Trump’s Picks

 

donald-trump-cabinet-list-of-appointmentsEarly last week, Michael Barone published a piece analyzing the election returns in which he focused on the manner in which “the double-negatives” — those who thought highly neither of Donald Trump nor of Hillary Clinton — broke at the very end decisively for the former. Here is the way he put it:

One reason polling may have been misleading, or at least misled many of us in the psephology racket, is that this is the first presidential election since random sample polling began in 1935 in which most voters had negative feelings toward both major party candidates.

Election analysts have had experience dealing with elections in which majorities have positive feelings about both nominees; that has usually been the case in contests which turn out to have been seriously contested. “Double positives,” people with positive feelings about both candidates, will usually split along partisan or perhaps ethnic lines, and ordinarily pretty evenly.

But what about “double negatives”? The default assumption most of us have had, I suspect, is that they would split roughly evenly between the candidates. But that didn’t happen this year. According to the exit poll (current figures, which may be slightly revised), 18 percent of voters were “double negatives,” that is, had negative feelings toward both Clinton and Trump. Of these 18 percent, 49 percent voted for Trump and only 29 percent voted for Clinton, with 22 percent saying they picked another candidate or not answering.

The Trump-Clinton split as a percentage of the entire electorate was 9 to 5 percent, a 4 percent margin. Assume that was the split in each target state, rather than the 7 to 7 percent under my default assumption. If you subtract 2 percent from each close state from Trump’s percentage and add it to Clinton’s, you have Clinton carrying Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which have 101 electoral votes. That would give Clinton a 329-209 majority in the Electoral College. As Nate Silver pointed out on FiveThirtyEight.com, that’s a big difference.

Later in the week, Michael came back to the question of Hillary Clinton’s loss and focused on what happened in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the upper Midwest to the Democratic vote outside the major cities. Here he observed:

Iowa, the largest state with no million-plus metro areas was typical: 54 percent Democratic in 2008, 52 in 2012, 41 percent in 2016. The drop is similar in Wisconsin outside Milwaukee and Madison (54 to 50 to 41 percent), Michigan outside Detroit and Grand Rapids (55 to 52 to 41 percent), Ohio outside Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati (48 to 47 to 35 percent), Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (48 to 44 to 36 percent).

Similar outstate drops were not quite enough to carry Minnesota for Trump and were swamped in Illinois by metro Chicago. But they were enough to switch the Midwest electoral vote from 80-38 Democratic in 2012 to 88-30 Republican this year.

These areas aren’t growing demographically, but they’re not tiny either. They cast 100 percent of votes in Iowa, 61 percent in Wisconsin, 47 percent in Michigan and Pennsylvania, 44 percent in Ohio.

And in trying to explain the shift, he pointed to three concerns: economic stagnation and its impact on the population that shifted, the growing conviction among Midwesterners that Mrs. Clinton was deeply dishonest, and the impact on them of her description of Trump voters. It is the last that especially interests me.

There’s also the condescension of Clinton and her campaign headquartered in trendy Brooklyn. “Religious beliefs,” candidate Clinton said in 2015, “have to be changed.” She told a Manhattan audience that half of Trump supporters were “deplorables” and “irredeemables” characterized by “implicit racism.”

Outstate people who voted for Obama, or whose neighbors or friends at church did, probably weren’t attracted by such statements. Decent people don’t like to be called racists and told that their religion needs to be changed (by the government?).

I would go a bit further than Michael did. I live in a small town in the upper Midwest and I did not think highly of either candidate. For a long time I sat on the fence undecided. I was not worried that Trump was a racist or bigot. I did fear that he was irresponsible, and his remarks regarding foreign policy worried me almost as much as it worried John Yoo and Jeremy Rabkin. What caused me to hold me nose, vote for Trump, and urge others to do so was not “the condescension” exhibited by Mrs. Clinton but the outright hatred she voiced. People who are deplorable and irredeemable need to be crushed. They cannot be allowed to rear their own children, and they must be forced into line. What she had to say was nasty and ugly. That it reflected the views of many of her supporters I never doubted. That she would herself express such views in private and then double-down on them in public later in the campaign — that pushed me over the edge. It was already evident to me that the Democrats intended to neutralize the First Amendment via the courts and impose a regime of censorship on the country. When she spoke these words I knew that she was as radical as the rest. My bet is that these remarks weighed heavily in the decisions made in this part of the country by “the double-negatives.”

