have run against McCain anyway. Even in the weakened state he's in, he could still beat her. Whoever said the seat would have been hers is either overly optimistic or incredibly naive. She would more likely run against Kyl (who is considerably weaker).

As much as I like SSP, I am VERY disappointed in this fit of childishness. Deride me as humorless (I usually am--try living through some of the stuff I have and see if you would), but behavior like this is why the blogosphere is such a helpful punching bag for the pundits. Most of the time, they're nothing more than idiots who are paid to blather on TV, but they gain credibility with behavior like this. While not as explosive as the Lieberman Temper Tantrum, this is another symptom of that kind of immaturity. If you want to be taken seriously, I would drop this juvenile way of acting.

I so to remember the Corran Horn from the books having a better sense of humor :p

Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

[ Parent ]
In the X-Wing series, yes
but he's gotten a lot more serious since then, especially in the New Jedi Order and Legacy of the Force. Being accused of destroying a planet and having your best friend slaughtered changes you ;-).

[ Parent ]
Maybe Napolitano will run against Kyl in 2012
Wouldn't that be nice?

Delaware Liberal - biggest and best blog in Delaware.

i've said it before, and i'll say it again
harry reid: secretary of balloon doggies.

Top ten signs you're an SSPer #1: your favorite song is "Panic At Tedisco" and no one understands what you mean.

Harry Reid
Head of the Connecticut For Lieberman Party.

[ Parent ]
Try renaming the Democratic Party to the Connecticut for Lieberman Party
Better yet, try renaming the Democratic Party to the Democrat Party.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
Government is more important than politics

I really appreciate the sense of humor of the original blog, and the recommendations of the posters who realize this list is a joke.

Joking aside, maybe, just maybe, president-elect Barack Obama is more concerned about having the federal government run smoothly than whether a moderate Democrat can hold onto a Congressional seat in a district that leans Republican.

Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Obama believes that strong leadership can prevent terrible things like, you know, the horrible treatment that veterans experienced at Walter Reed Hospital or a major city being flushed down the toilet.

Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Obama understands that it requires far more skill to run large Cabinet departments than to be a politican who votes his way and has the political talent to be re-elected.

Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Obama believes that very talented members of Congress should be rewarded for their talent and promoted instead of being held back because of petty partisanship.

Please think about the one president who did NOT promote talented people because of his fear that his political party would be hurt in Congress.  That president is named George Bush, Jr.

I don't know whether Janet Napolitano will be an oustanding Secretary of Homeland Security or Chet Edwards will be an excellent Secretary of Veterans Affairs, but hopefully Mr. Obama is astute enough to deduce whether they will be.

We as a nation need strong, effective leaders in important positions.  Thank you.


He also has to get his agenda through Congress
The point people were making is that there are qualified people outside of Congress that can do these jobs as well as if not better than those supposedly under consideration. Gary Hart or Warren Rudman at DHS for instance.  

[ Parent ]
Did everyone forget the 2006 and 2008 elections already?
Knowledgeable people who were all sent to the unemployment lines.  (Lampson, Boyda, Cazayoux) On top of a handful of Republicans I'm sure you could find.  (50 Congresspersons & 13 Senators)

[ Parent ]
The best should be nominated, politics be damned

I understand the point.  The point is WRONG.

The point is based on the premise, expressed by numerous people on this Web site, is that it is very easy to find someone who is qualified to run a Cabinet department.  Please don't make me spend time copy-pasting these posts for proof.  They're depressing to read because they're so ignorant.

It is VITALLY IMPORTANT to find the BEST person to run departments with hundreds of thousands of employees in offices all over the USA -- not someone who Mr. Obama believes is NOT the best, but partisans believe "can do these jobs as well as if not better."

I'm objecting to the principles being expressed in these posts, not the particular individuals.  Gary Hart and Warren Rudman might indeed be better than current members of Congress in my view, but they should only be picked if Mr. Obama believes they are.

