December 21, 2016 12 Comments
I tweeted out a few days ago that so far, President-elect Donald Trump’s senior level and cabinet picks are to the right of Ronald Reagan in 1981, and would find the approval of Calvin Coolidge. Naturally I wasn’t disappointed in my expectation that it would provoke the usual liberal clichés in response, because Coolidge caused the Great Depression, dontchaknow. To which I always like to share the following observation of a once-eminent person:
“A whole generation of historians has assailed Coolidge for the superficial optimism which kept him from seeing that a great storm was brewing at home and also more distantly abroad. This is grossly unfair. There was much that was good about the world of which Coolidge spoke . . . the twenties in America were a very good time.”
And who wrote this? It was uber-liberal John Kenneth Galbraith, in his book The Great Crash. As we say today, doesn’t fit the narrative.
But even more fun is Shaun King in the New York Daily News yesterday, who complains that “There’s a huge education level drop-off with the Trump cabinet picks.” King is appalled that Trump isn’t picking people with advanced degrees from Ivy League universities, and is instead appointing, you know, real people—almost as if Trump actually believes in government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” and that the government can be run by someone other than self-certified elites. Just drink in the delicious presumption of the aptly-named King:
Donald Trump will be the first President of the United States in 25 years to not have a graduate degree of any kind. Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar and had a law degree from Yale University. Even George W. Bush had a Harvard MBA. Trump has B.S. in economics from University of Pennsylvania, but no advanced education.
“Even” George W. Bush. . . Nice touch that even, since everyone knows Bush was an idiot. Can you believe it? What was Harvard thinking? […]
But it gets better:
Secretary of State John Kerry has a law degree from Boston College. Rex Tillerson, who Trump nominated for the same role, didn’t go to grad school at all.
Let’s see: Tillerson has run one of the largest global enterprises in history, quite successfully it appears. Kerry has only run his mouth. And not very well at that. Boston College should recall that law degree perhaps.
Indeed, how will we survive with people that have done something in the real world instead of the artificial worlds of government and academia?
And then there is this, from Paul Mirengoff also at PowerLine
The mainstream media seems upset with Donald Trump for picking very rich people and successful generals for key positions in his administration. Where are the lawyers, the college professors, the public administrators, and the activists?
In a more rational world, it would be hard to argue with Trump’s preference for people who have been extremely successful in the business world and the military. These backgrounds are no guarantee of success in public life, but they seem like a better indicator than backgrounds in most, if not all, of the professions listed in the paragraph above.
Some readers may be surprised to learn that historians generally view Warren Harding’s Cabinet as one of the best ever. Harding, who intended to rely very heavily on his Cabinet, put a high premium on success. Herbert Hoover, his choice for Commerce Secretary and the man who became his go-to adviser, was arguably the most successful man in America at the time.
For Secretary of State, Harding selected Charles Evan Hughes. Though Hughes lacked substantial foreign policy experience, he was one of the most able men in America, having served as Governor of New York and Supreme Court Justice.
Harding is, of course, remembered for his two bad picks, Henry Fall at Interior, and Henry Daugherty as the Attorney General. Paul says this, and I agree.
Henry Fall, the Interior Secretary, gave us the Teapot Dome scandal. Fall was a well-regarded Senator. Harding had no reason to believe he would use his Cabinet post to enrich himself. Had Fall been extremely wealthy, it’s unlikely he would have.
Henry Daugherty, Harding’s attorney general, was a crony. Nearly everyone understood that Daugherty was bad news. In selecting this corrupt man, Harding put loyalty ahead of the good advice he received. Harding has only himself to blame for the damage Daugherty inflicted on his legacy.
That pretty well covers what I see in this cabinet. They may or may not be the best people ever for these jobs, but they are the best that Trump has found, and they are far beyond what we have dealt with for the last eight years, in my estimation.
Steve ends with this: “Or we could just return to the idea of self-government. Whatever will we do without the cool kids in charge?”
My answer is, “Probably a hell of a lot better.” Experience says the real world is reality, government and academia is something else entirely, and the United States needs to succeed in the real world.