It is well known that Obama is a fan of Doris Kearn Goodwin's book about the Loincoln administration, Team of Rivals . To that end Obama has promised more than once that he will include a Republican to be in his cabinet.
Without debating the merits of this by itself, a worthy topic on it's own, I wanted to think about who might actually be worthwhile caniddates. A caveat first of all, none of these folks discussed are necessarily who I think would be the ideal choice, just thoughts about who COULD be such a choice.
Also, I certainly encourage folks to add to the list, as I am very confident in my inability to think very complexly about this like the true political junkies. I may update with information with appropriate hat tips, because I am, compared to many here, a single A minor leaguer on in-depth politics.
My short list....
Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense - The current Secretary of Defense is well-regarded amongst Democrats and there can be no denying that the War in Iraq has improved under his rein. But really, the guy followed Rumsfeld, so saying he improved on the previous SoD is faint praise. Still there is something to be said about keeping a bit of continuity in place as we try to disentangle ourselves for them war.
It would be vitally important that Gates realize that exit is the ultimate goal and not get caught up in the concept of "winning" at all cost. Also, I am not sure keeping on Gates is what Obama really is thinking when he says he wants to bring on a Republican. Gates is not a politician, and I get the impression Obama means a Republican politico. Personally I would not mind Gates staying on for a limited time and certainy if he can be in lock-step with Obama's plans for Iraq he should stay on as long as Obama is comfortable with it.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Secretary of Energy - FIrst of all, if Arnold was pegged it would put a Democrat into the Governor's office in CA, John Garamendi, current CA Lt. Governor. Just Monday, the Governator signed an Executive Order that greatly puts California out front in terms of Renewable energy development, setting goals that are much more aggresive than an other state. He also placed California at the forefront in reducing GHG levels, is a strong beleiver in global warming, he is an advocate of high speed rail, doesn't care for off-shore drilling, supports higher CAFE standards, and has been critical of the current administration on combatting global warming.
However, I doubt he would accept any role. The State governement is pretty much bankrupt and I cannot see him leaving in the middle of it. He has piss poor solution with respect to it, but I do think he won;t walk away from it. His term is up in 2010, so he might see a cabinet position as a stepping stone, or maybe ahinderence if were to want to run for Senate.
Olympia Snowe, Commerce Secretary - Snowe, Senator out of Maine, is a liberal Republican and quite a thorn in the conservative's side. She voted to acquit Clinton during the ridilulous Impeachment trials. She is extremely well-regarded for her intelligence, her pragmatism, and her convictions. She opposed NAFTA nad CAFTA. She is pro-choice. She is pro-environment. She is a hawk. My guess, though is the Sec'y of Commerce is too low profile to get her interested. Something else, maybe?
Chuck Hagel, (Unknown) - I am going to be perfectly frank here, I have no idea where I would put Hagel in an Obama Administration. He clearly was a supporter of Obama's Iraq strategy, has criticized the Bush administration frequently. But aside from that I know little about his other strengths or weaknesses. Maybe commenters can help me out here.
John McCain, Veteran's Affairs - I know! I know! I am just spitballing here, not advocating anything. This would clearly be a move to highlight with sparklers and flashing neon lights that Obama is a "Uniter" and belives strongly in "bi-partisanship". And if McCain had run a respectable campaign and also didn't seem to be "losing his bearings" he would get more consideration. As it stands...NO WAY.
William Cohen, Secretary of Defense (?) - Well, he was agreeable SoD under Clinton so he already has a bipartisan history. But anothe Clinton-ite? A say no.
Dick Lugar, Secretary of State - My understanding is that he has already said he does not want a position in the Obama administration added to the fact that this position appears to already be Hillary's. I would pretty much not be happy with a Republican getting such an important position.
Others from comments...
Christine Todd Whitman, EPA - hat tip to FrankCornish. Previous head of EPA, fairly centrist Republican, but I don't know her current position on global warming and whaty needs to be done about it.
Jim Leach, Paul O'Neill, Tommy Thompson, Arlen Specter, Gordon Smith, Lincoln Chaffee, Sheila Blair, Colin Powell (how did I miss this one?)
Hat tip to all the great commenters.
OK, I am sure I missed some more obvious folks. I am sure there are some more creative thoughts out there as well.
So what say you?