Every week on Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week's question:Do You Like Trump's Cabinet Picks?
Don Surber: My thoughts are all his Cabinet picks make it because he works well with others. Serious.What are his goals?
1. Protect the nation 2. Fix the economy 3. Reduce government. 4. Drain the swamp.
To do this, he hires good people and lets them do their thing. They fail, they get fired.
Hence generals take over security and defense, business executives take over economic positions, and politicians come in to reduce government. Which leaves draining the swamp -- welcome Jeff Sessions as AG.
Trump will run his own foreign policy. It's the one area Congress has little say. His Secretary of State needs to be a competent administrator to reduce and drain Foggy Bottom. Romney?
Puma By Design: I am concerned about President-elect, Donald Trump’s pick, Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. While DeVos, who is pro-school choice, pro-charter schools and school vouchers, I am hoping that she will not revert to pro common core status.
Okay, although DeVos, never publicly stated her support for Common Core, Jeb Bush’s approval and the fact that the DeVos’ are donors to Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) has many concerned and rightfully so.
Hopefully, the confirmation hearings will give us insight as to what DeVos has in store as Secretary of the Department of Education.
Missouri Education Watchdog:
….If she doesn’t see major problems with ESSA, FERPA regulations which are meaningless and the increased data tracking of students from birth/Pre-K through their careers, then your concerns about Ms. Devos as Education Secretary (her lack of educational experience, NGO connections) are probably well-founded. It will also be incumbent upon those in the confirmation hearings to question her on exactly what she has done to raise student achievement….
Pursuant to a short Q&A on her website, DeVos admits supporting pro-Common Core but insists that she is not a supporter of Common Core.
Have organizations that I have been a part of supported Common Core? Of course. But that’s not my position. Sometimes it’s not just students who need to do their homework. However, along the way, it got turned into a federalized boondoggle….
For years, condescending pro-Common Core bureaucrats such as Jeb Bush and his cronies have pushed back and assaulted the integrity of those who opposed data mining, Common Core standards, etc.
Now I might be overthinking this but Bush is a bitter loser on two fronts, Common Core and the 2016 GOP presidential primary who suddenly finds himself with a friend in the Department of Education. Will he push DeVos to spearhead the Common Core agenda once in place?
Doing so would be a slap in the face to Donald Trump and to the stop Common Core movement. See, American Principle’s Project article entitled,“PRESS RELEASE: Will Betsy DeVos Be Jeb’s Revenge?”
On the plus side, American Federation of Teachers President, Randi Weingarten, is besides herself accusing Trump of selecting...
“the most ideological, anti-public education nominee put forward since President Carter created a Cabinet-level Department of Education. In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America…Installing her in the Department of Education is the opposite of Trump’s promise to drain the swamp.”
Weingarten, a swamp critter herself has been in the swamp so long that she no longer of recognizes it as such.
As a grandmother and great aunt of school aged children, I am praying that DeVos stays true to her word. If not, she and the president-elect will hear from us.
Finally, I have no objection to any other cabinet picks by Trump especially those that Progressives find cringe worthy. As with his predecessors, if a cabinet pick does not work out, he or she will be replaced.
Finally: My Secretary of State choice? Definitely NOT Mitt Romney.
JoshuaPundit : There are a few things I'm keeping in mind as I watch the roll out.
First, that while cabinet members advise and propose things to the president, it will be Donald Trump who decides on policy, and his cabinet members who will be in charge of implementing and administrating it.
Second, while I knew Trump was smart and a quick study, I'm delighted at how quickly he's learned politics. Elaine Chao for instance, as Secretary of Transportation. Aside from having experience and being a reasonably good administrator, she also just happens to be sleeping with the Senate Majority Leader. Can you think of a better way to get Mitch McConnell fully on board?
And then there's his way of picking certain potential nominees to meet with. Trump just met with Heidi Heitkamp. She's a U.S. Senator, from a very Red State (North Dakota), a rare examples of a sane, relatively conservative Democrat and facing a tough re-election battle in 2018. Heitkamp is already being mentioned as the front runner for Secretary of Agriculture.Oh, and did I mention that her state has a Republican governor who gets to appoint who serves out the rest of her term? I can't think of a better way to pick up another senate seat and make allowances for disgusting renegades like John McCain and Lindsay Graham who will join the Dems in demonizing his nominees, can you? Like a boss, I tell you!
