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The Dream Team
We Aren't Just Electing A President
One of the problems I see with our so-called "representative government" is how many appointed officials hold positions with immense influence over the execution of our federal programs and laws. It seems a candidate for President rarely makes the selections for these positions clearly known before the election. I plan to be transparent in this regard and list my choices to head each of the fifteen current executive departments here. As of now I haven't figured who to best fill one of these positions.
It may seem hypocritical that some of those I want to appoint do have party affiliations, considering this entire campaign is built on the idea of ending partisan politics, but I do view these people as individuals with more heterodox opinions who don't just toe their party lines. I would also prefer to hear voices from a wide-ranging political spectrum within the cabinet to try and make the best informed decisions, as opposed to getting limited perspectives within an echo chamber.
None of those named on this page have yet been contacted by this campaign and may or may not know that it even exists. At this point in time this cabinet is all in my head, as the name Dream Team reflects. Anything I've written on this page is my own impressions and opinions based on publicly available information, and I do not speak for any one of these people. The inclusion of any individual's name on this page should in no way be interpreted as that individual's endorsement for this campaign.
Secretary of Agriculture
It makes sense that an individual who understands the life of a farmer would head the Department of Agriculture. Current Governor of Idaho Brad Little had spent 30 years managing his family's ranching operation in Emmett, Idaho until being appointed Lieutenant Governor of the state in 2009. He also holds a B.S. in Agribusiness from the University of Idaho. It was his work while Lt. Governor on establishing a formal relationship with Spain's Basque Country as well as successful trade missions to Mexico and Brazil that particularly caught my attention. As Governor he has strongly focused on limiting burdensome and outdated regulations. I don't know that I would agree with every one of his deregulation measures but am open to means of simplifying codes and allowing individuals the freedom to make their own way in life.
Secretary of Commerce
The reasoning for selecting Andrew Yang to this position is based mainly on his 2011 founding of the Venture for America. Its focus on creating economic opportunity in local communities through supporting entrepreneurship is the type of bottom-up approach I believe is most effective in bringing prosperity and well-being to as many as possible while also strengthening the economy of the nation as a whole. In his presidential campaign he proposed the idea of "Human Capitalism" where the market would truly work to better the human condition. As head of the commerce department he would certainly be in a position to implement metrics which more accurately reflect the status of the individuals who make up our economy instead of those focused solely on corporate profits currently used by the political elite. I don't see the trend in automation as quite the same problem as he does but do believe he has valuable insights on the issue.
Secretary of Defense
As a combat veteran U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard has made it clear that she understands the human costs of war. I completely agree with her stance on ending U.S. engagements in foreign regime change wars. This should not be confused with an isolationist viewpoint, but is rather a historically informed and practical opinion. We can see what happened in Libya, how our CIA instigated a civil war in Syria, and what's still going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both Obama and Trump ran on promises to bring troops home, but the military-industrial complex won't have it. Getting out of these endless wars would be much easier for a commander-in-chief who has Gabbard as an ally in promoting peace heading the DOD. Besides her first-hand experience in war and currently as Major in the National Guard, she's also a member of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Homeland Security committees, so she definitely understands much of the inner-workings of national security issues.
Secretary of Education
There are so many reasons Jonathan Haidt needs to be a part of this cabinet. The Education Department seems to be the best fit because of his experience within higher education, first as an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, and currently as the Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University Stern School of Business. In reality the Education Department doesn't play much of a role in how or what we teach our children but is mainly tasked with administering federal funds and enforcing laws relating to education like the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Selecting Haidt to this position is really just to get him in the room. As a social psychologist he co-developed Moral Foundations Theory and has been applying his research to understanding political polarization and how we can bridge the divide. He co-founded Heterodox Academy in 2015 for professors which embraces open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in universities. He describes himself as a centrist and would be an invaluable resource in a cabinet with such wide-ranging political ideals.
Secretary of Energy
This selection is simply informed by Michael Shellenberger's understanding of the need to preserve and improve nuclear as a clean energy option to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We do need to take climate change seriously and move away from fossil fuels for energy, and Shellenberger sees the potential in the U.S. as a leading innovator of clean energy technologies. In 2016 he founded the non-profit Environmental Progress which is a research and policy organization whose mission is to lift humans out of poverty and save the natural environment by removing the obstacles to cheap and clean energy. He's recently been under fire for how he's interpreted and presented certain climate science in his recent book on how the alarmism surrounding climate change is counterproductive to reaching our energy goals, but I still agree with the general thesis of the book. Included below is a link to one example of the criticism.
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Dr. Drew Pinsky
This position particularly requires someone the people of the U.S. can trust, and Dr. Drew has already built that trust with millions over decades in various national media, most notably as co-host of radio talk show Loveline. He's an internist having earned his M.D. from the University of Southern California School of Medicine in 1984. As a specialist in addiction medicine and having authored multiple books on drug abuse, I think he would have keen insights on dealing with our ongoing opioid epidemic. His expertise would also be useful in an administration looking to end the war on drugs and help those who need treatment instead of locking them up. He was criticized for some of the statements he made about Covid-19 back in February and March but has since said he was wrong.