Naturally enough, given my misgivings about the President-elect, I have been watching carefully as he has begun putting together a cabinet. I entertain two fears. The first is that, like most Republicans, he will — once elected — betray the base and return to the practices of the managerial progressive wing of the party. The second is that he will turn his back on our allies abroad and sidle up to the likes of Vladimir Putin.

So far, I find his choices reassuring. Jeff Sessions is, as Byron York reports today, “the Democrats’ nightmare.” He can be relied on to enforce the laws as written, to purge what Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch turned into a Department of Obstruction of Justice, and to give us again an impartial, nonpartisan administration of justice — above all, with regard to immigration. In choosing him, Trump has signaled that he means business.

The same is evident in his appointment of Reince Priebus as chief of staff and Steve Bannon as his principal advisor. Priebus is as tough as nails. He saw Scott Walker through the political war in Wisconsin, and he managed to hold the Republican Party together in this election — which was no mean feat. Bannon is the perfect war-time consigliere. He is fearless and clear-headed. The abuse being directed in the mainstream press at Sessions and Bannon is a sign of the significance of these appointments.

I also find the appointments and likely appointments on the foreign policy side reassuring. Mike Pompeo, who will take over the CIA, is no amateur. He graduated first in his class at West Point in 1986, did active duty for some years, took a law degree at Harvard, and has done service on the House Intelligence Committee. He knows the terrain.

Trump’s choice for foreign policy advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn had a stellar career on the intelligence side in the Army and served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014, when he was pushed out for not being on board with the Obama administration’s assessment of the developments likely in Syria. He is one of the few people in the larger national-security world who does not resort to embarrassing euphemisms when describing the relationship between militant Islam and the terrorist threat we now confront. Next to no one is willing to acknowledge in public the fact that Islam is itself a problem and that a religion of holy law is prone to becoming a radical political movement. In a world of liars, Flynn is a breath of fresh air.

Trump has not yet announced his choice for the Department of Defense. Fox News reports, however, that he has settled on Jim Mattis, a retired four-star Marine Corps general who took over CentCom from David Petraeus in 2010 and ran it until 2014, when he, too, was pushed out after giving Barack Obama advice regarding Afghanistan, Syria, and Iran that the President did not want to hear. Mattis is a genuine warrior who is notoriously blunt and to the point. In the Marines he was affectionately dubbed “Mad Dog Mattis,” and he has good sense. On one occasion, he said, “The international order… is not self sustaining. It demands tending by an America that leads wisely, standing unapologetically… in defense of our values.” On another, he told his Marines: “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” Let me add that I know Mattis slightly. I spent a couple of days in his company in October at a small conference held at the Hoover Institution. What struck me at the time was that every time he opened his mouth it was clear that he knew what he was talking about. I cannot think of anyone better equipped to be Secretary of Defense, and I cannot imagine an isolationist picking such a man for the job.

Finally, Mike Pence has intimated that Mitt Romney may be chosen Secretary of State. That, too, would be splendid. It would help bind up the wounds of the party, and it would put a real gentleman in charge of Foggy Bottom. Like Mattis, Romney is no isolationist, and his prescience in foreign affairs was on display in the debates that took place in 2012. He was derided at the time for his insistence that Russia is a rival and should be treated as such, and he turned out to be right. His presence in the administration would go a long ways toward reassuring those of us who fear that Donald Trump is a bit too friendly with Vladimir Putin. My only concern is that he might be too decent a man to conduct the purge that is needed in Foggy Bottom. Everyone in the State Department must have known that Hillary Clinton was violating security protocols, and nobody blew the whistle. If Romney is chosen for the top job, someone with the requisite ruthlessness should be put in charge of the foreign service.

