I suppose that, given how far right the GOP has gone, you could fill up the entire Obama Cabinet with Republican refugees (or even not-so-refugees). And in fact, we’ve seen the proposals already: Hagel for Sec State, keep Gates at Defense, keep Paulsen at Treasury, Colin Powell for Education.
Which party won this election, anyway?
That said, aside from Gates at Defense, which, as Spencer Ackerman has mentioned (h/t Hilzoy), makes sense both for politics and policy, the others don’t: there are lots of very talented people who can fill the ranks in lots of places in an Obama Administration.
But I’d still like to make a push for my favorite idea: William Weld for Attorney General.
The rot inside the Justice Department is pretty overwhelming at this stage, and the cause is a toxic combination of incompetence and politicization. Weld solves both.
I think it would represent a strong symbol and reality for an Obama Administration to try to start a tradition of the AG coming from a different party than the President. Yes, Weld is very centrist, and yes, he endorsed Obama. Of course: I wouldn’t want it any other way. (Bipartisanship is not masochism.). But since the Bush Administration has eroded the public faith in a professional DOJ, then it would help restore confidence if a Republican was at the top.
I don’t think you’d lose anything on policy. We would expect that an Obama DOJ will stand for things like civil rights and constitutionalism, and Weld would follow these policies (now disfavored in the GOP). His major breaks with the Republicans have been based on DOJ type issues. But reality-based Republicans and independents could have some confidence that he would not countenance the use of prosecution for political purposes.
Second, Weld knows the DOJ. He was Reagan’s Assistant AG for criminal law, and the former US Attorney in Boston. He knows what a professional DOJ looks like, and he knows how to find the buried rot there (hint: find any graduate of Regent Law School). He was particularly good while US Attorney in Boston in the prosecution of white collar crime in financial institutions.
No, I haven’t seen anyone mention him. But I think he’s worth considering seriously.