This article was originally published on American Thinker (www.americanthinker.com) on January 14, 2012.
Does anyone actually think that the president of the United States is master of every detail related to every department in the executive branch?
The obvious answer is “Of course not.” We expect the president, upon assuming office, to hire people who are far more knowledgeable than he or she is in a host of areas. We certainly wouldn’t expect the president to have the same level of expertise in medicine as the person he or she selects as the surgeon general, would we?
The question to be answered is then: this year, on November 6, will we be voting for a chief executive, or will we, in fact, be voting for an entire administration?
Logic indicates that, in fact, we will be voting for an entire administration, but unfortunately for us as a nation, we get to see only the public face of that administration, the presidential candidate himself, before that administration goes to work on January 21, 2013.
The dangers inherent in this situation are self-evident in the Obama administration. Ken Salazar as secretary of the interior (or perhaps the “Boot-on-the-Neck” czar would be a more appropriate title), Janet Napolitano as secretary of homeland security, and, most glaringly, Eric Holder as attorney general have proven that, if we are actually voting to hire an administration when we enter the voting booth, our current system of seeing only the candidate for president has some serious problems.
This essentially forces us to buy a pig in a poke.
In 2008, if voters knew the cast of characters that Obama had in store for us, would he have won the election? How many would have voted for him if they had known what kind of ultra-partisan, racially or ethnically bigoted, and incompetent or barely competent left-wing ideologues he was going to subject the nation to after the election?
While acknowledging the fact that it has never been done before, the smart move for all the Republican candidates would be to create “shadow” cabinets for their campaigns. Let voters across the country see the shape of the various candidates potential administrations as the candidates themselves envision them. Not perhaps every cabinet post, but at least the essentials, such as State, Defense, Justice, Labor, Energy, and so on.
The president’s job is to direct policy for those who fill these roles, and allowing the American electorate to see them and take them for a metaphorical “test-drive” would give voters the opportunity to evaluate whether these potential cabinet members were competent, whether the candidate himself is able to pick good people, and if there would be any potential rifts within the new administration.
It would also provide a potentially stark contrast between those on the Republican side who might become the sitting secretaries for cabinet departments when compared to the known quantities who have been working in the Obama administration for the past three years.
The Obama election machine appears to be planning a campaign based on a combination of class envy and running against a “do-nothing” Congress. Any military strategist will tell you that if you allow the enemy to pick the battlefield, then you hand him a major advantage. This would have the effect of forcing Obama to defend Holder, Napolitano, Salazar, Clinton, and the rest of his entourage. It would simultaneously prevent his ability to employ these same people as attack dogs for his campaign because they would be busy defending their own records. This strategy would assuredly disrupt Obama’s current battle plan.
The incredibly rapid turnover of some key positions within the administration indicates that the current incumbents are in place solely because of their unquestioning loyalty to Barack Obama. Not their competence, but their loyalty. In the old Soviet Union, they would have been described as “politically reliable.” Seeing how well the Soviets fared under that system, it could hardly be a ringing endorsement to be classed as “loyal.”
Some are relatively inexperienced in their roles, particularly if they are recent replacements for those original members of this administration. As such, they will not necessarily be the most effective advocates for the president when confronted with the facts of their malfeasance or incompetence, particularly when their only defense would be a variation on another old theme: “I was just following orders.” Of course that is only a matter of opinion, but that particular defense doesn’t really sound like a re-election bell-ringer, now does it?
The various Republican candidates still have time to select potential cabinet secretaries and develop their own individual game plans. And each should be a game plan that forces Obama to be reactive and not proactive, rather than one that is based on them reacting to whatever tune Obama is calling.
The nation has no guarantee that Obama will lose in November, and with the internecine warfare going on in the Republican Party right now, he will face a weakened and potentially fragmented opponent. There can be no doubt that every GOP candidate has a relatively short list of potential cabinet appointments in his pocket right now. If they don’t, they certainly don’t deserve anyone’s vote in a primary, since it shows a serious lack of foresight and a weak ability to plan.
We should demand, before another vote is cast, to examine what each of these candidates sees as the shape of his administration should he be the one selected by the people to lead this nation.
Even the most hyperactive president can’t do it all alone. Let’s see who he wants to have helping him in the Herculean task that he will have to take on.