If you look at Bill Clinton’s cabinet you’ll notice that it is a little light on members of Congress. Dan Glickman, a representative from Kansas, became the Secretary of Agriculture after he was defeated in the 1994 midterms. Republican Senator William Cohen of Maine served as Secretary of Defense. Rep. Bill Richardson (now Governor) of New Mexico held a couple of cabinet posts. And Norm Mineta, Les Aspin, and Lloyd Bentsen were all former members of Congress that served briefly for Clinton. But Clinton did not look for well-known names. If he had any particular bias, it was in favor of diversity. He was criticized early on for forming an ‘Affirmative-Action cabinet’ but one of the signature aspects of the Clinton administration (especially in retrospect) was the efficiency of the government. If Barack Obama follows to form, we won’t be familiar with most of his cabinet when they are announced.
But there is also good reason to believe that Obama will pursue a different strategy. It’s not unlikely that he will seek to create a unifying cabinet that includes a few Republicans. On foreign and military affairs, and on the economy, he may seek to reassure the country by picking people that are well-known and well-respected on both sides of the aisle. Most mock lists I see for Obama’s cabinet are of this All-Star variety. The Republicans most likely to be a part of Obama’s cabinet are those that have either tepidly or explictly endorsed his candidacy. Senator Chuck Hagel and former Senator Lincoln Chafee are likely to get tapped, as is Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa. Indiana Senator Richard Lugar would be a major coup, if he agreed to serve.
State: Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), Fmr. Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ), Attorney Greg Craig
Defense: Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Fmr. Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA)
Attorney General: Fmr. Deputy General Eric Holder, Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL), U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Homeland Security: Fmr. Rep. Tim Roemer (D-IN), Fmr. Sen. Gary Hart (D-CO)
National Security Adviser: Ret. Gen. Anthony Zinni, Attorney Greg Craig, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Sarah Sewell
Agriculture: Former Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA), Gov. Chet Culver (D-IA), Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA)
Commerce: Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS),
Education: Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS), Fmr. Sen. Lincoln Chafee (D-RI), Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Energy: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Rep. Tom Allen (D-ME), if he loses his senate campaign
Health & Human Services: Fmr Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT), David Cutler, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
Housing and Urban Development: Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), Fmr. Sen. Carol Mosley-Braun (D-IL), Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY)
Interior: Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ), Fmr. Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), Sierra Club President Lisa Renstrom
Labor: Fmr. Rep. David Bonior (D-MI), Dan Tarullo, Fmr. Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-MO), Cassandra Butts
Transportation: Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), Treasury: Larry Summers, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Austan Goolsbee, Stuart Eizenstat
Veterans Affairs: Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Fmr. Sen. Max Cleland (D-GA), Senate candidates Jim Martin (D-GA) and Bob Tuke (D-TN).
UN Secretary: Susan Rice, Greg Craig, Lee Hamilton
Chief of Staff: Fmr Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), Attorney Greg Craig, Campaign Manager David Plouffe