Romney as Secretary of State?
Some folks have eMailed me and messaged me about when the Podcast is coming back. First off, yes, the podcast will be coming back. Just not yet. On a very personal note, we have had a couple of family issues crop up and the upshot of those issues is that I simply don’t have a place or time to sit down and record right now. One way or the other those issues will resolve themselves – hopefully soon – and things should (okay, could) be back to normal for me. My family will always be first my dear friends. Believe me, I miss it too. Thanks for your patience.
In the meanwhile, I was doing some cleaning the other night and came across the Holy Grail of Afternoons Live with Dave & John. Basically I found all of the 2012 and 2013 files. Including the Top 5’s that we had such a blast doing. So… if you check the download link or the Podcast feed today, or just click on the audio file below, you’ll get a little treat!
From August 17th, 2013, Dave & John’s Top 5 Funereal Arrangements
I seriously doubt that 71% of Americans even know that there is such a thing as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Given that, it’s highly doubtful that nearly three quarters of Americans even care if Trump wants to dump the agreement, let alone “oppose him”.
Fifty-three years ago in Dallas, President John Kennedy was killed. By Lee Harvey Oswald.* When I look at the Presidents who have served during my lifetime and looking for the one who most represents my views as I hold them today, Kennedy would be my #1. Reagan #2.
I get it, Kennedy was not a perfect person. But here’s the thing, neither am I. Or you, for that matter. But what I see in him is someone who understood the separation of his personal life from his Presidential life. Nobody can do that all the time, I get it, but Kennedy wasn’t going to let his religion get in the way of the Constitutional duties.
In talking with my Dad a few weeks ago, I was a little surprised that Dad considered Kennedy “too liberal on social issues.” All people are products of their times, and my Dad is no exception. Growing up in the South during Jim Crow and Segregation, it would not seem abnormal to him to hold the views that he held in 1960. Anymore than myself holding the views on those issues that I hold because of my generations experiences.
A few years back on MLK Day I mentioned that if I could have traveled through time, I would go back to August 28, 1963. But not to the National Mall where King was speaking. I would go to the White House and see Kennedy’s reaction to the speech, and then I would go to what would become my home in just 23 days, and talk to my parents about how important what they were seeing would be.
For me, Kennedy represents an ideal in a President. One who has served, one who understands the Constitution and his role in it. One who holds minority views, but also knows that we are a Republic and that protects not just minority positions but majoritarian rights as well. Would I have agreed with him on everything? Of course not. But I can tell you this – if the Democratic Party stood for the things John Kennedy stood for, I would be a Democrat today.
I said this eight years ago, and I will say it again today. By the by, the proof is in what just happened in the election. Secretary of State is a “non-job.” It’s where Presidents, particularly Presidents who have political opponents in their own Party, put those opponents to look like they are being Statesmenesque while what they are actually doing is providing elevation, approbation and castration all in one appointment.
If anything important in a good way happens on the the foreign affairs front, the President will go and take the credit. If anything bad happens (Benghazi?) the Secretary of State gets to go in front of Congress and explain with great hand gestures and an exasperated voice that at this point, what difference it would make?
Now, in the broader scheme of things, imagine a world where Hillary Clinton is NOT Secretary of State under Obama. Where she is NOT a part of the Administration, but goes back to being a Senator from New York and spends four years being the loyal opposition and behind the scenes she is free to say whatever she wants to whomever she wants to say it. Nobody cares if she sets up an eMail server in her basement because frankly, she has no reason to do that. Whatever happens, happens (and I am not a big believer that history can be changed) but if Hillary Clinton is not a part of it, who do Republicans spend four to eight years investigating? Who does Wikileaks hack?
One could argue that her time as SecState is ultimately what destroyed any chance she had to become President. No SecState, no eMails. No eMails, no Comey. Which… as I have said, is exactly what a President who has a political opponent wants to do. How many times have we talked about the FACT that the White House HAD to know about her eMails server at least two years before it ever became a story? How many of us believe that the original leak of the story came from Valarie Jarrett in the first place? I certainly do.
Other than the Framers generation, can you name a single Cabinet Member who subsequently went on to become President? Since the turn of the 20th Century there have been two. William Howard Taft was Teddy Roosevelt’s Secretary of War and personally selected by Roosevelt to replace him as President. Four years later, in 1912, he turned on Taft and ran a vigorous campaign against him, handing the White House to Woodrow Wilson. Heck, Wilson wouldn’t even let his Cabinet read or hear his speech asking Congress to Declare War on Germany before he spoke to Congress. Believe me, most Presidents don’t value the Cabinet as much as we like to think that they do.
The other was Herbert Hoover, who despite what people say about Jimmy Carter, was probably the most decent man to occupy the White House since the Framers generation. He had served as Commerce Secretary under Harding (probably one of the most corrupt men) and Coolidge (the most quiet) until he was elected in 1928, just in time for the Great Depression. After he left office, he continued to serve in relief roles, bringing food and supplies to Europe after World War II at the personal request of President Truman.
That’s it. The only two members of the Cabinet to go on to become President. Other than those two (and there have only been eight ToTaL), you have to go back to before the Civil War. And if you try to tell me that others since who have served didn’t want to be President, I will laugh at you as I scenario you rosily, alá Alexander Haig.
I keep saying it, and I am surprised at how few politicians understand this: the more senior a Cabinet Post is, the less it is about the abilities and strengths of the person as much as it is about the need for the President to keep his/her friends close and enemies closer.
So when you see Trump courting Mitt Romney for Secretary of State, just understand that it has virtually nothing to do with Romney’s skills as a diplomat or relationships with other countries or respect around the world. It has to do with 2020.
*Don’t bother. People have tried to convince me for nearly 40 years that he didn’t. It hasn’t worked. In fact, my introduction to Talk Radio was listening to KSL in Salt Late City as the host interviewed David Lifton. So I have really given it quite the thorough chance. Oswald acted alone. End of discussion.