When I look at this as a whole, I am tempted to be sanguine about this administration. It looks as if Donald Trump really means drain the swamp and as if he is canny about foreign affairs. All of the right people are upset about his picks, and all of the right people are inordinately pleased. Perhaps, what we saw on the campaign was Trump the entertainer and what we are about to see is Trump the hard-nosed businessman. Let me add that, where Barack Obama tended to surround himself with yes-men and to get rid of anyone who told him truths he did not want to hear, Donald Trump seems to have a taste for straight-shooters. So far, so good.

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  1. Polyphemus Inactive
    Polyphemus
    @Polyphemus

    Sash: it was just before Alabama that Trump couldn’t seem to remember exactly what white supremacy is… or what are those unfamiliar letters KKK? That was when I became NeverTrump, that was no accident, that was pandering to racists. And that was Sessions.

    On what basis do you smear Sessions with this? I happen to agree that Trump, at the time, thought that he needed to soft-pedal any criticism of the KKK because he wanted to win the Southern primaries. I took that as a great insult to Southerners from an ignorant New York boy. Nonetheless, I see no connection here with Jeff Sessions for whom I have nothing but high regard.  Please cite your evidence for tarring him with sympathy for the KKK.

    • #61
  2. Keith SF Inactive
    Keith SF
    @KeithSF

    Arahant:

    Keith SF: I think Carly Fiorina as Press Secretary would be brilliant.

    This seems a bit demeaning to me. The woman was an executive who ran a major corporation. Would you suggest the same for, say, Bill Gates? Or pick another male CEO who has better relations with the press. Steve Jobs when he was alive? When has the press secretary ever been a highly successful CEO? Usually it’s a more journalistic type. Now, Anne Coulter…

    Admittedly it’s a step down for someone with her experience, but consider how good she is at dealing with the press and how eloquent she is explaining conservative policy. She’s exceptionally good at all the public-facing tasks required of a Press Secretary. So maybe (just daydreaming here) she takes the job for a year, as an interesting break from her routine, and for the chance to help out a Republican administration, and stay in the public eye.  It might help blunt some of the “old white guy” criticisms. (emphasis on “might”;-)

    • #62
  3. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Viator:Mad Dog’s reading list – greater Middle East for Staff NCOs and Field Grade Officers

    All the Shah’s Men – Stephen Kinzer

    Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napolean to Al-Qaeda – John Keegan

    The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power – Max Boot

    Battle Ready – Tom Clancy

    The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future – Vali Nasr

    Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution – Nikki Keddie

    Failure of Political Islam – Oliver Roy

    Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism – Robert Pope

    A Peace to End All Peace – David Fromkin

    The Arab Israeli Wars – Chaim Herzog

    What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East – Bernard Lewis

    The Easter Offensive – Colonel G. H. Turley

    The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror – Bernard Lewis

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/ltgen-james-mattis-reading-list

    That’s a very good list.

    • #63
  4. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Keith SF:

    Arahant:

    Keith SF: I think Carly Fiorina as Press Secretary would be brilliant.

    This seems a bit demeaning to me. The woman was an executive who ran a major corporation. Would you suggest the same for, say, Bill Gates? Or pick another male CEO who has better relations with the press. Steve Jobs when he was alive? When has the press secretary ever been a highly successful CEO? Usually it’s a more journalistic type. Now, Anne Coulter…

    Admittedly it’s a step down for someone with her experience, but consider how good she is at dealing with the press and how eloquent she is explaining conservative policy. She’s exceptionally good at all the public-facing tasks required of a Press Secretary. So maybe (just daydreaming here) she takes the job for a year, as an interesting break from her routine, and for the chance to help out a Republican administration, and stay in the public eye. It might help blunt some of the “old white guy” criticisms. (emphasis on “might”;-)

    It would be helpful to have a powerful woman who understands the language of feminism out front. He needs more, though. A female Press Secretary and a female Education Secretary would still need some women in non-traditional female roles. Elaine Chao was possibly the best Labor Secretary ever, but would nonetheless get confirmed.

