16 November 2008

Cabinet Remodeling - Celebs in the (White) House

It is time to add some cachet to the cabinet. It could be that celebrity is the last area of competitive advantage for the US and why not exploit that for the purpose of policy?

The media is desperately trying to sustain interest in politics by turning speculation about cabinet appointments into news. Why not make it real news: Obama could make two appointments for each secretary position - a person responsible for the department and a celebrity who could be its face to the public.

For Secretary of Agriculture, it seems to me that Willie Nelson is the obvious candidate. He is the driving force behind Farm Aid, dresses like a farmer, and is a strong supporter of local (albeit underground) agriculture.

For Interior, Martha Stewart gets the nod. Assuming, that is, anyone in this country still cares about things like throw pillows and pastels and how to recycle greeting cards into quilted holiday vests.

I'd make Scrooge McDuck the Treasury Secretary. Of course he's fictional, but ultimately any celebrity is manufactured. And given that he can be animated he would be easier to control than, say, Willie Nelson. Anyone visiting the website for the commerce department could see him diving in his money bin - letting us all revel in the vicarious thrill of mad wealth even in down times. And given how stingy he was with even Donald and his nephews, Scrooge would be unlikely to just give away $700 billion, which might actually make him more qualified for the position than Hank Paulson.

Secretary of Defense really ought to be Sylvester Stallone. The best part about having him in this role? No odd speeches or rambling press conferences, ala Donald Rumsfeld. Imagine - a speech of only 3 or 4 words from a politician of any kind. But most importantly, we could slash defense spending by 80 or 90% and still have the firepower to take out any and all of America's enemies.

Secretary of Education should be Bill Cosby, not just the most famous comedian in America but perhaps the only comedian in the world with a PhD in education. Plus it is hard to imagine any other appointee feeling so free to rebuke the young Obama when it may be called for.

Secretary of State - Elle McPherson. I know. She's not even American (I almost suggested UN ambassador Angelina Jolie for this reason). But given that this position is about relationships with other countries, why not start with someone who is actually from a foreign country? And why shouldn't at least one appointee simply be gorgeous?

Secretary of Energy - Jim Carey. (Not my idea. My Canadian wife came up with this inspired choice of another Canadian, and my second appointment of a foreigner.) It is hard to think of anyone with more energy than Carey. If only we could somehow harness this.

My choice for Transportation Secretary is Dean Kamen. It is easy to dismiss Kamen's idea for the Segway as a vehicle for local transportation. It certainly did not meet his nearly grandiose expectations. But I remember when they laughed at Steve Jobs' Lisa computer. And it seems to me that energy savings are more likely to come from something like bionic limbs than improving gas mileage by 10%. Every day, millions of 150 lb. Americans climb into 2,500 lb. vehicles for their daily commute. How much less energy would it take if those vehicles were closer to their own weight, like, say, a Segway, a scooter that is probably closer to practical than a pair of legs that run at 60 mph.

Secretary of Commerce, Warren Buffet. One of the richest men in the world. An early supporter of Barack Obama's. Need I say more?

Homeland Security should be John McClane. Okay, another fictional character, but Bruce Willis could play him just like he did in the Die Hard movies. We wouldn't even need airport security with McClane watching over things. Just think - no more lines at the airport.

Finally, Housing & Urban Affairs should be split into two: Donald Trump, America's most visible real estate developer, for housing and Kanye West, America's best known rapper (or singer and songwriter of what was once quaintly known as urban music) for Urban Affairs.

Not every state is as enlightened as my home state of California where we have twice collapsed celebrity and politics by electing an actor to become governor. It is time that the entire country benefit from the blurring of such boundaries. (And I will post on this benefit as soon as I determine what it is.)


Anonymous said...

Those were all good choices, but I think Homeland Security should be headed by Dirty Harry. I don't think any terrorist would want to tangle with him.

And for FEMA we should bring back Brownie. He did a heckuva job.

Ron Davison said...

Dirty Harry gets even more credit for having been the mayor of Carmel for a time. As best as I know, in spite of its vulnerable position along the coast, Carmel was never invaded or attacked during his tenure there.

And I had forgotten about the lower level appointments. Brownie should definitely be in.

David said...

You do make this stuff up don't you? Check out the defense appropriations bill sometime and read it. Naw, don't bother. Write O and tell him to not fund DoD for a couple of years.

My vote for DoD heads are the guys who wrote "Superbad."

cce said...

LOL, Ron. I needed a little levity this morning. And proof that my brain is addled and not up to the task of actually thinking...I can come up with no improvements on your suggested nominations.

Ron Davison said...

I have got to learn this from you eventually: how is it that spending as much on defense as the rest of the world combined is not enough? What am I missing?

I am flattered that this post resists even your improvement efforts. It must be early.