Thanks for responding to my post.


[ Parent ]
In general I'd think it more likely the best people to run departments
Are not professional politicians. Certainly not those who've held office recently. If anything, that increases the chances of politicization of government. At very least the appearance of it.

[ Parent ]
You might be 100 percent correct
"In general I'd think it more likely the best people to run departments (0.00 / 0)
Are not professional politicians. Certainly not those who've held office recently. If anything, that increases the chances of politicization of government. At very least the appearance of it."


There's a point that I can agree with 100 percent.  In my posts, I was objecting to the principle that Mr. Obama should not pick the person he feels is the best for political reasons.

Mr. Obama may be wrong for pursuing the people he's pursuing.  You may be right.

Thanks for the intelligent post.


[ Parent ]
In Fantasy Land Yes Your Right but in reality its Risk vs. Reward.
But in the political reality of U.S. governing your dead wrong. It has to be a combination of risk and reward, and positives and negative effects. I don't understand why people have trouble getting that. If it causes us to lose a Senate Seat that causes us to not get a Filibuster Proof Majority that causes us to get the Health Care Bill Blocked. Explain to me why naming Ben Nelson to the HHS dept. would be a good thing. (I'm just using it as an example i know its not gonna happen.) It's called in finance the risk premium, and it applies in politics as well.

Why must you deplete our house and senate ranks for a low level cabinet position. I understand your point at higher level positions, (AG,Defense,Treasury) but for some of the minor cabinet level positions its just silly. Their are perfectly qualified people in academia, retired politicians or in easily replaceable seats. (Clinton if we don't play it too cute and shoot for the stars, with some stupid suicidal pick.) Its nice to live in fantasy land and hope that we get the best people for every position and pay no attention to what happens in congress because of it. Its the same point in elected offices its nice to hope and dream we can get Russ Feingold in every damn Senate Seat but its just not going to happen, we have to look to our political future because it effects how we can govern.

But the politically reality and the governing reality are one in the same in this case and most cases. Given the nature of democracy where you know, you have to get elected to the office. Without the Democratic Votes which would be pilfered by Obama administration joking illustrated in this case, we can't get bills passed, and thus screw our selves POLITICALLY and still can't GOVERN because Washington is in gridlock and the republicans are screwing us at ever corner with filibusters and nothing gets passed.

To separate politics from governing is naive in my opinion, they are both interlocking necessary parts of a democracy.

Its Risk vs. Reward that must be the judge

[ Parent ]
The true fantasy: There are lots of skilled leaders and administrators


There are NOT "perfectly qualified" people all over the place, as you suggest.  And Obama should take THE BEST.

And what you call a "low-level Cabinet position" almost always takes far more skill and talent than one U.S. rep or senator.

Is the Veterans Administration a low-level Cabinet position?  Tell that to the veterans who were treated shabbily at the Walter Reed Hospital.  A competent leader would have prevented or fixed that.  The odds that anyone in Congress could do anywhere near what the VA head could do about this is close to zero.

Is the job Brownie had a low-level Cabinet position?  I'm not even sure I remember the title -- FEMA?  In any case, NO one in Congress had the power to do what he could have done to save New Orleans.  He had more power over this than ALL of Congress.

As we speak, Bush administrators are making crucial decisions on the quality of our air and water, workplace safety, how to distribute $700 billion, which companies to regulate, and on and on and on.

Often, Congress as a whole -- much less ONE person in Congress -- can and/or does NOTHING about these things until the damage is done.
(Read Washington Post articles of last few days about what Bushies are now doing in their final days.)

With all due respect, you are the one who has a "fantasy land" perspective.  You just don't understand what it takes to administer an office with hundreds of thousands of employees with offices all over the USA.  And you don't understand the power of the Executive branch.  And you overestimate the importance of one person in Congress.


