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Thread: Will John McCain be the Republican in Barack Obama's cabinet?

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    Elite Member bychance's Avatar
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    Default Will John McCain be the Republican in Barack Obama's cabinet?

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    It's standard fare for a president to make a bipartisan gesture by including one member of the opposing party in his cabinet - just as it's always the case (lest we forget) that every president-elect vows to change the tone in Washington and reach out magnanimously to his vanquished opponents.
    But John Podesta, the former Bill Clinton former chief of staff who's spearheading the transition for the 44th president, said today that there would be independents and Republicans in Barack Obama's cabinet and "not just at a token level".


    "Token", I'd say, would be a fair description President George W. Bush's decision to keep on Norman Mineta as Transport Secretary. Mineta eventually retired in 2006, though no one noticed. Truth be told, I had to check whether he was still in the cabinet or indeed still alive.


    John F. Kennedy chose Douglas Dillon as his Treasury Secretary and Robert McNamara, an independent, for Defence. Clinton had William Cohen, former Maine senator and a moderate Republican.


    So who might be the Republicans in Obama's cabinet? There are plenty of names being bandied around and who he picks will be a key early test of whether the new president is serious about bipartisanship or whether it's the usual hot air. Here are some ideas:


    1. Robert Gates. Defence Secretary. The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama is leaning towards keeping the Bush appointee on for a year. Traditionally, this is an easy place to have someone from the other party because it's ideologically fairly ring-fenced (Donald Rumsfeld notwithstanding). Apparently (according to Senator Harry Reid) Gates is not a registered Republican, though he's served in several Republican administrations and is of the George H.W. Bush realist school. If Gates is kept on, it's likely to be for a limited period. Richard Danzig is hotly tipped as Pentagon chief and could start out as Gates's deputy.


    2. Colin Powell. Defence Secretary or Education Secretary. There's got to be a very good chance Powell gets a job. His artful non-denial denials - classics of the Washington genre - make clear he's gagging to serve again to atone for his sins under Bush. Pentagon chief would make a lot of sense but Education would be a more creative choice for him.


    3. Chuck Hagel. The retiring senator from Nebraska voted for the Iraq war but then became a bitter critic. He accompanied Obama on his European trip and never endorsed John McCain even though he was one of only a handful of Senate colleagues to back his fellow Vietnam veteran in 2000. Obama may be somewhat wary of too much "government by senator", which could count against Hagel for the Pentagon. Perhaps Veteran Affairs would be a fit.


    4. Richard Lugar. The veteran Republican senator from Indiana sought Obama out when he entered the Senate, teamed up with him on non-proliferation legislation and mentored him during a foreign trip in 2005 that included a stop in London. We know that Obama has spoken to him by phone this week. Could he be Secretary of State? That would be a very bold move indeed - it's a huge piece of policy real estate to give to a Republican. But Obama seems to be struggling a bit for attractive option for State (Senator John Kerry is apparently lobbying hard) so maybe Lugar will be chosen. Hard to see what other post Lugar might fill and Obama is certainly very fond of him.


    5. John McCain. Don't laugh. Well, OK you can. I don't think McCain will be in Obama's cabinet, not least because he has the rest of his Senate term to serve out. I do think, however, that it's very possible that McCain could well become an Obama buddy - he'll be thinking of his legacy and his gracious (the word everyone used, but it's the right one) concession speech was from the heart. I'm certainly not holding my breath but a role for McCain in Obama's cabinet would be a stroke of genius and real creativity by the new president.


    6. Richard Haass. President of the Council on Foreign Relations and former head of policy and planning at State, where he was a close adviser to Colin Powell. He was also a highly effective Northern Ireland envoy at a critical period. A cabinet post might be a stretch at the outset but Haass is just the kind of Republican pragmatist and deep thinker who would appeal to Obama.


    7. Chris Shays. The Connecticut congressman lost his seat last week, the last House Republican in New England. He's already come right out and said publicly he'd be interested in "doing something" in the Obama administration. Not sure if that's the best approach but, hey, if you're just about to become unemployed it's worth a whirl.


    8. Tom Coburn. The Oklahoma senator is a rock-red conservative, hero of the GOP base and an anti-earmarks crusader who backed McCain. But he has spoken very warmly indeed of Obama, who cited him during the campaign as an example of a conservative he can work with despite their opposing ideologies (he clumsily compared him to Bill Ayers and Coburn - in a sign of his genuine feelings for Obama - took it on the chin when he could justifiably have lashed out at him).


    9. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Obama has spoken enthusiastically of the California governor, saying "there are things I don't agree with him on, but he's taken leadership on a very difficult issue and we haven't seen that kind of leadership in Washington". And he is married to a Kennedy. A possible Energy tsar (for some reason, I prefer spelling it that way).