Secretary of Homeland Security
Admiral William McRaven
Admiral William McRaven retired from the U.S. Navy in 2014 after 36 years of service and became chancellor of the University of Texas System the following year but has since stepped down from that role. I won't be using this space to list all of his accomplishments and decorations, but you can just look at his Wikipedia entry if you want to know more. This position was one of the last considered, and I only started looking into Adm. McRaven after hearing Bret Weinstein propose him as half of the unity ticket idea. I read a transcript of his MIT 2020 commencement address, in which he explained that real heroes must value truth, integrity, humility, and compassion. It seems that DHS could certainly use a strong leader respected by both the left and the right who does believe in these principles.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
No name immediately came to mind that would be uniquely qualified for this position, so I kept my eyes peeled and eventually came across an article about Smart Growth America. It's a non-profit which partners with developers, other non-profits, and leaders and agencies at all levels of government on development projects with a focus on sustainability and equity. In 2018 Calvin Gladney was named its president and CEO after having been Managing Partner at Mosaic Urban Partners, a real estate development and advisory services firm with a similar approach to urban development projects. He's been working on community revitalization projects across the country as a strategic advisor for over a decade. From what I learned about it him, which was pretty much limited to Smart Growth America's website, he seems like the right fit to head HUD.
Secretary of the Interior
A non-partisan administration could really use someone like Jesse Ventura. Some will probably remember his Reform party affiliation, but he has since been mainly independent with nods at times to both the Libertarian and Green parties. I didn't really have any specific reason to appoint him to this position but didn't have anybody else in mind and just wanted him in the cabinet somehow. I figure his executive experience as Governor of Minnesota would make him qualified in this role.
This position requires an individual who understands and respects the law. Trey Gowday had served as a federal prosecutor in South Carolina for 6 years before serving as its Seventh Circuit Solicitor for the next ten years. During his tenure as a U.S. Representative he was known as one of the most skilled legal experts in the House. I appreciate his commitment to our constitutional rights as demonstrated by his opposition of the 2011 defense authorization bill based on its potential to allow the detainment of U.S. citizens without trial. Many will view him as quite partisan, especially concerning his handling of the Benghazi investigation, but it seems to me that he's ultimately on the side of the law. I've also heard Tulsi say she considers him a good friend, so he must be an alright fellow.
Secretary of Labor
After two presidential runs I figure most people are familiar with the ideology of Senator Sanders. I personally disagree with most of his positions and never felt the Bern myself, but it is clear that Bernie believes strongly in workers' rights. It makes sense that a person who's consistently voting for legislation supporting unions and wage-earners would head the department responsible for enforcing these types of laws. I'm nowhere near as far left as Senator Sanders is on economic issues but would value his perspectives and advocacy for the working class. Maybe I should appoint a libertarian as deputy secretary to balance the department out.
Secretary of State
Too often U.S. foreign policy seems to overlook its options that can lead to enhancing diplomacy and ending war around the world. Selecting Trita Parsi to this position is mainly informed by his work with the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a D.C. based think tank which he co-founded last year and currently serves as Executive Vice President. I am aware that the Quincy institute is partially funded by George Soros and Charles Koch but am not bothered if billionaires choose to spend their money on an organization with a stated mission to promote U.S. diplomacy and pursue international peace. Parsi earned his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies and holds Master's Degrees in International Studies and Economics. His research and writing mostly deals with the intertwined relationships of Israel, Iran, and the U.S. and their broader implications throughout the Middle East as a whole. A commander-in-chief truly committed to ending foreign wars needs the head of the State Department who shares these goals.
Secretary of Transportation
I haven't found anybody who jumps out as well-suited for this position. I've had several people suggest Elon Musk, but I do worry about the optics of having a billionaire in the administration.
Secretary of the Treasury
Government waste is a real issue that may not get enough attention, and I think the department that manages federal finances can play a significant role in bringing government spending under control. Senator Rand Paul is the most consistent critic of wasteful spending in congress and periodically releases his "Waste Reports" which highlight some of the more ridiculous ways our taxpayer money is being spent. Generally speaking I prefer a treasury with tight purse strings but would not be indiscriminate in where cuts are directed. I have agreed with Senator Paul's past proposals to cut DHS and military spending but not so much with cuts to education and HUD. Senator Paul does understand that the national debt is a serious problem that can't be passed on to the next generation.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
It seems appropriate to appoint an individual to this position who has first-hand experience with the V.A. Dan Crenshaw served as a Navy SEAL until retiring in 2016 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander and is now serving as a U.S. House Representative. He recognizes problems with excessive wait times for our veterans and has a genuine concern for the suicide side rates among his fellow service members. He has proposed privatizing and outsourcing evaluation services for those entering the system in order to free up doctor resources. I'm not convinced that's the best idea, but wouldn't rule it out. In keeping with the theme of diverse viewpoints in the cabinet, Representative Crenshaw can also serve as a voice for young conservatives.