    I kind of want a Goldman Sachs Treasury Secretary (people would not be able to resist complaining about Trump being just like every other President, which seems like a useful complaint to have in the air), but that’s probably the most effective appointment for a token (less so for Thiel, although a high profile gay appointment would nonetheless be nice; Trump unfairly gets a lot of flack for being homophobic, and there’s never been a real celebrity gay Secretary).

    • #64
  5. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    James Of England: (less so for Thiel, although a high profile gay appointment would nonetheless be nice; Trump unfairly gets a lot of flack for being homophobic, and there’s never been a real celebrity gay Secretary)

    Unless one believes the rumors about Hillary and Huma when Hillary was SOS.

     

    • #65
  6. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    I’m encouraged by most of Trump’s choices so far, as well as being encouraged by his non-choices to date, specifically Gingrich, Giuliani and Christie.  Kellyanne Conway needs to get something big.  I’ve been more impressed by her than anyone else on the Trump team.

    • #66
  7. M1919A4 Member
    M1919A4
    @M1919A4

    I should like to see Mr. Romney at the Veterans’ Administration.  If ever there were a mess in Washington, it is there.  And, Mr. Romney’s experience with retrieving the Olympics and running his own business would be invaluable.

    I have beeen think this morning about Mr. Patrick Buchanan for Secretary of State, with Mr. John Bolton as his No. 2 and charged with cleansing the Foreign Service.

    What is the Richochevian reaction to those two suggestions?

     

    • #67
  8. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    M1919A4:I should like to see Mr. Romney at the Veterans’ Administration. If ever there were a mess in Washington, it is there. And, Mr. Romney’s experience with retrieving the Olympics and running his own business would be invaluable.

    I have beeen think this morning about Mr. Patrick Buchanan for Secretary of State, with Mr. John Bolton as his No. 2 and charged with cleansing the Foreign Service.

    What is the Richochevian reaction to those two suggestions?

    Romney at VA?  What a waste of talent.

    Buchanan for SOS?  Not really going to help with that whole anti-semitic/intolerant trope that’s out there.  Terrible choice that would have a very low probability of confirmation, even from  a Republican Senate that held more than 52 seats.

    Bolton, I could get behind.

     

    • #68
  9. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Miffed White Male:Romney at VA? What a waste of talent.

    Buchanan for SOS? Not really going to help with that whole anti-semitic/intolerant trope that’s out there. Terrible choice that would have a very low probability of confirmation, even from a Republican Senate that held more than 52 seats.

    Bolton, I could get behind.

    Agree on Buchanan (who’s also 78).  Bolton would be great as either permanent UN Ambassador or head of personnel at State.

    • #69
  10. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    If Bolton doesn’t get SoS, I’d like to see him at the UN, just so he could break things and frighten the animals.

    • #70
  11. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Vice-Potentate:

    PHCheese:

    Every time I hear this diversity mantra I am reminded of Red Auerbach of the Boston Celitcs. His first teams had nearly all white players. Shorty later he had mostly black players, a little later he was back to all white players and then back to black players over the years. He said he was criticized for his racial make up at all turns. His rebuttal was black or white he wanted the best team. Why is that wrong?

    It’s not wrong on substance. It’s wrong in optics. Like it or not people care about the diversity game. I think Trump should deign to play it and right now is the most opportune time.

    Regarding the Celtics, people did notice and complain that the 1985-86 Celtics with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge, Scott Wedman, Bill Walton, Jerry Sichting, Rick Carlisle, and Greg Kite were whiter than the next 5 or 6 teams combined. Sometimes they had five white players on the court at one time. The coach, K.C. Jones, was black, though, and the team won the NBA championship.

    I guess the point is that if Trump appoints a talented group of cabinet officers people will come to ignore the identity politics of it. In fact, Trump would do well to come out and say that he’s not going to make any choices based on ethnic bean counting. The country needs to hear that we don’t believe in it.

