Monday, September 21, 2015

"Smoke-Filled" Rooms - If Political Bosses Picked Presidential Candidates

[From Bill Lifka, graphics by Ira]

It’s 14 months before the 2016 election and a majority of citizens are weary of the campaign or are just ignoring it. I wonder if it would be all bad if we went back to the days of yore when more than a few party slates were chosen by party bosses in “smoke filled rooms” behind popular saloons. Imagine what might emerge from that process in 2016.

The Republican bosses would consider the voting trends, current attitudes in the swing states and likely opponents to be chosen by their Democratic opposites.

Choices for top of the ticket would be John Kasich and Carly Fiorina. Kasich would appeal to voters in his swing state of Ohio and he no longer sounds like he comes from Washington DC having served two terms in State government and a stint in the private sector. Fiorina’s never held political office and, despite Trump’s dumb comment on appearance, is clearly a woman. That she’s very smart isn’t necessary but it’s good she’s not stupid.

In a break from tradition, the bosses would have Kasich announce his choices for cabinet positions early in the campaign to pacify their backers and secure their support for the chosen ticket. Any who’d refuse the honor of a cabinet seat needn’t consider a future run for elective office. Most of the cabinet picks are obvious, at least to me.
  • Secretary of State would be Marco Rubio who looks good, thinks good and talks good, the latter in Spanish as well as English. It’s about time we paid more attention to the Latin Americans as long as European and Middle Eastern countries are going down the drain. Let Russia have them and their mounting debt and turmoil.
  • Secretary of Treasury would be Jeb Bush. He was a businessman before moving into his family’s business (politics) and has worked on Wall Street after his stint as Florida’s governor. FL is another background element he shares with Rubio along with fluent Spanish. Let’s ice that swing state.
  • Secretary of Defense would be James Webb in a bid to lure male Democrats. (Carly would take care of the females.) When it comes to the military, Webb is no typical Democrat having spent an exciting period of his life dodging bullets, a few of which managed to elude his dodge. As soon as ISIS and Iran hear of Webb’s choice it’s likely they’ll seek negotiating talks. 
  • Obviously, the Attorney General slot would go to Chris Christie. A big man is required in that position and few are bigger than Chris in mind, body and mouth. That he was a successful States Attorney is another qualification. 
  • In a flight of fancy, Scott Walker would get the Secretary of Labor slot. Few have his experience in dealing with unions and he needs a job not requiring a college degree.
  • Ben Carson is a nobrainer for Health and Human Services. His limited experience managing large bureaucracies is no problem since he deals regularly with folks having only half a brain. 
  • Coming from a State in the southwest, Susana Martinez is a good choice for Interior and being the granddaughter of illegal aliens will help with the Latin vote. 
  • Bobby Jindal would add to the ethnic variety as Secretary of Education. He’s well educated and can sell his viewpoints well. 
  • Lindsay Graham will do as Secretary of Veteran Affairs
  • Ron Paul would be a surprise pick for Housing and Urban Development. As a medical doctor he should know how far we can cut back on subsidized housing without killing anyone.
  • Ted Cruz will be a popular choice for Ambassador to the United Nations. He’ll insult all fellow delegates, hog the microphone and avoid doing any useful UN work. In other words, he can just keep doing what he does in the Senate, except it’s appropriate in the UN. 
  • Rick Perry will become Administrator of the EPA. He looks very intelligent in his new glasses and most Republicans feel that Texas has the right idea of how to protect the environment: conceal and carry. 
  • In one more outreach to Democrats, Joe Manchin would be Energy Secretary. Upon the announcement, Joe would say, “Rick at EPA and me at Energy will make a great team. We’re past governors, him from an oil state and me from a coal state.” 
  • Reaching into academia, Mitch Daniels would return to one of his former posts: Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Adding some senior talent, 
  • Thomas Sowell would become Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors. At 85, Sowell is a bit old for the job but senior citizens are known for their high voter turnout. Besides, 85 is the prime of life, according to me. 
  • Mitt Romney will accept the call to return to government service as the Secretary of Commerce folding in the Small Business Administration which, after all, is where all the action is. 
  • Rudy Giuliani, another returnee, is in an obvious role as Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Another surprise would be Adam Putnam as Secretary of Agriculture coming from a similar position for the State of Florida. He’s a young man but young adults also vote and Adam is popular in FL: let’s be sure of that Florida vote. 

The Republican Bosses had some difficulty in placing Donald Trump.

He was an obvious choice for Trade Representative: the U.S. would have China, Mexico, et al eating out of it’s hands.

However, a final choice was to have The Donald do one deal: convince a capable developer to turn the District of Columbia into a Theme Park on Government. The carrot for Mr. Trump was his fee of 10% of all revenue from park operations, tax free. 

[See Bill Lifka's Trump Golf and Tower - Washington, DC ...

... and his original 2010 idea American Government Theme Park on this Blog] 
As Trump said, “This was the job I was angling for all along. Obviously, I won again.”
The Democratic bosses weren’t idle. Their smoke filled room was an upscale boutique in San Francisco and the smoke didn’t come from tobacco. Nonetheless, their choices were equally hard-headed and chosen to please the voters of the Progressive persuasion.

The Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren team is about as Progressive as it gets.

Forced out of the top two slots, Hillary Clinton would return to her old job as Secretary of State. While reluctant, it was about the only way she could continue the flow of foreign donations into the Clinton slush fund, excuse me, the Clinton Foundation.

John Kerry would be happy to switch to Secretary of Defense to use all his experience skippering a swift boat.

Treasury would go to Al Franken on the basis that counting money is about the same as counting votes.

Nancy Pelosi would step up from her minority leader position to take on Health and Human Services. Having now read the entire Affordable Care Act she knows what’s in it.

Richard Trumpka would be Secretary of Labor having assured the bosses he could be fair and even-handed.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz Attorney General. As for her capability, the bosses thought she’d be about as fair as Trumpka.

The remainder of the ticket will be left to your imagination. It would only be more of the same.

Clearly, I was in a whimsical mood when writing this opinion piece. However, a goodly portion of it would be the same if I were dead serious. You might conclude the smoke filled room process yields better results than the long drawn out primary process. If so, you should write to the respective Party Chairs, Reince Priebus and Debbie Wasserman Shultz. Don’t mention I sent you.

Bill Lifka