PS -- Here's a couple of tips:

It is "yes you're (you are) right," not "yes your right."
It is "it's (it is) risk vs. reward," not "its risk vs. reward."

I'm a writing teacher and I find these errors distracting.  Hopefully, I've helped you in a future class.

[ Parent ]
Glad to see there's one sane person here. I do not know what has come over SSP. It usually isn't like this. However, it does show the ridiculous immaturity among some in the netroots.

[ Parent ]
ok I don't want to get any more hostile
I disagree with you strongly on your philosophy of depleting our congressional ranks for four year cabinet posts.

But I do have question about your philosophy.

If you believe this philosophy is correct, do you believe its worth giving up the Senate's ability to pass a major bill?

Say Obama picks Chris Dodd to be Sec. of Labor and Jodi Rell gets pick the new senator and picks a republican. By doing this it swings the cloture vote on a particular bill to the Republicans, say on the Iraq War Withdrawal Bill, or Universal Health Care or any other bill that might be close. You think that's worth it. I don't understand the logic. Most people when they are looking to fill a high profile job have lists of candidates they feel have the ability to fulfill an office. I'm saying pick the one on that list that doesn't politically handicap us in Congress.

I don't understand what's the problem with that. Just because George Bush is a moron and picks incompetent people to run departments of the government, doesn't convince me that Obama's Second Choice for the department of Agriculture or w/e other position wouldn't be able to perform the job just fine. I go back to the simple fact that you need to consider both ability and political consequences when you make a decision. My point about Risk and Reward is simple, why risk something we know we can't govern without, namely a governing majority for someone who will be marginally better. I'm not saying appoint a republican or some incompetent person to the job, just someone else who is qualified for the office.(Your telling me in the U.S. their is one person who can be Sec. of Agriculture?)  And I don't even think President Obama would that. Why lose an ally in congress when you don't have to.

Btw we are all on the same side here. We just have a different point of view in tactics. The people who share my view about the need for maintaining our governing majority in Congress want government to work just as well as you do.
We all want the executive branch to run correctly just not at the expense of the legislative.

I have no ill will toward the other people who disagree with me and I apologize if I came off patronizing or insulting. Been a long week.

But help me understand the logic of your argument.

btw, forgive my grammar mistakes in my previous post, I was busy with work and was trying to get this done between classes. Finals week is not fun.  


[ Parent ]
You are very correct
One of the first things you learn in recruitment is that the best person at face value for any job isn't necessarily the automatic pick. There is so much more that should be taken into consideration.

[ Parent ]
You just don't understand government, my friend


You don't understand my logic because you are dramatically underestimating the power of the executive branch and dramatically overestimating the power of the legislative branch.

On or about Jan. 22, 2001, the Bush administration changed the rules on power plants that allowed many companies to emit a lot more pollution than they did during the eight years of the Clinton administration.

This had NOTHING to do with Congress.  This was an EXECUTIVE DECISION.

This HAPPENS EVERY DAY.  It happens in EVERY Cabinet department and affects who knows how many people and major issues.

Sometimes, Congress knows about these executive orders.  Sometimes, it doesn't.  Sometimes, it tries to do something about these orders.  Sometimes, it doesn't.  Sometimes, it succeeds -- and then finds out that the executive branch ignored legislative instructions or failed to implement them correctly.

Sometimes, votes mean something.  Sometimes, they don't.  You're so hyperconcerned about legislative votes, but whether Obama's agenda succeeds depends on the executive branch's IMPLEMENTATION, not a vote.

So something passed.  So what?  On numerous, hundreds maybe, of occasions, Bush signed a bill and also issued a signing statement which essentially ruled that he was ordering the executive branch to NOT follow legislative instructions.

On other occasions, bills just weren't implemented.  Sometimes, members of the executive branch are called to the carpet on these decisions.  Sometimes, they aren't.  Sometimes, they have respect for legislators' feedback -- and democracy.  Sometimes, they don't.

