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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Now that the hand-wringing about the presidential election is over, we turn our sights to President Obama’s new cabinet in 2013. The remarkable stability of Obama’s cabinet in the first term will be upended with a host of changes in the second. There is rampant speculation that at least four critical cabinet members — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and Attorney General Eric Holder — may leave the administration in the coming weeks.

Who could replace them? As we take a look at the possible candidates in this slideshow, we invite readers to leave their own suggestions in the comment section.

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Copyright 2012 The National Memo
  • While plans to replace departing leaders in critical positions is an absolute necessity, the focus at this point must be on governance. Our top priority must be addressing the automatic spending reductions introduced by House Republicans a year ago as a condition for raising the national debt ceiling. Those spending reductions, which are scheduled to take effect on 1/1/13, all but guarantee another recession. I respect President Obama’s decision to conduct private talks with Republicans and Democratic leaders today and in days to come, but if those talks don’t bear fruit soon the negotiations should be made public for everyone to see and consider when we go to the polls during the midterm election two years from now.
    We must not allow the opposition to claim intransingece on our part when they simply refuse to negotiate. If nothing happens within the next week or two the President should make his position and willingness to compromise clear to the American people and should call Speaker Boehner to do the same IN PUBLIC.

    • Yes The Goal Is To Move This Country FORWARD!!!

      • You call the Big Government direction, debt, & unemployment as moving FORWARD? WOW ! ! !

    • Pi_Boson

      The sequestration may not be all bad. It has tax reform consequences that puts addition burden on the top 5% earners. The middle-class will get their tax breaks as everyone agrees and the President has his pen ready.

    • sigrid28

      Why this diffuse messaging from the administration now that President Obama has won re-election? I sense the same urgency that you do. I suppose it is possible (though highly unlikely) that the White House has lost control of the public spin. This vague talk of replacing cabinet members is just for public consumption, in my view. Behind the curtain, these decisions have probably been baked in for some time, if the administration is as expert as I think it is.

      What is clear, is that the administration has decided to let the GOP spin itself out, reacting to the election (demanding recounts, slowing down counting in some states, blaming, interpreting), reacting to the Libya question (hearings, repetition of talking points ad nauseam, a growing wariness about what the public still does not know), reacting to the Petraeus affair (letting out tidbits one by one to entice the news media to keep on the story to the exclusion of many others), and reacting to the nearness of the “fiscal cliff.” The media is dominated now by GOP reactions.

      I just pray that after getting some deep, cleansing sleep, President Obama and his administration are focused, behind the scenes, on building a huge fire and putting the Republicans’ feet to it, long before we get anywhere near the cliff. And as you say, the sooner they do it, and the more publicly they do this, the better.

      • I agree, and definitely agree with your comment about the media frenzy on the Petraeus affair. I cannot believe how much time and money is being spent micro-analyzing a human failing. I am so turned off by that issue that whenever that soap opera comes up I immediately change channels or go for one of my therapeutic walks!
        It would not surprise me if both parties are already focusing on the midterm election, and towards that end they are ready to stand their ground on issues of critical importance to their respective constituencies. The President’s opinion on the issue of taxes for the wealthy is, as you know, shared by the overwhelming majority of Democrats and many Independents. While raising their tax rates by a modest amount will not have a significant impact on our budget deficit reduction efforts, it will be a step in the right direction. Needless to say, we also need to reduce spending, but we must do it in a way that does not have a negative impact on the economic recovery that is by now apparent in most sectors of our economy and in most states. Obviously, we also have to make sure that those spending reductions do not contribute to increases in unemployment.

        I expect a lot more flexibility now than before the election. In part because President Obama was re-elected by a comfortable margin and obstructionism will now be perceived by what it is, but also because I suspect most Republicans realize that allowing the Tea Party to dominate their agenda may doom the GOP to irrelevance. After some initial posturing, I expect a compromise on both the issue of taxation for the wealthy and prudent spending reductions. What I do not expect is repealing Obamacare, restoring the $716B in MEDICARE savings, and restoring the DoD programs that have been eliminated as Mitt Romney promised to do.

        There are many reasons for the GOP defeat on 11/6, ranging from the nomination of an unlikable and arrogant flip flopper, to a political platform so extreme that even moderate Republicans and Independents had a hard time accepting. That does not mean, however, that there are no voices of reason within the GOP and that all their policy proposals are wrong. In order to succeed, we must demonstrate respect for each others views and must learn to work together. After all, we are all Americans, with shared values that more often than not are far stronger than the ideological leanings that separate us. Let’s put electioneering behind us and focus on the future. Like Fern said, we must move FORWARD.

