Is it normal to change this many horses midstream?

A lot of people were talking before the election about voting for Bush because they didn’t want to “change horses midstream.” Now it looks like his cabinet members are jumping ship left and right. According to MSNBC, the following people have already jumped or are expected to jump soon:

[ul][li]Secretary of State - Colin Powell, resigned[/li][li]Energy Secretary - Spencer Abraham, expected to resign[/li][li]Agriculture Secretary - Ann Veneman, resigned[/li][li]Education Secretary - Rod Paige, resigned[/li][li]Secretary of Defense - Donald Rumsfeld, expected to resign “within a year or two”[/li][li]National Securtiy Adviser - Condoleeza Rice, expected to resign[/li][li]Tresury Secretary - John Snow, expected to resign[/li][li]Secretary of Homeland Security - Tom Ridge, expected to resgin[/li][li]US Trade Representative - Robert Zoellick, expected to resign[/li][li]Attorney General - John Ashcroft, resigned[/li][li]Commerce Secretary - Donald Evans, resigned[/li][/ul]

So, is this a normal exodus that was to be expected at the dawn of a new term? If the President stays but nearly his entire administration turns over does the argument that you don’t want to change horses midstream really hold water?

There are some pretty important and high-profile people in that list.

Compare with previous administrations.

As I understand it, Condoleeza Rice is expected to be offered the Secretary of Stat position.

Here, for purposes of comparison, are some Clinton cabinet picks:

State - Warren Christopher
Madeline Albright

Treasury - Lloyd Bentsen
Robert E. Rubin
Lawrence H. Summers

Defense - Les Aspin
William J. Perry
William S. Cohen

Agriculture - Mike Espy
Dan Glickman

Commerce - Ronald H. Brown
Mickey Kantor
William M. Daley
Norman Y. Mineta

Labor - Robert B. Reich
Alexis Herman

HUD - Henry G. Cisneros
Andrew M. Cuomo

Transportation - Federico F. Peña
Rodney Slater

Energy - Hazel R. O’Leary
Frederico F. Peña
Bill Richardson

VA - Jesse Brown
Togo D. West Jr.

All other Cabinet positions in the Clinton era were filled by one person only.

The remarkable thing is that there were no major Cabinet shakeups before now, in the Bush administration. Cabinet changeover isn’t terribly unexpected.


It’s a standard practice for a re-elected President to ask for the resignations of all of his cabinet, and then ask a selected few to stay on.

Here’s a list of the Clinton Cabinet. Note that Secretary of State Christopher, Secretary of Defense Perry, Secretary of Commerce Kantor, Secretary of Labor Reich, Secretary of HUD Cisneros, Secretary of Transportation Pena, and Secretary of Energy O’Leary all left after Clinton’s first term- 7 total. And that list doesn’t include US Trade Representative or National Security Advisor; I don’t remember what happened with them.

Looking at previous administrations- Reagan had 6 Cabinet members leave or switch; Nixon had 8; and LBJ had 4.

So, what are the odds of Colin Powell’s tell-all book coming out inside of a year? :wink:


Hm. Well, DoE Sec Abraham has definitely resigned, if the announcement to all DoE folks is to be believed.

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that Colin Powell will be the Jeanne Kirkpatrick of the Republicans: sometime in the future, he’s going to switch and become a Democrat.

One can only hope.

I think the OP was attempting to make a point that during Wartime, would it be a good idea to change all these positions? Especially those concerning Defense/War. The argument was commonly used by Republicans before the election as a reason to elect Bush to a second term.

Really? I don’t recall any ‘Vote for us because Rummy will stay on as SecDef’ campaign ads.

Note, I didn’t say that. That’s extremely warping my wording. I said that the argument was to elect BUSH to a second term.

With the exception of Harold Ickes and James Forrestal, the entire Cabinet in place in November 1944 was gone by November 1945.

If we have the Vietnam War start in 1965, then LBJ replaced his Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney-General, Secretary of Commerce, Postmaster General, and HEW Secretary between the start of the war and his leaving office.

Brutus, why are you pretending that you have no idea what the point of his post was? We heard Bush and assorted supporters say repeatedly “Ya don’t wanna change horses in midstream!

Got that? Horses. Not the jockey, not the breeders and not the stable hands. The horses. If the cabinet members aren’t the work horses of an administration, I don’t know who is.


Sure. I heard that oh! so often.

You parse good no. Does ‘You don’t wanna change horse in midstream’ sound better to you? I thought not.