Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Cabinet Connection

At this point it's hard to tell which names are serious, which are trial balloons, which are floated to assuage egos and repay debts, and which are fantasies of supporters of the person named, or other unnamed but not actually in the know persons.

But there are names out there for cabinet members, and the ones I'm most interested in are the ones I was hoping to see on Obama's list. Especially Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who would make a terrific appointment to Environmental Protection Agency, but also to head the Dept. of Energy. Caroline Kennedy is also rumored for UN rep or ambassador to the UK (where her grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy served.) I like the symbolism--Kennedys: The Next Generation. But they both would be really good in those roles. RFK, Jr. would be tenacious. In any case I do hope for a heavy hitter for Energy--somebody with credentials and credibility on the climate crisis as well as green energy.

Of the names being bandied about my instincts say that some are more likely than others (Vilsack at Agriculture, Napolitano as A.G., Geithner at Treasury, Bill Richardson and Chuck Hagel somewhere) but I expect surprises. Somebody from business, and from academia. We don't have to deplete Democrats in Congress or the states. And by the way, cabinet secretaries aren't the only important posts. There are White House advisors, too, which is kind of where I expect Hagel might land. How about several science advisors--like James Hansen of NASA, the most prominent name on Climate Crisis science?

What's got me foxed is the Rahm Emanuel business. Not that he'd be offered the Chief of Staff job, but that it's public, along with the "fact" that he hasn't accepted yet. This is very un-Obamalike, and actually doesn't bode too well for Emanuel. He's sprung a leak even before he's taken the job? Not so good.

Apart from what Michelle's dress was all about at Grant Park (a compromise between Sasha's black and Malia's red?), that's got me mystified.

But what I'm thinking of is this: to this day I can recite for you the entire JFK cabinet, including Postmaster General, which I learned when I was 15. This is a really exciting time to be 15, and to watch a new generation government being formed. At that time, I unrealistically identified with the Kennedy administration--I imagined I was part of it. They cooperated a bit, too--I sent them letters, and got replies like, "The Secretary has carefully considered your letter," and "Your thoughtful letter to the President has been forwarded to the State Department..." I wonder if today's 15 year olds will get that part of the experience.

Now, even though I get emails signed "Barack," I am well aware how distant I am from what's going on in Washington. That's something I will be thinking about further.

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