    • #71
  12. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    The real dissappointment so far, though, has been the lack of sitting Democrats. It’d be a much easier lift to get reforms through the Senate if we had Cory Booker in HUD, he’s an awesome diversity pick (he’s not just African American, he’s really good at reminding people of that), he’s great at letting people know that he’s concerned about the poor, and he’d show that Trump being interested in healing wasn’t just about healing on the right. It’d also be a nice bone to throw Christie to have him appoint a Senator (and a final chance to have Christie redeeming himself with a non-Christie pick).

    Bill Nelson for Transport would be a reward for Scott, a jab in the eye to Trudeau (everyone admired Trudeau having an astronaut for Transport), and Donnelly would be fine in the VA. Heinrich would be perfectly suited to the Interior. If anyone in the Senate would accept them, there’s a lot of ambassadorships out there. Trump has a real opportunity to grease the wheels for this reforms and look bipartisan while doing so. He’d get his conservatives and Trumpians through more easily if they were paired with Democrats. It’s genuinely surprising to me that he’s not.

    • #72
  13. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Man With the Axe:I guess the point is that if Trump appoints a talented group of cabinet officers people will come to ignore the identity politics of it. In fact, Trump would do well to come out and say that he’s not going to make any choices based on ethnic bean counting. The country needs to hear that we don’t believe in it.

    If Trump had the whitest cabinet in decades and people wanted to make the argument that he was a racist, that would be helpful evidence for them. It’s not enough by itself, but the prima facie case has already been made to the public. If it was President Pence, diversity might not be all that important, but for Trump it’s a big deal. Policy success only matters if you know about the policies, but there are plenty of people who know little about how successful Ashcroft was while still knowing that he was the prude who covered the breasts of statutes.

    • #73
  14. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    James Of England:

    Keith SF:

    Arahant:

    Keith SF: I think Carly Fiorina as Press Secretary would be brilliant.

    This seems a bit demeaning to me. The woman was an executive who ran a major corporation. Would you suggest the same for, say, Bill Gates? Or pick another male CEO who has better relations with the press. Steve Jobs when he was alive? When has the press secretary ever been a highly successful CEO? Usually it’s a more journalistic type. Now, Anne Coulter…

    Admittedly it’s a step down for someone with her experience, but consider how good she is at dealing with the press and how eloquent she is explaining conservative policy. She’s exceptionally good at all the public-facing tasks required of a Press Secretary. So maybe (just daydreaming here) she takes the job for a year, as an interesting break from her routine, and for the chance to help out a Republican administration, and stay in the public eye. It might help blunt some of the “old white guy” criticisms. (emphasis on “might”;-)

    It would be helpful to have a powerful woman who understands the language of feminism out front. He needs more, though. A female Press Secretary and a female Education Secretary would still need some women in non-traditional female roles. Elaine Chao was possibly the best Labor Secretary ever, but would nonetheless get confirmed.

    I kind of want a Goldman Sachs Treasury Secretary (people would not be able to resist complaining about Trump being just like every other President, which seems like a useful complaint to have in the air), but that’s probably the most effective appointment for a token (less so for Thiel, although a high profile gay appointment would nonetheless be nice; Trump unfairly gets a lot of flack for being homophobic, and there’s never been a real celebrity gay Secretary).

    Elaine’s an old friend. She would be terrific.

    • #74
  15. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    James Of England: The real dissappointment so far, though, has been the lack of sitting Democrats. It’d be a much easier lift to get reforms through the Senate if we had Cory Booker in HUD, he’s an awesome diversity pick (he’s not just African American, he’s really good at reminding people of that), he’s great at letting people know that he’s concerned about the poor, and he’d show that Trump being interested in healing wasn’t just about healing on the right. It’d also be a nice bone to throw Christie to have him appoint a Senator (and a final chance to have Christie redeeming himself with a non-Christie pick).

    Why would Booker accept the job?  It would kill his plans to run for President on the Dem ticket if he was seen giving aid and comfort to Trump.

    • #75
  16. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    James Of England: Trump unfairly gets a lot of flack for being homophobic, and there’s never been a real celebrity gay Secretary).

