“My View” from the Nov. 13, 2012, edition of “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.”
What would a truly progressive cabinet look like? President Obama now has the enviable task of restocking his administration — recharging the top ranks of the decision makers with those who may well determine whether the second term establishes the president as a progressive icon or a status quo second-termer. In that spirit, I thought it might make sense to suggest a few names.
For Treasury: Paul Krugman. There is something to be said for having been right. As far back as the early days of the cataclysm, he has diagnosed the problem properly, both its micro and macro economic implications, and called for precisely the right remedies. And he has called out the Beltway bloviators who mince words, are afraid to take a chance and usually just go along to get along. Paul won a Nobel Prize for a reason. The last thing we need is another Wall Street voice filled with self-serving malarkey about “uncertainty being the reason businesses aren’t investing.”
For Secretary of State: John Kerry. Not just because he looks the part. But because he has the depth of knowledge and capacity to deal with the gnarly problems out there. Let’s face it — the agenda isn’t pretty. Even after we are out of Afghanistan and Iraq, the Mideast is a mess, the Iran situation is a conundrum and China is omnipresent.
For Defense: Colin Powell. He is among the wisest and most thoughtful military leaders out there. Plain and simple. And a CCNY grad to boot.
For the SEC: Dennis Kelleher or Gary Gensler. Dennis has proven, through his advocacy at Better Markets, that he fully understands the structures and enforcement actions that need to be brought. And during his more than 15 years as a partner at Skadden Arps, one of the nation’s largest and finest law firms, he proved he knows the actual nuts and bolts of the lawyering that is used to mask what is going on.
Gensler has been a wonderful voice for reform from his perch at the CFTC [Commodity Futures Trading Commission], proving that where you come from — Goldman, in his case — matters less than how you think.
For Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors: Joe Stiglitz. The other half of the Krugman equation — his Nobel and writings — prove that he, too, is one of the few who’s been right and doesn’t cave to the hand-wringing of the establishment on Wall Street.
For Director of the OMB: Robert Reich. Just read his books, his blog posts, his transcripts on this show. It is clear why we want him! Bring him back.
For Energy: My colleague Jennifer Granholm. Last thing we want is to lose her here at Current, but she would be great. As AG, governor and now as a host, she gets the politics, the substance — and she knows government.
This is just a start — but these types of progressive minds are what we need. A cabinet that understands the import of the victory that last Tuesday represented.
That’s “My View.”