America made a monumental announcement to the rest of the world with the election of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as the next President of the United States. His message of hope and change resonated with voters. However, one of the biggest challenges facing Obama is whether he can continue to reach across the aisle to achieve reform. One way to do this is by surrounding himself with a diverse and bipartisan cabinet. The editorial board of The Miami Student has decided on who we believe should take the posts of several key cabinet positions.
Because the economy still remains the No. 1 issue for most Americans, it is critical for Obama to choose his secretary of treasury immediately. With the probability of Obama tapping someone other than current Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson, there needs to be enough time for the new treasurer to transition. Thus, we believe that Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve under presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, will be a strong and solid addition to Obama’s inner circle. Serving as an economic adviser during Obama’s presidential campaign, Volcker already has a firm understanding of the financial crisis and a rapport with the president-elect. His experience and strong advocacy of trickle-down economics could bring perspective to the debate surrounding the current financial debacle.
The Iraq War also remained a crucial platform throughout Obama’s campaign. This board argues that Obama should keep Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Gates has the experience and knowledge to continue fighting the war on terror in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Gates was confirmed with bipartisan support in 2006 and his established reputation would boost Obama’s ability to work with Republicans on foreign affairs.
Along with keeping Gates as Secretary of Defense, Obama should tap Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) as his secretary of state. As former chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and outspoken critic of President George W. Bush’s strategy in Iraq, Lugar could lend credence and valuable foresight to Obama. A cabinet consisting of Lugar and Gates, accompanied by Vice President, Joe Biden would be a valuable and informed group regarding diplomacy and foreign affairs.
Obama has already chosen Chicago colleague, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) as his chief of staff. It’s encouraging to see Obama taking the initial steps to solidify his cabinet and close advisers. Because Congress is going to be overwhelmingly Democratic, this board hopes that Obama will stay true to his campaign promise and work fervently to secure bipartisanship. Now that the election is over, Obama can begin to build the bridge across the aisle that seemed to have collapsed under President Bush. This presidency could be about more than just a message of change, but it must start with a credible and fluid cabinet.