And what if the executive branch ignores legislative will?  What will happen?  Ask Cheney.  He ignored stuff all the time.  Legislators can go to court and fight the executive branch for years.  They may win years later.  It might not matter, even if they do.

What do you think would have happened if the Congress voted against authorizing the war in Iraq?  Here's a newsflash -- the Bush administration would have attacked Iraq anyway.  Who would have stopped them?  Military attacks without legislative approval have gone on all the time.

The executive branch is IN CHARGE EVERY DAY because it makes the decisions.  Congress isn't even in session half the time.

The executive branch has administrators who have the power to move people, resources, equipment, money, and on and on and on.  Officially, Congress has budgetary authority, but how is it going to stop stuff that goes on in hundreds of offices EVERY DAY?  Thus, the budgetary authority is moot if an executive wants it to be or is inept.
(How did Oliver North get the money to run a shadow government peddling arms to Iran and money to Nicaragua without a legislative vote?  Easy.  He's THE GUY who was there every day ordering government officials to do the above)

You are stuck on legislators because they are famous.  You think a congressman is more important than what you said was a "low-level" Cabinet department leader because you heard of the congressman.  He -- or she -- got lots of votes.  That doesn't make him or her more important and doesn't make his or her job more important.

If the Congress passes health insurance under Obama, it will be up to the executive branch to make sure it works.  Maybe, it will.  Maybe, it won't.  Legislators set the broad agenda, but competent Cabinet officers and subCabinet officers will be crucial.

And certainly one legislator can't do much.  You think it matters whether health insurance passes 250-185 rather than 255-180?  For that matter, a 218-217 vote is just as good as a 435-0 vote.

And you want to hold on to five U.S. reps rather than have the BEST people administering the health insurance plan?

And you still have no evidence to support your contention that lots of people can be effective administering Cabinet departments.  It is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT.

It's not a matter of Bush's incompetence.  Clinton's first Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and first Secretary of Treasury Lloyd Bentsen were absolute duds (you might have a better argument that Congresspeople are just no good at administration).  They were fired.  In the meantime, their incompetence helped Democrats lose 50 seats in the House and 10 to 12 in the Senate in 1994.

And you go crazy because ONE legislator might leave Congress because Obama thinks he's the BEST leader available.

The average Cabinet secretary has about 100 TIMES MORE POWER than the average legislator.  It's a promotion.  And you want to hold back those Obama deems the most talented.  Please don't run a future business this way.

My thesis on government is done.

Former Capitol Hill employee

[ Parent ]
I understand that Executive Branch Positions are powerful
But elected offices in certain are often difficult to replace with democrats. Your opinion  makes it sound like their is one person in the world that can fill a position and we are selfishly telling Obama to sacrifice executive branch efficacy for the sake of one vote in congress. I don't believe their is one person in the country that can be Agriculture Sec. What happens if they die, are we screwed?

I just don't understand you basically saying that only one person can perform each job. If their are two semi-equally qualified people, I don't understand what's wrong with picking the one that's not in a swing district.

I'm not saying your assessment of the executive branches power isn't accurate. Personally I think the executive branch has way too much power for my liking. However I disagree with your assessment that only one man can perform the job well. I honestly believe Barack Obama can pick an effective and well working cabinet without depleting our red state benches.

And not every democrat votes for a bill in congress as you know. We have a lot of Blue dog democrats who buck the party constantly. My point in my previous post was if the appointee's vote t would make a major piece of legislation pass or fail, would it be worth it to appoint them to the cabinet and have the bill fail as a result if their was another candidate who Obama was seriously considering for the position who was equally capable?

I think the main difference in our thinking is that I think multiple people can perform well in each cabinet position. Which if you accept that premise reinforces my argument that we should weigh the risk and reward of each appointment against the other candidates for the job. I think if Obama is torn between two people for a job, and one of them is in congress in a swing district, he should take that into consideration when he's making the pick. That's all anyone is saying when they complain about him choosing people from congress.