        • sigrid28

          Awright, awright, awright! Which brings me to another topic that has been discussed on the National Memo comment thread: Governor Chris Christie and his enthusiasm for working with President Obama on improving the outcome for victims of Hurricane Sandy. I was also encouraged to see former governor Jon Huntsman, on the Sunday morning talk shows. I don’t know how you-all in Florida feel about Jeb Bush, but he doesn’t creep me out the way Rick Scott does or Allen West.

          Many in the right wing media have gone off the skids, but I think David Frum’s e-book “Why Romney Lost” is a good corrective. I will listen to Ari Fleischer, Michael Steele, Steven Schmidt, and David Brooks–if I have to. The GOP should allow this smart, savvy, non-Fox News media to give moderate conservatives a public airing. But will it? I’m not so sure.

          As for putting electioneering behind us, I’m not as hopeful as you are about the safety of doing so. With some Americans, even the smartest and most reasonable Republican candidates, think tanks, and theorists have been tainted for good by their decision to be collaborators during this election and their cowardly refusal to publicly disavow the many lies and slanders that characterized the Republican Party and came out of the mouths of its standard bearers like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Some of us will never forgive or forget the destructive things mainstream Republicans said and proposed during the last election–promoting governmental actions that would have disastrous effects on the lives of many Americans. Let’s say they didn’t really MEAN to implement these harmful programs. Then, for me, the GOP’s disrespectful embrace of lying is the ultimate deal breaker, I’m afraid.

          • Many Floridians, including myself, have a very favorable opinion of former Gov. Jeb Bush. He is the opposite to W. He is intelligent, articulate, and while his conservative credentials are never in doubt, he does not hesitate to demonstrate compassion and lend a hand to those in need.

            It remains to be seen whether or not consrvative Republicans rise to the occasion and reach out to the President to find a compromise to avoid the pitfalls of the things that are scheduled to happen on 1/1/13, and then focus on what is best for America. In spite of what I have seen in recent years, I remain hopeful that enough of them will find the courage to face the ire of the Tea Party and do what most Americans expect them to do.

          • What about the Presidents lies in the 2008 election. Any bill that comes up for his signiture will be put on the internet for 72 hours before he signed it into law. I will close Guantalamo in 1 year after the election. I will not apoint lobyist to my staff. I will not take money from any P A C S. I will cut the deficit in half in 4 years. T

    • Spending cuts will lead this country into another recession??? The mess we are in is “because” of debt from spending Trillions we do NOT have, burdening our children and nation’s security. How often do you intend to raise the debt ceiling and not having a budget?

    • 1bythebrooks2

      Welcome back, Dominick. Hope your surgery went well! You’re a refreshing clear voice!

  • doggymom1

    Fine man for state; but Scott Brow n would likely win his Senate seat. WRONG!

  • doggymom1

    Best choice! Brilliant mind!

  • doggymom1



  • Bill Clinton!!!

    • truther4u

      For What? CIA Chief?

  • jrsposter

    Why put a Senate seat in danger? Kerry should stay in the Senate and Obama should find one of the many foreign policy experts who are not now in office to pick up the slot at State.

  • nobsartist

    First, it will not hurt that the named leave. Clinton has been a valuable asset but the rest have been fairly marginal.

  • nobsartist

    All seem to be very capable but I think it is time for new people for these positions instead of “political hacks”. I would prefer to see more people like Elizabeth Warren come out of the private sector with no “skeletons” to influence decisions.

    It is time to start doing things that are best for America and put political aspirations second. The only “bi-partisanship” I am in favor of is what does the most for America.
    I dont have anymore interest in what is best for either party as it is evident that neither party has moved us forward in a satisfactory manner.

    If anything, the last election showed us all that we do not want to go down one path yet we are not satisfied with our options with the other path.

    • truther4u

      Change Parties? Not necessarily! He is an experienced, and a bright guy. Didn’t the Tea Party through him under the Bus? In many ways; and, at his Age, he is above Politics. This Independent would find him acceptable.

  • Mimi2kool

    I agree John Kerry could be a good Secretary of State.

  • truther4u

    Gees. Please take Janet Neo P, off the Table. Soon we will find a spot for old, Sheriff, Joe. Please – – get real! She hasn’t earned a spot. As a, “herd,” rider; she is not smart, or strong enough, to assume the Role.

  • I think it is great that Eric Holder is leaving. We need an Atty. Gen. with balls.

