Ebonyjet.com has asked its political contributors to pick cabinet members in a fantasy draft for Barack Obama should he become president. Eric Easter, Johnson Publishing's chief of digital strategy, was the first to voice his choice.
I thought about the challenge and decided to go out the box in choosing the Veep in my dream team: Colin Powell.
Putting the retired general in the number two slot on the Democratic ticket would be the ultimate cross-party gesture from the candidate of change. Over the past two or three decades, a gaggle of conservative Democrats have denounced their party affiliation to before becoming instant Republicans. Turn about would be fair play with Powell's public rejection of President Bush's Iraq war policies; his public explanation on how the Bush Administration hoodwinked him into making the WMD argument before the United Nations; and his public criticism of the Republican party's dreadful mishandling of national governance since it's introduction of the "Contract with America."
Of course, the power players in Democratic Party would never allow a recently-converted Republican to land the much coveted second spot...but while I'm in a fantasy mode, I figured I'd make a quick case for something completely different. Here's my ebonyjet.com commentary posted earlier today.
Obama’s Cabinet: The Ebonyjet.com Fantasy Draft, Part II
June 2, 2008
By Monroe Anderson
Monroe Anderson’s been busy over the last couple of days breaking news on our stalwart Democratic presidential candidate. Fortunately, we corralled him a bit earlier to share his picks for the Ebonyjet.com Fantasy Draft for an Obama White House cabinet. He has a few opinions...)
Before I name my fantasy cabinet, allow me to be for real. Cabinet members are not just selected for their administrative abilities; there are also political considerations and paybacks to be brokered. Some appointments will come out of the Washington bureaucracy. Others will be marquee name Democrats—and, most likely, a Republican or two. During the process of inclusion and elimination, Obama will get tons of suggestions. So, here’s two pounds worth.
Vice President— Colin Powell
Forget get about Hillary Clinton. She can’t be trusted to watch Obama’s back and besides—he’ll get two for the cost of one with hubby Bill attached to the deal. John Edwards looks good on camera but demonstrated as Kerry’s Veep that he’s not good at playing bad cop to the party nominee’s good cop; neither is Bill Richardson. Powell will make an unmistakable change statement for presidential nominee Obama. Selecting a Republican as his running mate would turn tradition on its head. The retired four-star general would cancel out John McCain’s military advantage. As a former presidential cabinet member for both Papa and Junior Bush, Powell was so popular among Republicans, independents and Reagan Democrats that many thought him a more viable candidate in 2000 than George W. I know this is out-of-the box thinking but Powell is basically a Republican by opportunity only and should be a welcomed addition to the other side of the aisle. Finally, for the nut jobs out there that might be planning an assassination attempt of the nation’s first African American Chief Executive, they’d be forced to think twice.
Chief of Staff—Gov. Bill Richardson
During the double-digit number of debates among the candidates for Democratic Party nomination for president, the governor of New Mexico demonstrated time and time again that he is both level-headed and a peace-maker. Richardson, who was one of the highest-ranking Hispanic appointees in President Clinton’s administration, brings the right blend of experience and respect to keep Obama’s White House in order.
Secretary of State—Sen. Joe Biden
At the risk of upsetting the balance of power in the senate, Obama will have to be frugal when it comes to recruiting for his cabinet among Democrats in the upper chamber. Fortunately, with the Republican brand in ruins, the Democrats should end up with enough new senate seats to offset Biden’s move into the inner-sanctum of the Oval Office. As the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the senior senator from Delaware has been a major proponent of a no-nonsense approach to bringing the troops home. Biden also commands respect on The Hill and in the Pentagon.
Attorney General—Lani Guinier
For the past seven years, justice has been denied to virtually any American whose net worth was seven digits or greater. Labeled by the right as “anti-Constitution” and “the quota queen” when Bill Clinton nominated her for assistant attorney general in 1993, the president caved, kicking his former Yale Law School classmate under the bus. Imminently qualified, Guiner will make sure that the poor and the wage earner gets their just due.
Secretary of Defense—Sam Nunn
As a member of the Obama administration, the four-term retired Georgia senator will have to tamp down his opposition to gays in the military if any change is gonna come. But, beyond that discriminatory instinct, the former chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services is ideal for Defense Secretary. Right now, Nunn is the co-chairman—with Ted Turner--and Chief Executive Officer of the NTI (Nuclear Threat Initiative), a charitable organization working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
National Security Advisor—Susan Rice
Rice will have her hands full correcting the international miscalculations of President Bush’s Condoleezza Rice. Currently on leave from the Brookings Institute, Dr. Susan Rice served President Clinton as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. She now serves as the Obama campaign’s senior foreign policy advisor.
Secretary of Veteran Affairs--John Murtha
The House already has a Democratic-margin safety net; therefore Obama can deftly move the Pennsylvania congressman into this important post. Like McCain, Murtha is a Vietnam War hero. Unlike McCain, three years ago Murtha called for a redeployment of American troops in Iraq. A Clinton supporter in the primary race, Murtha—along with Powell and Biden—would help the Obama administration consolidate support in military and veteran quarters.
Department of Energy—Gov. Christine Gregoire
With global warming threatening to end the world as we know it and oil prices at record highs and rising, Obama will need a director willing to steer our energy practices away from old fossil fuels and into alternative energy. As the governor of Washington, Gregoire is known for her green dedication. She made sure her state was the first in the nation to enact a mandate for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for public buildings.
Secretary of Commerce— Jeffrey Sachs
We’re going to need a heavy-hitter to undo all the damage to the economy Bush and his Republican majority perpetrated on us in this new millennium. Sachs is the solution. Currently a professor on the faculty at the School of International and Public Affairs and director of the Earth Institute, both at Columbia University, Sachs is also Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In his critically acclaimed book, “The End of Poverty,” Sachs asserts, "Extreme poverty can be ended, not in the time of our grandchildren, but our time."
Monroe Anderson is an award-winning journalist who penned op-ed columns for both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. Check out his blog at monroeanderson.typepad.com