These Cabinet Picks Would Establish Obama as a Progressive Icon

How to Make Government Work
Nov. 13 2012 5:33 PM

Who Obama Should Pick for His Second-Term Cabinet

Should John Kerry replace Hillary Clinton?
Should John Kerry replace Hillary Clinton?

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/GettyImages

What would a truly progressive Cabinet look like?  President Obama now has the enviable task of restocking his administration—recharging the top ranks with decision-makers who may well determine whether the president becomes a progressive icon or a status-quo second-termer.  In that spirit, I thought it might make sense to suggest a few names.

For Treasury: Paul Krugman. There is something to be said for having been right. As far back as the early days of the cataclysm, he has diagnosed the problem properly, in both its micro- and macroeconomic implications, and called for precisely the right remedies. And he has called out the Beltway bloviators who mince words, are afraid to take a chance, and usually just go along to get along.  Paul won a Nobel Prize for a reason.  The last thing we need is another Wall Street voice filled with self-serving malarkey about "uncertainty being the reason businesses aren't investing."

Advertisement

For secretary of state:  John Kerry. Not just because he looks the part. He has the depth of knowledge and capacity to deal with the gnarly problems out there.  Let's face it, the agenda isn't pretty.  Even after we are out of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East is a mess, the Iran situation is a conundrum, and China is omnipresent.

For Defense: Colin Powell.  He is among the wisest and most thoughtful military leaders out there. Plain and simple. And a City College of New York grad to boot.

For the SEC: Dennis Kelleher or Gary Gensler. Dennis has proved through his advocacy at Better Markets that he fully understands the structures and enforcement actions that need to be brought to bear. During his more than 15 years as a partner at Skadden, one of the nation's largest and finest law firms, he proved he knows the actual nuts and bolts of the lawyering that is used to mask what is going on.

Gensler has been a wonderful voice for reform from his perch at the CFTC, proving that where you come from—Goldman—matters less than how you think.

For chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers: Joe Stiglitz. He is the other half of the Krugman equation. His Nobel and writings prove that he, too, is one of the few who has been right, and he doesn't cave to the handwringing of the establishment on Wall Street.

For director of the OMB: Robert Reich. Just read his books, his blog posts, his transcripts on my show. It is clear why we want him! Bring him back.

For Energy:  My colleague Jennifer Granholm. The last thing we want is to lose her, but she would be great. As attorney general, governor, and now as a host at Current, she gets the politics and the substance, and she knows government.

This is just a start, but these are the types of progressive minds we need: a Cabinet that understands the import of the victory that last Tuesday represented.

 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

iOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 12:02 PM Here It Is: The Flimsiest Campaign Attack Ad of 2014, Which Won’t Stop Running
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 17 2014 1:46 PM A Salute to Defiant Scots on the Eve of Their Possible Secession
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 1:26 PM Hey CBS, Rihanna Is Exactly Who I Want to See on My TV Before NFL Football Games
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 1:01 PM A Rare, Very Unusual Interview With Michael Jackson, Animated
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 12:35 PM IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.