  • Absolutely not Erskine Bowles for Treasury! Bowles is Exhibit A of the problem of false centrism on economic policy. If neither Paul Krugman nor Joseph Stiglitz is willing to take the job then it should go to someone that both of them approve of. Timothy Geithner has been a disaster for ordinary people. He saved the banksters while letting millions of us drown in a sea of foreclosure and usurious bank debt. We need someone who will start viewing the economy from the bottom up, rather than from the top down.


      I couldn’t agree more. The Simpson-Bowles proposal (only from Simpson and Bowles NOT from the Commission) was disgusting — surrendering on entitlements while never suggesting something as simple as a Financial Transfer Tax (a ONE TENTH of one percent tax on all financial transactions would raise a lot of money and reduce speculation in the financial sector — which has grown like a cancer on the REAL economy for decades).

      It is essential that the people who put Obama in office — the people who have endured being “last” in line for the Geithner Treasury’s largess (as opposed to Wall Street) — get up and yell and scream that Geithner should be replaced by someone like Stiglitz — or a knowledgeable member of Congress who will put forward a populist agenda.

      Obama won because those folks supported him DESPITE Geithner — they deserve to be rewarded and must DEMAND no less.

  • Pi_Boson

    Lugar, Lew, and Flournoy are great candidates that this progressive supports. These individuals would help enable the President’s agenda.

  • deadisdead

    NO BOWLES-pseudo-centrist with a chain saw. Steigliz now!

  • If John Kerry becomes Secretary of State then:

    Our nation would be represented internationally by a man who as Senator voted:
    – for U.S. aggression against Iraq, 2002
    – for and against invasion of Kuwait, 1991
    – to confirm Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court, 1986
    Scott Brown would very likely return to the Senate.

    Looks like another “no brainer”!

  • Jack Reed for Defense is a good idea. We need Kerry not to leave the Senate. But Lugar?! No. We don’t need to get that bipartisan.

  • My first suggestion..would be, Bill Clinton, I can remember when he went over to North Korea and brought those two women back…his communication skills with the rest of the world and here are extraordinarly good…but, if not I do believe that, John Kerry, would do very world because of his connections to the different part of the world when he was in a war…he is a very good communicator, also…and knows how to use his words well…so, again…I will be praying that Obama…will make the right choice…

  • howa4x

    If Obama is smart he will not take a senator that is serving since that might lessen their number. Luger would be a coup for him since it smacks the Tea party across their collective faces. Women at Justice and defense would pay back the overwelming support they gave him. Treasury should be filled by Lew since he knows all the issues

  • quasm

    Just about any person of integrity who will prosecute the law rather than pursue a political agenda should replace Attorney General Eric Holder.

  • toyan

    Secretary of State – I’d go with Lugar. A Republican yes, but not a nutcase like most Republicans. Kerry would be terrific but that means giving up a Senate seat for the Democrats.

    Defense – Do not know much about Ms. Flournoy but like her Bio. Plus. I believe there should be more women in the Cabinet, especially someone who seems to be so bright.

    Treasury – Good to know that Geither is on the way out. A huge mistake on Obama’s part to have had this guy in that position (or any position for that matter). Mr. Lew seems highly qualified and sharp. I believe he would be an excellent choice.

    Attorney General – Frankly, I was not enamored with Holder. Certainly not his decision alone not to be more aggressive against so much shenanigan on Wall Street, but has not prosecuted even one BANKER after all the obvious fraud etc.

    Janet Napolitano would be a good choice.

  • Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be inaguraded in January not Barack Obama!

  • wyllys

    Agree that the internal issues are paramount at the moment. However, as the world becomes even smaller the US needs to consider its relationship with ALL of the other countries. Sec of State therefore is crucial to the future.

    Tempted to say anybody but John Kerry. He is not smart enough nor tough enough and there are other parts of the world that are going to need more attention than his “expertise” areas. Would go for Lugar or Donilon, but would want to consider Huntsman as he reportedly did a great job in China.

  • they might not leave that Obama won but you never know what these people will do

  • browninghipower

    Chief financial adviser – PAUL KRUGMAN; HHS – HOWARD DEAN; Sec of Labor -ROBERT REICH; Treasury – ANYONE BUT ERSKINE BOWLES; State – MS RICE; Defense – The Lady Mentioned; Just don’t throw the Liberals under the bus again, Barry. We brought you here once again and we won’t be quiet this time. Fuck Wall Street criminals. We want a strong AG who will not persecute pot users while turning a blind eye to white collar thugs. Enough with the double standard already. And do not take Kerry out of the Senate to make an opening for that douche bag Brown to run again, okay? Show some smarts here. Jeezus, I would have thought that you would have learned your lesson by now.