Speaking of which, I also am keeping in mind that his nominees, no matter how qualified will be Borked, insulted and slandered. So things could change. My chief concerns were the DHS, the CIA, NSA and Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General anyway and I couldn't be more pleased. Mike Pompeo, General Mattis, General Flynn and General Kelly all have some things in common. They're all illegal migration hawks, all old school strong defense proponents, all ex-military, all scary smart. Pompeo is an expert on cyber security among other things, the ex-generals are all accomplished in organizing a command and carrying out difficult missions, and none of them suffer fools gladly. And as an added bonus all four men have a jaundiced view of Islamism and a knowledge of how deeply it has penetrated America during the Obama years.
All of them will be confirmed, too. I'm hoping some Lefturd actually has the stones to insult Mad Dog Mattis or General Flynn to their faces and question their competence. That'll be one viral video, believe me. Mattis in particular can be almost poetic in such circumstances.
As for the other picks, we'll see. Jeff Sessions shares the feelings of the above men on Islamism and illegal migration, and will be the Left's worse nightmare if he's confirmed, as I think he will be after some flack. As for Secretary of State, if it's Rex Tillerson, that reflects Trump's affinity for people who make BIG deals, and Tillerson, who knows foreign leaders all over the world might be a decent pick. Especially with John Bolton as under secretary to drain the swamp at state and contribute his expertise in nuclear proliferation. A surprise pick, and one I think would be a really good one would be former Navy Secretary and Assistant Secretary of Defense Jim Webb, but perhaps Trump has something else in mind for him.
The Glittering Eye :Despite all the wailing, gnashing of teeth, and rending of garments in the media, his nominations aren't bad and they're consistent with the priorities he laid out during his campaign.
I'm surprised that there hasn't been more interest in his nominee as Secretary of Commerce since Commerce will have a lot of influence over the next four years.
For Secretary of State I'd prefer John Huntsman but given the premium Mr. Trump places on personal loyalty I think he's unlikely.
The Razor : Overall I’m pleased. Mad Dog Mattis is a definite plus, and putting critics in charge of agencies is quite smart, even though it leads to parodies like SNL’s Walter White from Breaking Bad as head of the DEA. Agencies should be led by people who criticize their mission, if only to overturn the group think that has infected them and make them fear for their jobs. They should question their missions. They should ask whether it’s possible for them to do more with less. Over the past few generations we’ve built bureaucracies out of these agencies whose sole purposes seem to be to expand and protect their little kingdoms. If Scott Pruitt comes in and slims the EPA down, so much the better.
My only concern is with his apparent Sec of State pick. I don’t get what Rex Tillerson has to offer as the former CEO of ExxonMobil. I would much rather have seen the post given to John Bolton, who apparently will be the undersecretary. He apparently has close ties to Putin, and even though I’m suspicious of Russia mainly because it views us as its enemy, I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing.
I don’t want a war with Russia, and the way the Democrats and their media allies are getting all McCarthyite towards Russia now is really a laugh. Weren’t these the same guys who criticized Bush for being too hard on Russia and offering their stupid “reset” button? Russia isn’t ISIS. It has nukes, a world-class albeit poorly equipped navy, and a well-trained elite class of soldiers. If they want to hurt us badly they can, so we have to approach them carefully. In the long run I view them as our allies but Russia “has issues” it needs to work out before we can trust it. Until then, however I don’t think it hurts to have people in power who aren’t reactionary against the power.
But in the end he can’t be any worse than Kerry, Clinton and Albright – the Unholy Trinity of American Foreign Policy. Seriously, if our diplomacy can survive their blatant mismanagement and disregard for our nation’s best interest it can survive Tillerson.
Stately McDaniel Manor :Donald Trump’s cabinet picks have, thus far, been outstanding. Of course, Democrats will oppose them to whatever degree they believe they can without causing themselves lasting damage, and some Democrats, incapable of recognizing reality outside progressive narrative, will oppose them with the ferocity of the fanatic.
General Mattis, particularly, is an excellent choice for Defense Chief. It has been fascinating to watch progressives and the media--I know; I repeat myself--scream Trump’s choices are radicals that must be denied. So far leftward has American been pulled in the last eight years, men and women who seek to obey the law, uphold and defend the Constitution, and restore the understanding government serves the people, are surely seen as radicals by our self-imagined elite rulers.