    So, how about Milo?

    • #76
  17. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    James Of England: The real dissappointment so far, though, has been the lack of sitting Democrats.

    Really?  I don’t want a single fig leaf to “bipartisanship”.  All that means is Democrats get their way.  And its puts a mole in a position to undermine / divide the administration.  No thank you.

    The lack of sitting Democrats is a feature, not a bug.

    • #77
  18. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Phil Turmel:

    James Of England: The real dissappointment so far, though, has been the lack of sitting Democrats.

    Really? I don’t want a single fig leaf to “bipartisanship”. All that means is Democrats get their way. And its puts a mole in a position to undermine / divide the administration. No thank you.

    The lack of sitting Democrats is a feature, not a bug.

    Trump met today with Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic representative from Hawaii, and there are reports she is possible contender for UN Ambassador.

    • #78
  19. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Phil Turmel:

    James Of England: The real dissappointment so far, though, has been the lack of sitting Democrats.

    Really? I don’t want a single fig leaf to “bipartisanship”. All that means is Democrats get their way. And its puts a mole in a position to undermine / divide the administration. No thank you.

    The lack of sitting Democrats is a feature, not a bug.

    I think for any potential Democrat with future ambitions considering such a move, the question is how they see the future direction of the party.  Will it be an even more Left party of Elizabeth Warren and Keith Ellison or the party of Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer, the latter of who has already made noises appealing to Trump’s liking of being flattered and seeking issues which he can use as wedges to split Republicans?

    • #79
  20. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Matt White:

    Arahant:

    Keith SF: I think Carly Fiorina as Press Secretary would be brilliant.

    This seems a bit demeaning to me. The woman was an executive who ran a major corporation. Would you suggest the same for, say, Bill Gates? Or pick another male CEO who has better relations with the press. Steve Jobs when he was alive? When has the press secretary ever been a highly successful CEO? Usually it’s a more journalistic type. Now, Anne Coulter…

    She did show some real ability to deal with questioners in the debates, though.

    Carly Fiorina seems to have the ability to redirect and reframe questions. She may not be a journalist, but if she’s willing, I say bring it on.

     

    • #80
  21. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Phil Turmel:

    James Of England: The real dissappointment so far, though, has been the lack of sitting Democrats.

    Really? I don’t want a single fig leaf to “bipartisanship”. All that means is Democrats get their way. And its puts a mole in a position to undermine / divide the administration. No thank you.

    The lack of sitting Democrats is a feature, not a bug.

    Cabinet secretaries often get more prestige, and sometimes there’s other reasons for the shift, but it would hand us much more solid control over the Senate. The appearance of bipartisanship is just a pleasant byproduct of one of the more effectively partisan things he could do.

    • #81
  22. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Miffed White Male:

    James Of England: The real dissappointment so far, though, has been the lack of sitting Democrats. It’d be a much easier lift to get reforms through the Senate if we had Cory Booker in HUD, he’s an awesome diversity pick (he’s not just African American, he’s really good at reminding people of that), he’s great at letting people know that he’s concerned about the poor, and he’d show that Trump being interested in healing wasn’t just about healing on the right. It’d also be a nice bone to throw Christie to have him appoint a Senator (and a final chance to have Christie redeeming himself with a non-Christie pick).

    Why would Booker accept the job? It would kill his plans to run for President on the Dem ticket if he was seen giving aid and comfort to Trump.

    It’d make 2020 harder, but it seems likely that he’d be able to make a high profile position out of HUD. His publicity stunts and such might work pretty well with a Trump White House. If he was given a little extra money, he could do plenty of renewal projects of the sort that both he and Trump have affection for.

    If Trump talked him up on a regular basis, he could easily be the only Democrat in 2024 below retirement age with political achievements to his name. Obama’s been poor at showcasing his up and coming executive talent. Democratic Senators aren’t going to get a lot of non-filibuster action. The few Democratic governors are mostly older and/ or facing other problems. If they run, as seems likely, an Elizabeth Warren/ Bernie Sanders figure in 2020 and they lose badly, someone with experience, someone ethnic, and someone who could plausibly promise to dial the partisanship down a little might be popular after six terms of insane partisanship.

