The big Washington guessing game, simmering for months, has reached fever pitch. Everyone who watches such things has a Cabinet list for the perfect Obama administration. Some have even crafted lists of people who shouldn’t be on the list. Now that top transition and White House staffers are in place, expect some big guns to be named soon. Here are a few lists to spur your own thinking:
Let’s start with a list put together by Mike Allen at Politico. It was published before the election and was billed as “the list of names being widely discussed in Democratic circles.” An exhaustive selection, it includes a number of Republicans, including Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, former Rhode Island Sen. Lincoln Chaffee and former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, who co-led the 9/11 Commission.
Adding to the bipartisan speculation, Toby Harnden, U.S. editor of the Telegraph in London, quotes transition chief John Podesta as saying Republicans and independents would be in Obama’s Cabinet and “not just at a token level.” Might John McCain be the Republican, he asks? Also mentioned: Colin Powell and retiring Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.
Another frequently mentioned Republican is Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Obama is leaning toward asking him to stay on for another year.
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen urges Al Gore for secretary of state, Lawrence Summers for Treasury secretary and New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein for secretary of education. Gore’s name has come up for all kinds of potential positions.
Meanwhile, Timothy Noah at Slate offers “The Uncabinet: A guide to key appointments Obama should resist.” He begins with three top NOTS for secretary of state: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. John Kerry and Anthony Lake, a former national security adviser to President Clinton.
No appointments are expected this week, and it seems the first pick might be secretary of the Treasury.
According to Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post’s The Fix blog, “It’s clear from conversations with those close to Obama that the conversations about Treasury Secretary are more advanced than about any other major post in the Administration with the possible exception of the national security posts.” He says the most serious contenders for Treasury “appear to be former Clinton Administration Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, the head of the New York Federal Reserve.”
Looks as though you still have a little time to craft your own list.