Possibilities for Obama's Cabinet

6-01-08, 11:04 am

As the close of the Democratic primaries near, and it becomes increasingly clear that Barack Obama, as the presumptive nominee, will next week launch his campaign against John McCain, rumors and speculation about who will be on the ticket are swirling from the Washington press corps to my 8-year old son.

Only the latest is the 'fantasy draft' offered by EbonyJet.com in a recent online article. , in addition to suggesting a VP candidate for Obama, went so far as to provide an intriguing list of potential nominees for Obama's cabinet and the Supreme Court.

Describing Jim Webb (D-VA) as, 'a Vietnam veteran with great communications skills and [who] wears combat boots with his suits,' Easter puts him forward for VP above others some in the media have listed as potential choices, including Sam Nunn and Christopher Dodd.

With tongue in cheek, Easter writes, 'When you have a name like Obama, you have to have a running mate with a one syllable name – Dodd, Nunn or Webb. Anybody with a longer name can forget it.' So 'Obama-Napolitano in 2008,' for example, is out; eight syllables altogether, you see.

Easter puts forward a number of well-known names like Bill Richardson for Secretary of State, Al Gore for UN Ambassador (what a contrast to 'Screamin'' John Bolton that'd make), and John Edwards for Attorney General.

Other selections are interesting as well: Janet Napolitano for Secretary of Energy, Chuck Hagel (real Republican maverick) to head the Pentagon, the junior Jesse Jackson for Secretary of Transportation, and Ed Rendell (of the Clinton Rendell's) to head the Department of Labor.

Easter's lesser known picks are equally thoughtful: DC Judge Eric Holder for Supreme Court and former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke as Drug Czar. Choosing Holder for the Supreme Court would 'be an important gesture to the people of DC who will quickly realize that if they can’t get statehood with a Black president, it will probably never happen.' Selecting Schmoke to head US drug policy would be a reward to a man with 'the bravery and foresight to say publicly that the drug issue is a health problem, not a problem of interdiction.' It would signal a huge shift from a failed and wasteful 'war on drugs' to treating addicts and developing comprehensive social policy alternatives to just locking people up.

Some of Easter's selections are silly or sardonic with a touch of truth. John Kerry as Ambassador to France and EBay CEO Meg Whitmand to be a so-called Transparency Czar to create 'a YouTube meets C-Span meets Facebook to completely open up the government process to public scrutiny.'

Anyway you shake it, Obama has at his disposal an enormous cadre of experienced and brilliant people from various fields of public service to help him repair the damage of the Bush years and bring our country forward. The people listed here, by contrast, would outshine the Bush cabal and the clique of Washington lobbyists and corporate insiders that control McCain's campaign and who would likely sit in his cabinet.

--Reach Joel Wendland at