  • I would like to see John Kerry get the State Department position. We do NOT need renewed fighting now, over a Susan Rice confirmation battle. Besides, I have my own questions about her performance regarding Ben Gazi.

    I also think that putting Mitt Romney in charge of overseeing Obama Care would literally be putting him in his place!

  • bcarreiro

    hillary and leon are to intelligent to let go……………stay posted amigos!!!

  • Sand_Cat

    Sorry, but I think none of the cabinet should come from among Democratic seantors. They just won an election, and are already thinking about how to hand more power to the opposition.

  • h2fl

    Rule # 1: Stop raiding governors for cabinet posts. N. left for DC and left Arizonans with its colorful (?) governor. The governors are needed where they are. Kerry or Lugar OK. Sec of Treasury should be Krugman of the Times. We need a strong Keynse-ian in the post. Flournoy good for SECDEF. Ditto what Vila said about negotiations.

  • I believe that President Obama will invite Romney to a cabinet position but NOT in foreign relations.

  • Colin Powell

  • bcarreiro

    sec of defense-john kerry sec of state – jack reed atty gen/us treasury- davol patrick

  • ko610fi

    Senator John Kerry should replace Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in the second Obama’s term should Clinton decide to voluntarily step down. Senator Kerry will be as great a Secretary of State as Clinton, probabably if not greater!

  • Robert Reich, Paul Krugman, Michael Moore, and ANYONE with a brain cell and Vision re: what this Country Needs and Doesn’t need to get back on track.

  • I wouldn’t recommend Erskine Bowles for dogcatcher. He’s too much center-right for my tastes. A solid pick for Secretary of State would be Colin Powell, although it’s not clear that he’d want the job. This would mollify the responsible members of the Republican Party and would allow Powell to work unfettered, which he wasn’t able to do under Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. My choice for the DOD would be John Kerry, although Bob Kerrey would also be a fine choice.

    Holder certainly needs to go, and so does Geithner. Larry Tribe would make a great AG, and Michael Bloomberg could replace Geithner–but no more Goldman-Sachs guys, please. All this, of course, is wishful thinking. The President is certainly capable of choosing the people he can work with. But, please, Mr. President, no more bargaining with the nutty tea-party element of the GOP.

  • RudyBlue

    Does anyone else think there should be a place for Rachael Maddow?

  • onedonewong

    Janet Rno should be brought back to run Justice. Ceasar Chavez to run HHS, Dongsay quen to run Commerce he has the same job in China as a start

  • Robert Reich would be an amazing choice for Treasury.
    Kind of wish the Biden Clinton switch was do-able between veep & State.

  • colorado4Barack

    Sen Kerry or Jon Huntsman should be sec of state

  • If GW Bush had not shielded the now Governor Scott he would be in jail for masterminding the single greatest Medicare Fraud event on record when be was President/CEO of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). I agree that Jeb Bush has better credentials and a higher IQ than his brother, but my one reservation is that he intervened in the Terri Schiavo case and tried to keep a vegetable with a brain the size of an orange on life support. So I am not convinced that Jeb’s synapses are all firing in a straight line.

  • Jim Lou

    Lugar is a great choice for State. he has the qualifications.

    Obama can show that he wiling to work with anybody. Look at Huntsman. He was Republican governor who was ambassador to China until deciding to run for President in GOP primaries. Of course he lost since he was branded a traitor for doing so.

  • Jim Lou

    Janet Napolitano is a failure at Homeland Security. What makes her able to handle the job as AG?

  • Jim Lou

    Michele Flourney would be excellent choice. She knows the Pentagon and has vast experience with many aspect of the department.

  • hfassihi

    John Kerry ‘s position in the senate and in the foreign relations committee is important, but as Secretary of State is even more important. Mr Kerry knows inside and out of the American foreign policy. Because of his past experiences he is acceptable by most of the world. As an Iranian – American I think Mr. Kerry’s involvement in reestablishing relations between US and Iran can defenately be successful and no question about it.Mr Kerry’s stand on war in Vietnam gives him big plus. Normalizing relations with Iran can solve many economic and political problems of the world,and Mr. Kerry can succeed in accomplishing it. As a Iranian – American citizen residing in Massachusetts I am more than willing to contribute to peace efforts by all means.