    More than that, not getting anything done in the Senate might be unappealing for reasons other than appearance. Booker’s interested in this stuff. The governorship might be more tempting, but it wouldn’t be absurd for Booker to prefer the possibility of doing the bits of government he likes best on a national basis and there’s something to be said for the sure thing of confirmation over the only nearly sure thing of gubernatorial election.

    • #82
  23. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Paul A. Rahe:

    James Of England:

    It would be helpful to have a powerful woman who understands the language of feminism out front. He needs more, though. A female Press Secretary and a female Education Secretary would still need some women in non-traditional female roles. Elaine Chao was possibly the best Labor Secretary ever, but would nonetheless get confirmed.

     

    Elaine’s an old friend. She would be terrific.

    I did not know that. How did you meet?

    • #83
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    James Of England: It’d make 2020 harder, but it seems likely that he’d be able to make a high profile position out of HUD.

    It is also executive experience and might make a run for governor or President easier, especially if he manages to accomplish real things. HUD has about 8500 employees, not tremendous, but not too shabby. The State f New Jersey has around 140,000. The Federal Government as a whole is more than a magnitude higher than New Jersey.  Still, it could be a stepping stone from one to the next to the next.

    Edit: And Newark had approximately 3200 employees, so even HUD would be a step up.

    • #84
  25. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    James Of England:It’d make 2020 harder, but it seems likely that he’d be able to make a high profile position out of HUD. His publicity stunts and such might work pretty well with a Trump White House. If he was given a little extra money, he could do plenty of renewal projects of the sort that both he and Trump have affection for.

    If Trump talked him up on a regular basis, he could easily be the only Democrat in 2024 below retirement age with political achievements to his name. Obama’s been poor at showcasing his up and coming executive talent. Democratic Senators aren’t going to get a lot of non-filibuster action. The few Democratic governors are mostly older and/ or facing other problems. If they run, as seems likely, an Elizabeth Warren/ Bernie Sanders figure in 2020 and they lose badly, someone with experience, someone ethnic, and someone who could plausibly promise to dial the partisanship down a little might be popular after six terms of insane partisanship.

    You’re missing the whole “Democrats will hate him for helping Trump” thing.  The Democrats whole schtick now is that Trump is a racist goon who’s hoodwinked the slack-jawed yokels in red America.

    You really think they’d forgive someone who who went and joined his cabinet?  Especially a minority?

     

    • #85
  26. M1919A4 Member
    M1919A4
    @M1919A4

    James Of England:

    Miffed White Male:

    James Of England: The real disappointment so far, though, has been the lack of sitting Democrats. It’d be a much easier lift to get reforms through the Senate if we had Cory Booker in HUD, he’s an awesome diversity pick (he’s not just African American, he’s really good at reminding people of that), he’s great at letting people know that he’s concerned about the poor, and he’d show that Trump being interested in healing wasn’t just about healing on the right.

    From what I have read, Boker is just another black demagogue (and crook) who did not even live in the city of which he was mayor.  Why give approval and prominence to such a character?

    • #86
  27. M1919A4 Member
    M1919A4
    @M1919A4

    Miffed White Male:

    M1919A4:I should like to see Mr. Romney at the Veterans’ Administration. If ever there were a mess in Washington, it is there. And, Mr. Romney’s experience with retrieving the Olympics and running his own business would be invaluable.

    I have beeen think this morning about Mr. Patrick Buchanan for Secretary of State, with Mr. John Bolton as his No. 2 and charged with cleansing the Foreign Service.

    What is the Richochevian reaction to those two suggestions?

    Romney at VA? What a waste of talent.

    Buchanan for SOS? Not really going to help with that whole anti-semitic/intolerant trope that’s out there. Terrible choice that would have a very low probability of confirmation, even from a Republican Senate that held more than 52 seats.

    Bolton, I could get behind.