[ Parent ]
I'd rather have second-best U.S. rep than second-best Cabinet department leader

I NEVER said only one person is qualified for each executive branch job.

I DID say that the BEST person should be chosen and to NOT select the best person for political reasons is counterproductive to say the least.

The main difference between us is NOT that you think two or more people can do the job and I think one person can do the job.  The main difference is that your perspective of how difficult and important the two jobs are is much different than mine.  As evidence, I cite your repeated use of terms like "low-level Cabinet position."

"LOW LEVEL CABINET POSITION":  Supervises up to hundreds of thousands of people in hundreds of offices every day.  Makes decisions every day that affect how government works.

A bad job can mean disaster in the actual lives of people -- and disaster at the polls for the governing party. (ex--Brownie in 2006; everyone in 2008; not just Aspin and Bentsen in 1994 but "low-level" nominees like the surgeon general and a woman named Lani Guinier whose title I forget -- and Clinton had other boners so to speak)

A good job?  Compare Robert Rubin to Lloyd Bentsen.

U.S. REP:  Supervises 30 to 40 people (14 in the office I worked in, but that was in the 1980s).  Is one of 435 people who cast votes.  The odds of his or her vote being the difference are CLOSE TO ZERO.  Most have no real power.  Can propose good ideas and plans and can aggressively pressure executive branch, but ultimately exec branch implements policy.

The "risk and reward" of choosing the second-best candidate for an executive leadership position is just too great.  Yes, the second-best could be as good as the first, but you could also be risking how clean our air and water is, how much money is wasted, whether businesses are taking advantage of consumers, how vets in hospitals are treated, etc.  The reward is one vote.  The secondary political risk I mentioned two graphs above.

As for Obama's agenda being jeopardized by the loss of a vote or two, I submit that implementation of agenda is 100 TIMES MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE VOTE.

Evidence?  Think about the last major Congressional vote.  It was the "bailout" right?  Well, people in Congress thought they were voting for money to buy banks' bad loans.  Well, guess what?  It is NOT.  The Treasury secretary recently announced that the money will be used to buy stocks in banks.

The Treasury secretary announced this because this is a widely-publicized issue.  But these things happen EVERY DAY in the executive branch and they are NOT announced.  Votes are thwarted, ignored, carried out poorly, etc.

Also:  Remember that Bush moved tens of thousands of troops toward Iraq in early, 2002 -- more than a year before the war.  The war was a fait accompli.  Congressional votes had NOTHING to do with the decision.

In summation, implementation is more important than votes for the welfare of the nation -- and the future electoral success of the governing party. (Ask the GOP)


PS -- If these congresspeople are so talented, why do you want to hold them back?

[ Parent ]
I made a point above that no one responded to, maybe you can help me out
Everyone can see the connection between Clinton and SoS, Tom Daschle and HHS, Eric Holder and AG.  What ties Napolitano to Homeland security?  The thing I've heard is that "Well, she's the governor of a border state!"  And my question is, how does that make her more qualified than a governor of a non-border state?  All states deal with immigration.  

[ Parent ]
Maybe he feels leadership skills will translate

You seem frustrated by a lack of answer and deserve an attempt at one.

The truth is that you may be right and there is no connection.  Maybe, Mr. Obama feels like Napolitano has excellent leadership skills and those skills will translate into her leading a Cabinet department.

Maybe, he's wrong and you're right.  Sorry I can't give you a better answer.


[ Parent ]
why not Lou Dobbs for head of immigration
he talks about it a lot.  

