The model of second-term presidents should be Reagan’s selection of Bennett to head Education in the mid-eighties. Bill shook up the department and also became a fixture in the political wars from then until the present. Cabinet positions are opportunities to credential front line political combatants, and shouldn’t be wasted on folks who intend to retire to the golf course when their tour of duty is done.
Nor do you need to be a farmer or a physicist to run Ag or Energy, respectively. You need to be an executive used to making good decisions and hiring competent managers for the boxes below you. It would also be great to credential some folks from blue states who can return later to help recolor that geography.
But please, no retired or defeated senators or congressmen. Draft a five-tool player, as they say in MLB, and send him or her to the Senate.
I agree 100%. However, earlier in that post Hewitt quoted Lileks:
As for the Department of Education, I’d like to see an experiment: let the position go unfilled for four years and see if it has any impact on the educational abilities of the nation’s youth. I’m guessing no one would notice if we didn’t have a Secretary of Education. Everyone just keep on doing what you’re doing, and get back to us.”
On this, I agree 110%.