    Waste of talent?  The situation with our veterans is appalling, and nothing effective is being done about it.  I hope that @DaveCarter, @SimonTemplar, and others with service backgrounds will see this thread and comment.  I can think of no other post with a more compelling need for superior managerial talent and drive and Mr. Romney is obviously a master of both.

    The comment reminds me of General Hugh Drum, who right after Pearl Harbor declined to accept, as not sufficiently important, General George Marshall’s request that he depart at once for China as liaison with the headquarters of General Chiang Kai-shek; General Marshall retired Drum effective immediately.

    We now have a volunteer force which will wilt away if we do not keep our promises to the men and women who fill its ranks.  We are well into the process of breaking our promises to them.  No force; no foreign  policy, other than abject surrender.

     

    • #87
  28. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    M1919A4:

    Miffed White Male:

    Romney at VA? What a waste of talent.

     

    Waste of talent? The situation with our veterans is appalling, and nothing effective is being done about it. I hope that @DaveCarter, @SimonTemplar, and others with service backgrounds will see this thread and comment. I can think of no other post with a more compelling need for superior managerial talent and drive and Mr. Romney is obviously a master of both.

    The comment reminds me of General Hugh Drum, who right after Pearl Harbor declined to accept, as not sufficiently important, General George Marshall’s request that he depart at once for China as liaison with the headquarters of General Chiang Kai-shek; General Marshall retired Drum effective immediately.

    We now have a volunteer force which will wilt away if we do not keep our promises to the men and women who fill its ranks. We are well into the process of breaking our promises to them. No force; no foreign policy, other than abject surrender.

    It doesn’t take that much executive talent to shut down the VA medical system and replace it with fully funded care for service-related ailments in the private medical system.

     

    Edit:  How about putting Romney in charge of a top-to-bottom redesign of the DOD procurement system?

    • #88
  29. M1919A4 Member
    M1919A4
    @M1919A4

    Jules PA:

    Sash: Romney’s skill set is fixing broken companies, cutting the unproductive to save the productive, I think he would be fine with firing the corrupt at State.

    I agree. Funny, selecting someone with a valuable skill set. Rocket science!!

    THIS is why I should like to see Mr. Romney at the VA:

    https://pjmedia.com/trending/2016/11/23/two-tour-iraq-veteran-commits-suicide-after-va-makes-him-wait-months-for-treatment/

     

    • #89
  30. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Miffed White Male:

    James Of England:It’d make 2020 harder, but it seems likely that he’d be able to make a high profile position out of HUD. His publicity stunts and such might work pretty well with a Trump White House. If he was given a little extra money, he could do plenty of renewal projects of the sort that both he and Trump have affection for.

    If Trump talked him up on a regular basis, he could easily be the only Democrat in 2024 below retirement age with political achievements to his name. Obama’s been poor at showcasing his up and coming executive talent. Democratic Senators aren’t going to get a lot of non-filibuster action. The few Democratic governors are mostly older and/ or facing other problems. If they run, as seems likely, an Elizabeth Warren/ Bernie Sanders figure in 2020 and they lose badly, someone with experience, someone ethnic, and someone who could plausibly promise to dial the partisanship down a little might be popular after six terms of insane partisanship.

    You’re missing the whole “Democrats will hate him for helping Trump” thing. The Democrats whole schtick now is that Trump is a racist goon who’s hoodwinked the slack-jawed yokels in red America.

    You really think they’d forgive someone who who went and joined his cabinet? Especially a minority?

    There’s a good chance that there’ll be numerous people chasing after those votes, and that Booker would look like the adult in the room. He’s hard to go after from the left now, and there’s no reason to believe that he’d be pushed to make a lot of conservative or particularly controversial decisions at HUD. I agree that 2020 is more likely to see a radical than a centrist (although “more likely” and “certain” are very different concepts), but it’s wholly possible that 2024 will see people less enthused by that, particularly if it does badly in 2020. Not a Jim Webb figure, but a leftist willing to work with people who disagree, a Teddy Kennedy figure.

    • #90
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