I was recently talking to old friend Rick Trader of the Conservative Commandos Radio show regarding President Biden’s cabinet picks. This caused me to dig in deeper and look into their background. Naturally, they are all filled in by Democrats, just as President Trump’s was filled in with Republicans, but there is something else going on.
In theory, the cabinet Secretaries should be the most qualified people for their jobs, just as in the business world. The idea of appointing someone for political favoritism reeks of nepotism and, quite often, is an impediment to progress. We typically see ambassadorships rewarded to political donors but cabinet positions are used to run the country, and political rewards would be a serious mistake.
In looking over the appointments, some make sense, others are just plain off the wall. It appears Biden has been selecting people based on their race, gender, their far-left ideology, or their work in the Obama administration (6 in all). It was certainly not for their management skills. As one example, Pete Buttigieg is a young man who only served as mayor of South Bend, Indiana (home of the University of Notre Dame), with a population of 102K, which is rather small in comparison to most major American cities. Nonetheless, he was appointed Secretary of Transportation, a field in which he has no experience whatsoever. I suspect he was rewarded this for his position on climate control which he spoke on during his failed campaign for president.
Let’s look over the list of cabinet appointments, and consider their qualifications; let us also look at the immediate predecessor from the Trump administration.
CABINET – APPOINTMENT
AGRICULTURE – TOM VILSACK
An Obama appointee, he held this position from 2009-2017. He is also a former governor of Iowa.
Trump: Ed Schafer – served twice as Agriculture Secretary and is a former governor of North Dakota.
ATTORNEY GENERAL – MERRICK GARLAND
Garland is best remembered as the Obama pick to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, which was not acted on by the Senate. He has been serving as a federal judge, on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Believed to be moderate in most decisions, but leaning slightly left.
Trump: William Barr – twice served as Attorney General.
COMMERCE – GINA RAIMONDO
Currently, she is the governor of Rhode Island. Her background includes being a venture capitalist. As governor, she cut taxes every year, removed thousands of pages of regulations, raised the state minimum wage to $11.50, and made community colleges tuition-free (a favorite with the far-left). However, her approval ratings routinely ranked in the bottom of all governors in the United States.
Trump: Wilbur Ross – successful businessman. Named by Bloomberg Markets as one of the 50 most influential people in global finance.
DEFENSE – LLOYD AUSTIN
Austin is a West Point graduate and served over 40 years in the military. If confirmed, he will be the first black defense secretary. Previously, he was picked as Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army by Barrack Obama.
Trump: Mark Esper – Also a West Point graduate, Esper joined the U.S. Army and served as an infantry officer with the 101st Airborne Division. He saw action in the Gulf War. Afterwards, he served in the 82nd Airborne and the Army National Guard.
EDUCATION – MIGUEL CARDONA
Cardona serves as the Connecticut commissioner of education. He has an extensive background in Connecticut education. The hard issues he faces include opening schools closed due to COVID-19, and transgender sports.
Trump: (acting) Phil Rosenfelt – been with the Department of Education since 2005.
ENERGY – JEFFIFER GRANHOLM
Former governor of Michigan. Was a member of the Obama transition team. Granholm is a distinguished adjunct professor of law and public policy at UC Berkeley. No energy experience.
Trump: Dan Brouillette – previously served as the Deputy Secretary of Energy from August 2017 to December 2019.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES – XAVIER BECERRA
He is currently attorney general of California. He was previously a Congressman representing downtown Los Angeles. While in the House, he served as the chair of the House Democrat Caucus from 2013 to 2017. Becerra is perhaps best known as the AG, along with 15 other Democrat-led states, to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the president’s declaration of a national emergency to fund and build the southern U.S. border, as well as many more lawsuits against the administration. He is far-left.
Trump: (acting) Norris Cochran – part of DHHS since 2006.
HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD) – MARCIA FUDGE
Fudge is currently a Democrat member of the House from Ohio. Her background is substantially different than her predecessor.
Trump: Dr. Ben Carson – a pioneer in the field of neurosurgery. He was also a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is also known for his run for the presidency in 2016. If anything, Dr. Carson was over qualified for his job as HUD Secretary.
INTERIOR – DEB HAALAND
If confirmed, she will be the first Native American cabinet secretary. She has been very active in Democrat politics, such as speaking against the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. She also actively supports the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. She is far-left.
Haaland’s appointment is controversial as a group of 15 Republican House members sent a letter to President Biden urging him to withdraw her name claiming, her nomination is “a direct threat to working men and women and a rejection of responsible development of America’s natural resources.”
Trump: David Bernhardt – also worked for the Department of the Interior during George W. Bush’s presidency.
LABOR – MARTY WALSH
Walsh is the current mayor of Boston. He is one of the few cabinet appointments cruising through his confirmation hearing. Walsh has an extensive background in unions, both as a member and as a mayor working with them.
Trump: Eugene Scalia – served one year as Solicitor of the Department of Labor during the George W. Bush administration. He is a son of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
STATE – ANTONY BLINKEN
An Obama appointment serving as deputy secretary. Also served in Clinton’s state department and on the National Security Council for then VP Biden.
Trump: Mike Pompeo – former CIA Director, graduated first in his class as a West Point graduate, also served in the House of Representatives (KS).
TRANSPORTATION – PETE BUTTIGIEG
Former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Ran for president in 2020. He worked on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign as an advisor, policy and research specialist. No transportation experience. He is far-left.
Trump: Elaine Chao – Naturalized citizen. Married to Sen. Mitch McConnell. She has served the Department of Transportation since 1986, particularly in the Maritime Administration. Served as Deputy Transportation Secretary from 1989-1991. She was also the longest-serving Secretary of Labor.
TREASURY – JANET YELLEN
Recently confirmed, she is the first female Treasury Secretary. She has prior experience as the chair of the council of economic advisors and chair of the Federal Reserve under Obama. She comes from academia, where she has taught economics for many years at Harvard and the London School of Economics.
Trump: Steven Mnuchin – American investment banker at Goldman Sachs.
As with any job, people should be eminently qualified to successfully fulfill a job, but this isn’t always the case in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, the best people are not always available. After all, they would have to sacrifice their business careers in order to serve. So, you have to ask the question, are the people selected doing this for love of country or are there other ulterior motives, such as political recognition and power?
As we can see, not all of the candidates herein are qualified for their positions. This is like hiring ditch-diggers to work in Silicon Valley. Undoubtedly, all will tow the line when it comes to Democrat values and priorities, but will that make for a well-oiled machine to run the country? In all likelihood, when the Biden administration is done, we will have another costly mess to clean up and not a clean and productive hand-off. Unfortunately, this is how the American public elects to operate.
In the business world, there are two tried and proven tactics to rationalize failure; first, blame your predecessor, and; second, reorganize everything, making it difficult to straighten out later on. What we are now witnessing in the Biden administration is both excuses being implemented at warp speed. God help us!
Keep the Faith!
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