Plan B: The Campaign for the Cabinet

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2015/09/22/plan-b-the-campaign-for-the-cabinet/

The first presidential primary votes won’t be cast until January, and the Republicans won’t nominate their candidate until July. Although almost anything can happen between now and then, most of the remaining 15 GOP presidential hopefuls probably already realize they don’t have a serious chance at winning.

So, why are they still running? Could it be that their end-game is not, in fact, the Oval Office, but rather some other plumb post? Do even the serious contenders have a Plan B?

Below (in no particular order) is our list of the jobs that some of the candidates might end up with, should they fail to clinch the spot at the top of the ticket:

Bush

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Jeb Bush: Secretary of State — Little brother doesn’t seem to have the heart for the rough and tumble of presidential campaigning, but he appears to have inherited his old man’s diplomatic skills.  On the campaign trail, Bush has passionately attacked the Obama administration as weak and disengaged on foreign policy and has promised, if elected, that the U.S. will reengage abroad.  Bush’s call for a foreign policy premised on the need to spread liberty, and his fluency in Spanish, might make him an ideal Secretary of State.

AP Photo

AP Photo

Carly Fiorina: Vice President or Secretary of the Treasury — Her debate performances have electrified voters, but even supporters remain concerned that Fiorina, who has never held elective office, won’t have what it takes to win the general election.  As the only woman in the GOP race, Fiorina has had leeway to attack Hillary Clinton and to stand up to political correctness – saying that she doesn’t think there is any need to replace Alexander Hamilton on the 10-dollar bill with the face of a woman.  For her defense of Hamilton, the father of modern banking, Fiorina might be awarded the top spot at Treasury (a position for which the California business woman would be well qualified).  But we still like the idea of Fiorina as V.P.  After all, the Vice President’s role on the campaign trail is often that of pit bull.  And if Hillary Clinton is, indeed, the Democratic nominee, Fiorina’s aggressive style will help the GOP beat her.

AP Photo

AP Photo

Lindsay Graham: Secretary of Defense — The South Carolina senator is a former judge advocate in the U.S. Air Force and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. A member of the Armed Services Committee, a former member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, and a protégé of Sen. John McCain, Graham is known for his advocacy of a strong national defense. Graham repeatedly says that he is running to “keep America safe.”  We are certain Graham won’t be president, but maybe he can fulfill his promise to keep the nation safe over at the Pentagon.

AP Photo

AP Photo

Chris Christie: Secretary of Homeland Security — The New Jersey governor scored big points in the last debate with his impassioned remembrance of 9/11.  If his presidential aspirations are not realized, the former federal prosecutor might be interested in a stint as Homeland Security chief.

AP Photo

AP Photo

John Kasich: Office of Management and Budget — The Ohio governor claims to have taken his state from a $8 billion budget deficit to a $2 billion surplus.  Since January, Kasich has canvassed the country campaigning for a balanced budget amendment.  Could it be that the former chairman of the House Budget Committee and chief architect of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 has the Office of Management and Budget in his sights as Plan B?

AP Photo

AP Photo

Ben Carson: Surgeon General — The good doctor is, of course, well-known as the first person to separate twins conjoined at the head.  But he also has important things to say about the physical, spiritual, and moral health of our nation.  Raised in dire poverty by a single mother, Carson speaks often about the role played by education, faith, morality, and, yes, health care, in lifting people out of poverty.  And as Surgeon General, Carson would have the perfect bully pulpit from which to discuss these themes.

AP Photo

AP Photo

Bobby Jindal: Secretary of Health & Human Services — At the age of 24, Jindal became the Louisiana Secretary of Health and Hospitals, an agency that consumed more than a third of the state budget and employed 12,000 people.  He later became the executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. During the Bush administration, Jindal was named assistant secretary for planning and evaluation of the federal Health & Human Services department. Jindal, who is already at home at the agency and well-versed in the many complicated policy questions under its jurisdiction, would be a natural to run HHS.

AP Photo

AP Photo

Ted Cruz: Attorney General or Supreme Court Justice — Everyone knows that Ted Cruz has one of our nation’s sharpest legal minds. As a former Justice Department official, an attorney in private practice, and Texas solicitor general, Cruz has argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court and various appeals courts. In the Senate, Cruz has proven himself adept at parsing complicated legal questions.  But does the former Supreme Court clerk and Harvard Law graduate have the people skills to be elected president?  Only time will tell.  But should he fall short, Cruz might make an excellent Attorney General – until, that is, a seat on the High Court opens up.

AP Photo

AP Photo

Marco Rubio: Secretary of State or Governor of Florida — Like his friend and mentor, Jeb Bush, Rubio is a born diplomat who speaks eloquently about America’s global role.  A passionate defender of American exceptionalism and a positive ambassador of American ideals, the Florida senator speaks strongly about the need for a foreign policy based on cultivating respect for America – not popularity.  Should he fail to win the nomination, Rubio (like Bush) would make an excellent Secretary of State.  But, should Bush beat him out for the post of chief diplomat, watch for Rubio to return to Florida and run for Jeb’s old job:  governor.

AP Photo

AP Photo

Mike Huckabee: White House Policy Advisor — Although the former Arkansas governor and pastor is likely to return to his perch as a Fox News host, Huckabee would be a shoo-in to head the next president’s Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Before we get to the frontrunner, here’s where we see future roles for two high-profile dropouts from the GOP field:

AP Photo

AP Photo

Rick Perry: Secretary of Energy — Before departing the campaign trail, the former Texas governor liked to point to the Lone Star state’s economic performance during his 14 years in office – a record.  Much of that buoyance relied on new technologies to develop oil and gas resources, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Texas is far and away the nation’s leading energy producer. So Secretary of Energy could be a fitting role for Perry.

AP Photo

AP Photo

Scott Walker: Secretary of Labor — The Wisconsin governor might be a good pick to reform the Department of Labor.  In Wisconsin, Walker has compiled a track record for successfully confronting the power of public employee unions in his state, and placing him at Labor (although controversial) would allow him to shake things up a bit on the national stage.

And, last but not least . . .

AP Photo

AP Photo

Donald Trump: Ambassador to someplace far, far away — The Donald is arguably a good fit for Secretary of Commerce.  But it is unlikely that Trump would be willing to play second fiddle to any president — or that the president would appoint the proverbial bull-in-the-china-shop to any position that requires collegiality with others.  But Trump might be enticed by an ambassadorship in a tropical locale with lots of empty beaches and perpetual summer weather — preferably without TV cameras. Perhaps he’d be interested in the Seychelles?

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