On the White House Staff Resignations & Turnover

So much ballyhoo is being made over all the turnover in the Bush cabinet as of late. I've gotten at least a dozen different e-mails from buddies who are all "what's going on with the cabinet?" As if this is all the signs of panic and as if I'm the pre-eminent authority of the Bush White House. For the record, I have never worked anywhere near Washington...but honestly, it probably has something to do with the Political Science degree (for you Texas Exes, that's Government).

For all of you seeking reassurance here it is: cabinet turnover is a natural part of political life. Working in government is hard, for the President of the United States is harder, and this has been some of the most tumultuous 4 years in recent history. Government service is harder still for Republicans. It is not the natural habitat for a conservative. Unlike liberals who honestly believe that government is supposed to shape and change peoples' lives, conservatives believe we make a difference (and more money) in the private sector. We prefer to work for a living. We serve our government as one might serve a charitable cause, and move on with our normal lives.

The latest on what I have is that out are Colin Powell, John Ashcroft of course, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Agriculture Secretary Ann Venneman, Education Secretary Rod Paige, and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. I don't think Powell is completely out; however, based upon his comments today, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was tapped as a special envoy to the middle east for the "historic negotiations for the Israeli/'Palestinian' peace process". Yes, that sound you heard was that of my eyes rolling. Word is that Dr. Rice will replace Colin Powell as Secretary of State. I would jump for joy. I think she is a star.

Anyway, as for turnover being normal, for example, by May of 1999, then President Bill Clinton had plowed through 5 White House Counsels, 5 Spokespeople, 4 Chiefs of Staff, 3 Secretaries of Defense, and 3 Treasury Secretaries. Here's a full rundown of the Clinton Cabinet scorecard.

Secretary of State: Warren M. Christopher, 1993 and Madeleine Albright, 1996
Secretary of the Treasury: Lloyd Bentsen, 1993; Robert E. Rubin, 1995–1999; and Lawrence H. Summers, 1999
Secretary of Defense: Les Aspin, 1993; William J. Perry, 1994; and William S. Cohen, 1997
Attorney General: Janet Reno, 1993
Secretary of the Interior: Bruce Babbitt, 1993

Secretary of Agriculture: Mike Espy, 1993 and Dan Glickman, 1995
Secretary of Commerce: Ronald H. Brown, 1993; Mickey Kantor, 1996; William M. Daley, 1997; and Norman Y. Mineta, 2000
Secretary of Labor: Robert B. Reich, 1993 and Alexis Herman, 1997
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Donna E. Shalala, 1993
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Henry G. Cisneros, 1993 and Andrew M. Cuomo, 1997
Secretary of Transportation: Federico F. Pena, 1993 and Rodney Slater, 1997
Secretary of Energy : Hazel R. O'Leary, 1993; Frederico F. Pena, 1997; and Bill Richardson, 1998
Secretary of Education: Richard W. Riley, 1993
Secretary of Veterans' Affairs: Jesse Brown, 1993 and Togo D. West, Jr., 1998

And no, I'm not just picking on Clinton, although it is so very very easy. I have also, provided a list President Reagan's staff . I used Reagan because he was the most recent Republican 2 termer.

Secretary of State: Alexander M. Haig, Jr., 1981 and George P. Shultz, 1982
Secretary of the Treasury: Donald T. Regan, 1981; James A. Baker 3rd, 1985; and Nicholas F. Brady, 1988
Secretary of Defense: Caspar W. Weinberger, 1981 and Frank C. Carlucci, 1987
Attorney General: William French Smith, 1981; Edwin Meese 3rd, 1985; and Richard L. Thornburgh, 1988
Secretary of the Interior: James G. Watt, 1981; William P. Clark, 1983; and Donald P. Hodel, 1985
Secretary of Agriculture: John R. Block, 1981 and Richard E. Lyng, 1986
Secretary of Commerce: Malcolm Baldrige, 1981 and C. William Verity, Jr., 1987
Secretary of Labor: Raymond J. Donovan, 1981; William E. Brock, 1985; and Ann Dore McLaughlin, 1987
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Richard S. Schweiker, 1981; Margaret M. Heckler, 1983; and Otis R. Bowen, 1985
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Samuel R. Pierce, Jr., 1981
Secretary of Transportation: Andrew L. Lewis, Jr., 1981; Elizabeth H. Dole, 1983; and James H. Burnley 4th, 1987
Secretary of Energy: James B. Edwards, 1981; Donald P. Hodel, 1983; and John S. Herrington, 1985
Secretary of Education: T. H. Bell, 1981; William J. Bennett, 1985; and Lauro F. Cavazos, 1988

So see? No freaking...this is all no big deal.


Blogger Paul M Lim said...

Such a poignant fact! It's amazing just how many loonies get the chance to speak on a national scale and they go spitting self-thought naivety that the Cabinet turnover in the GWB White House is a "shake-up" or, as you quoted, "panic"... astonishing what people will say just trying to put down the Bush administration... and sadly, anybody who somewhat politically aligns themselves with such idiots, see it as fact too!

3:06 PM  

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