I have been particularly enjoying the horror with which bureaucrats at the EPA, and presumably, every other federal bureau, view Mr. Trump’s presidency. It must be very hard indeed to suddenly have to obey the law, and to avoid brutalizing Americans simply because you can. Giving up racist treatment of flyover country Americans, possibly even being fired or prosecuted for wantonly breaking the law? Terrifying. It’s like Leslie Neilson’s Det. Sgt. Lt. Frank Drebin in the Police Squad movies saying: “The next time I shoot somebody, I could be arrested.”
Much ink has been spilled over the next Secretary of State, even though John Kerry has conclusively proved the position may, for many years, be completely inconsequential. Mitt Romney? I think not. John Bolton would be, in many respects, a good candidate. Not only is he experienced, he’s an American, and has demonstrated over many years his willingness to look out for America’s interests. That would be very rate indeed in the Sec. State job. It might even work to America’s advantage!
Can these “radical candidates be confirmed?” For some of them, that will depend on the backbones of the Republican leadership. In other words, it’s likely that people that should be confirmed, and could be confirmed if the Republicans used the powers the Democrats used so well against them for so many years, will not be. I fully expect the Republicans to, once again, and still, prove they richly deserve the title: “the stupid party.”
It’s time for reasonably skepticism. Donald Trump’s principles are still evolving, but his choices thus far are encouraging. What is not encouraging is feckless Republicans, who whined that if they only had control of both houses of Congress and the presidency, they could do great, conservative things, already backing away from conservative goals. Why, they might not repeal Obamacare at all, and if they sort of do, it might take years from them to sort of repeal it, or not, and sort of take their time to replace it with something, or not.
One can only hope that strong, capable, constitutionally grounded candidates for cabinet and other posts don’t find themselves permanently at sea while weak Republicans whine they can’t accomplish anything absent total control of Congress and the courts. It’s time for us all to hold these weakling’s feet to the fire, and if they wimp out, to see it electorally consumes them.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason:The cabinet members Trump has picked so far show he has been deliberative for the most part and has assembled a good transition team when it comes to finding talent for his cabinet positions. He has made some good selections. Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General is a great choice, as are Retired General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense, Retired General John F. Kelley for Homeland Security, Georgia Rep. Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services, and National Security Advisor retired General Michael Flynn, along with Kansas Rep. Michael Pompeo as head of the CIA. It seems our military and national intelligence agencies will be in good hands.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is an outstanding choice for head of the Environmental Protection Agency, since he has personally dealt with the damage the out of control agency has inflicted on states with job and business crushing regulations and bureaucratic nightmares far outside of its constitutional powers. The fact that the environmentalists are aghast at his selection proves he is the right choice.
Two of the cabinet positions that concern me are Dr. Ben Carson for Secretary of HUD and Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. These departments in particular, along with the EPA, are filled with progressive ideologues and need to be stripped of any and all control over the states, counties and municipalities.
Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of HUD seems an odd selection. While HUD might have started out as a beneficial program, its tentacles have become far reaching and the agency is obsessed with economic, social and environmental justice. The social engineering aspects of HUD will destroy the American way of life if permitted to continue as it has over the last decade or so. Dr. Carson has no experience in the housing and financial markets and will need to learn quickly. Hopefully he will recognize the progressive ideology within the agency and seek to curtail the destructive objectives of the department.
Betsy DeVos as Secretary of the Department of Education is also a questionable choice. Trump promised to return education to local and state control. This alone is one reason many conservatives voted for him. DeVos is a big proponent of school choice; giving public monies (taxes) to private schools as a way for parents to opt out of public education. Parents should not be fooled into believing school choice and vouchers as the way to improve the education of our children. Private or charter schools include the International Baccalaureate Programme, which has programs for primary, middle and high school. Public money is being funneled to the United Nations through UNESCO and the program promotes diversity, cultural relativity, and global citizenship. Another private entity, the Gulen Schools, promotes Islamic studies and has middle and high school programs.
If the Department of Education continues to exist, which most conservatives believe it should not, the goal should be to return the decision making of curriculum and testing to the states or local school boards. We are spending so much money on public education and that money should stay within and improve the public school system. The more money being diverted to private corporations means the less money we have to spend improving our public schools. We should settle for nothing less than the elimination of the Common Core State Standards.
Trumps choices for Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, formerly of Goldman Sachs, and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao are of some concern and we will need to see how they respond during their appointment hearings.
As for Secretary of State, the latest name being bandied about is Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. This concerns me as I am not convinced international business experience is compatible with making or participating in national security decisions and agreements. There are more qualified people Trump could choose as his Secretary of State.
I look forward to the additional appointments and the appointment hearings early next year.
Well, there it is!
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