    10. Lincoln Chafee. The former Rhode Island senator was always regarded as a RINO and indeed left the GOP after the loss of his seat in 2006 (perhaps making him a NEIN - Not Even In Name). He supported Obama over McCain and choosing him as Interior Secretary - a suggestion I've heard from Democrats - would be barely leaning towards the aisle, never mind reaching across it.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    McCain's not going to be in Obama's cabinet. I can see him and Obama working together on certain key issues, but that's it.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    I doubt it too,but making him Secretary of Defense would get the other 42% of voters to feel much more secure.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Maybe the other 42 percent would be secure, but then there would be other percentages who wouldn't trust McCain as Secretary of Defense.

    Edit:

    I think General Wesley Clark would be better for SOD. He's got the military experience like McCain, but he has the intelligence and good judgement that McCain lacks.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Maybe the other 42 percent would be secure, but then there would be other percentages who wouldn't trust McCain as Secretary of Defense.
    True-there is no making us all happy possible!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Maybe the other 42 percent would be secure, but then there would be other percentages who wouldn't trust McCain as Secretary of Defense.

    Edit:

    I think General Wesley Clark would be better for SOD. He's got the military experience like McCain, but he has the intelligence and good judgement that McCain lacks.
    Yeah, remember that McCain's military education and career was less than stellar. And is it correct to say that McCain actually didn't hold any leadership positions in the military?

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    I like Gen. Russel Honore best. His voice makes you believe you are safe!

    General Honore is a native of Lakeland, Louisiana. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry and awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Agriculture upon graduation from Southern University and A&M College in 1971. He holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources from Troy State University as well as an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from Southern University and A&M College.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member bychance's Avatar
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    I hope he has McCain do something in his administration just so his supporters can't stop acting salty and bitter.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    I like Gen. Russel Honore best. His voice makes you believe you are safe!

    General Honore is a native of Lakeland, Louisiana. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry and awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Agriculture upon graduation from Southern University and A&M College in 1971. He holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources from Troy State University as well as an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from Southern University and A&M College.
    I forgot about him. I remember when he went into New Orleans it looked like he was about to kick ass and take names. He or Clark would be good picks.

    Quote Originally Posted by bychance View Post
    I hope he has McCain do something in his administration just so his supporters can't stop acting salty and bitter.
    A lot of the McCain supporters are salty and bitter toward McCain for 'hampering' Palin and not being conservative enough. LOL.

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    McCain wouldn't be in the cabinet. neither with Coborn (he's too bat crazy). Lugar, Hagel, Powell, Gates are all reasonable.

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    I sure as heck hope not. McOld probably is afraid to work with the terrorist/socialist/communist that is O.

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    Elite Member Belinda's Avatar
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    I highly doubt Obama will put McCain in his cabinet. I think he's trying to reach across the aisle to McCain since they agree on some issues and the Dems don't have the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster.

    ETA:

    CHICAGO - President-elect Barack Obama says he and Republican Sen. John McCain plan to work together to "fix up the country."
    The two former rivals met in Obama's transition office Monday in Chicago. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's incoming White House chief of staff, participated in the meeting, as did McCain's close friend, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.
    Obama said that he and McCain were "just gonna have a good conversation about how we can do some work together to fix up the country. And also to offer thanks to Sen. McCain for the outstanding service he's already rendered."
    When asked if he planned to help the Obama administration, McCain replied, "obviously."


    Update, 1:40 pm
    Ken Bazinet of the New York Daily News offers this pool report from the brief meeting.
    Asked about the goal of the meeting, Mr. Obama said, "We're going to have a good conversation about how we can do some work together to fix up the country, and also to offer thanks to Sen. McCain for the outstanding service he's already rendered."...
    Your pool tried to get the President-elect to answer a question on the auto industry bail out, but was shouted down by the pool sherpas. Mr. Obama finally said with a smile, "You're incorrigible."
    Sitting around a coffee table, with three U.S. flags behind them, were: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), President-elect Barack Obama and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the chief-of-staff-designate.
    Your pool was in and out in about three minutes.


    Obama Meets With McCain At Transition Office (VIDEO)
    Last edited by Belinda; November 17th, 2008 at 01:05 PM.

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    Elite Member Penny Lane's Avatar
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    Including McCain on some issues might allow his base to warm up to Obama, but that's as far as I hope it goes... I think giving McCain a spot in his cabinet would be an unwise choice.

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    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    Why would McCain want to pal around in the Cabinet of a terrorist pal-arounder??

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