[ Parent ]
A little help
Napolitano is first off a bad pick Tim Roemer or Gary Hart would have been better imho but Napolitano ties to Homeland security is as fallows she (copy and pasted from wiki)"was appointed by President Bill Clinton as United States attorney for the District of Arizona.[7] As U.S. attorney, she was involved in the investigation of Michael Fortier of Kingman, Arizona, in connection to the Oklahoma City bombing. She ran for and won the position of state attorney general in 1998. Her tenure focused on consumer protection issues and improving general law enforcement"

[ Parent ]
OK, I'll play
Sorry I was short with everyone earlier. I didn't have class today, and I went to this site first thing after waking up (not a good idea). Maybe I was hungry (I didn't get around to breakfast to just a few minutes ago) but anyway...

Here are my picks, only these ones are serious ones (hey, I was born without a funny bone ;-))....

Secretary of Agriculture: Jim Hightower
Secretary of Transportation: Earl Blumenauer
Secretary of the Interior: Jay Inslee (1st term), Brian Schweitzer (2nd term)
EPA Administrator: Lincoln Chafee

Forgive my ignorance, but who are Charlie Justice and Jeff Van Drew? Neither name rings a bell. Having said that, the name Charlie Justice would be very apprapos for AG, or better yet, SCOTUS. Imagine it: Justice Justice!

Van Drew
I googled and he's a state senator from New Jersey.  No idea on Charlie Justice, but he should've been AG right there.  

[ Parent ]
Charlie Justice is the guy they want to run against Bill Young
I think Jeff Van Drew is in Stender's district in Jersey, that they wanna run against Lance.

[ Parent ]
Van Drew is in LoBiondo's district, and at this point appears to be the only Blue hope to take this seat.

[ Parent ]
ah ok new it was one of them

[ Parent ]
Let's be clear on this too
no one said Napolitano had the seat in the bag, it was merely noted that she was the only one who had a shot at this seat.  

Although, I guess I'd rather see McCain just retire in peace at some point and not get defeated in 2010.  He is a huge dumb ass who picked Sarah Palin and that made me lose all respect for him as a presidential candidate, but that's over and hopefully he'll make more sound choices and get that respect back

Actually, someone did
I agree with what you've said, but it's worth noting that several comments above yours, Jerimiah the Messiah, spouted that if Napolitano ran against McCain, the seat would have been hers. She may have had a shot, but it was only a slight one. Plus, I don't think she was interested to begin with.

[ Parent ]
I understand that this is a joke and all
But seriously, I don't think that getting all bent out of shape over Napolitano (when the chances are very good that she was never going to challenge McCain anyways) and the rumors about Hersth and Peterson (which, quite frankly, like the whole Chet Edwards VP thing, could very easily be an attempt to simply raise their stature in their respective districts, and in Hersth's case, could make it easier to run for governor or Senator [if Thune runs for Governor, Hersth will run for Senate, and I'll bet anyone here a hundred dollars on that]).

I think we all need to chill out over this, and understand that people like Napolitano and Sebelius were always pretty high possibilities for getting cabinet level positions.

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!

Just because we voted for Obama doesn't mean we have to agree with everything he does.
Apparently you don't understand that this is just a joke, because you turn around and say we're getting bent all out of shape.  How often do you get bent out of shape when trying to tell a joke?

[ Parent ]
It's supposed to be a joke
But it's pretty obvious that it's a joke coming from anger, and that why I'm saying to stop getting bent out of shape.

Seriously, hearing people complain about us not being able to challenge McCain in 2010 because of Obama picking her to be in his cabinet pre-supposes that Napolitano would've realistically challenged McCain (that R2K poll aside, I'd bet money that if Napolitano really wanted a stab at the Senate, she'd challenge Jon Kyl, who is less popular).

It's one thing to disagree with a pick on the merits (I have significant qualms about his supposed pick of Hillary Clinton for SoS, but none of my concerns have anything to do with this weird assumption that New York is somehow Ohio and that the Republicans would magically take the seat). I accept that some of these picks are annoying for the purposes of party building in some states, but who did you think would be filling these administration positions? Some of these positions were inevitably going to come from congress and gubernatioral positions.

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!

[ Parent ]
You're just being ridiculous.

Sure there is a sense of 'why nomintae red staters', but calling that "anger" is wingnut talk.  get a sense of humor please.

[ Parent ]
I should clarify a few things
I don't necessarily think that front-pagers are necessarily angry or even outrageously upset (even though I think this topic was just a bit over-the-top), I'm more talking about a lot of the commentators who complain about Obama ruining our bench. I read a comment about Obama's picking Daschle was bad because it meant we couldn't challenge Thune (as though there was ever a realistic chance of that happening).

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!

[ Parent ]
but that has nothing to do with "anger".

And there is nothing here that could be called "complaining", other than the nuttery that it is somehow evil to joke about interesting circumstances.

Humor is supposed to be over the top.  That is the point.  That is what makes something funny.

If Obama did indeed make a dozen of the joke appointments, there could be a serious thread about that.  But till then a little less hostile response to "why did the chicken cross the road" would seem in order.

[ Parent ]
I've just been way too tired and grouchy lately
Papers, tests, and lack of sleep can do that to a person :)

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!

[ Parent ]
For the record
This post most certainly did not "come from anger". And neither are David and I "bent out of shape" over Napolitano being picked or Herseth and Peterson being considered (among other names) for Cabinet positions. Frankly, I'm well past the point of caring, and well into the point where we can all share a laugh over the situation. I'm pretty surprised at how worked up some folks got over this thread (which was intended to provide amusement, which I'm pleased to say it did for a good deal of commenters in this thread), but whatever.

[ Parent ]
Maybe not from you or David
but I distinctly note some anger in ArkDem (who recently insulted me for questioning his reasons for opposing Grijalva's potential as Interior Sec'y) and in some of the others. I also note an intolerance for those of us who did not find this funny. I, and many others, were simply trying to point out the absurdity of even joking about this and were less than respectfully treated (the so-called Messiah being the chief heckler). Blame me for not having a sense of humor if you will, but I just find this stuff annoying and far from funny.

[ Parent ]
Upthread, you called us "idiotic", "childish", and damaging to the blogosphere -- all over a good-intentioned joke. After entertaining you with free content for two and a half years (and David for twice as long), I find your complaints offensive. If you don't like this thread, play in another one instead.

[ Parent ]
a frendily suggustion
Not trying to start any thing but if u do not find this funny then don't read or perticipate in this thread if u do not think it is funny and at let those people how do have some fun with it and blow off some steam

[ Parent ]
Some more good ideas (not)
Secretary of indian affairs: Earl Pomeroy
Ben Chandler to head the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
US Ambassador to Canada Gene Taylor
Ambassador to the Court of St. James's Carol Shea-Porter
Secretary of Energy Lincoln Davis
National Security Advisor Rick Boucher
US Trade Representative Jim Marshall
US Ambassador to Ireland Frank Kratovil
US Ambassador to Italy Tom Perriello

It might be Vilsack anyway...
You really want to screw over the national party?
Tim Mahoney for Secretary of State!
Bill Jefferson for Secretary of the Treasury!
Eliot Spitzer for Attorney General!
Cindy Sheehan for Secretary of Defense!

laughed off stage

Seriously, though, everyone who's still concerned about the Napolitano pick should take a chill pill.  After all, McCain is among the Senators who give the Republican caucus the biggest headaches; it's not too bad even if we do let him hang around.  And as people have mentioned, Jan Brewer is vulnerable to a strong Democratic challenge, not to mention that Arizonans' experience with Napolitano will help.

And everyone who's offended by this thread needs to take TWO chill pills.  And go count some Lizard People ballots.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

Copyright 2003-2010 Swing State Project LLC

Primary Sponsor

You're not running for second place. Is your website? See why Campaign Engine is ranked #1 in software and support among Progressive-only Internet firms.


Make a New Account



Forget your username or password?

About the Site

SSP Resources


Powered by: SoapBlox