The losing candidate in the new administration

This has obviously been a tough campaign on both sides. Both have taken time to slam their opponents when able to do so. Not unlike the primaries for both parties. However, after the primaries all the candidates from each party form rank and support the winner.

How do you think it would play if say Obama wins and appoints McCain Sec. Def? Or McCain wins and appoints Obama Sec State? I think either would be exceptionally good at those jobs and the reaching across the aisle to make peace would go a very long way to healing the heated divide in this country between blue and red states.

Would the base on either side support this? Could either candidate be big enough to at least make the offer?

I think that would be commendable.

I don’t see it even remotely happening.

This will never happen. There will be an effort to put someone from the opposite party in the administration, but not the loser of the general election. I think the person would take it as a kind of insult if asked.

Obama said there would be a place in his administration for Colin Powell (if Powell wants it). Of course many conservatives now consider Powell a traitor so that may not count as reaching across the aisle. Likewise if McCain wins he will probably put Lieberman in some cabinet position but like Powell Liberman is seen as a traitor to his side (and that one is more true than it is of Powell).

Still, of the two I think Obama more likely to appoint the best people available to cabinet positions. If no liberal is clearly up there in ability Obama may well opt for a conservative.

You can forget Obama or McCain offering any position to the other. Never gonna happen I think.

I too think it would be a great idea. However, I think either man would take such an invitation as:

“You lost, now, will you be my bitch?”

For McCain, at least, to offer Obama a position after months of smearing Obama’s lack of experience would be laughable.

I used to really, really like McCain and, as I’ve said before, was prepared to vote for him in 2000 had he made it that far. However, at this point, based on how he’s run his campaign, and the way he’s allowed himself to be led to the dark side, in conjunction with seemingly not being in command of the facts of pretty much any issue, including foreign policy, I’d be afraid to appoint him to anything without strict oversight and limited latitude.

Back when we first started out the loser was VP. I don’t want McCain as Secretary of Defense though. Maybe Secretary of Agriculture.

Why in blazes would he ever want to do that?

There are any number of qualified Democrats suitable for the position - which is entirely his right to appoint. If Obama sweeps to power, as is likely, carrying with him Congressional victories on his coat-tails, why would he take that as anything less than a mandate to change direction on foreign policy? Certainly Obama wants to set up a Lincoln-esque team of rivals dynamic in his administration, but there is no good reason to concede to the Republicans the DS portfolio, from a position of weakness implicitly affirming the false frames of the last decades about Republican toughness on defence. Obama will be looking to overturn that. At best, Gates will remain SD for transition.

Also, if anything, McCain’s views on foreign policy are further to the right than Bush’s first-term, though not his second, as we can gauge by the coterie of neo-conservative war cheerleaders he has surrounded himself with, and his erratic hawkish positions on kicking Russia out of the G8, escalating force against Iran and establishing a “League of Democracies” to supplement the U.N.

Then there is also the point that there are plenty of other Republicans who at least support the Democratic foreign policy and security platform, either out of Realpolitik or a sense of internationalism; I’m talking about people like Gates, Baker, Hagel, and even Powell - who are all better candidates.

Why McCain other than some weird idea of him deserving a consolation prize for some reason?

What IClaudius said. Moreover, McCain’s erratic behavior throughout this election – the foolish and ill-considered VP choice, the whiplash inducing behavior on the financial crisis (“fundamentals strong,” then the sky is falling and must suspend campaign, then didn’t actually suspend campaign, then said would boycott debate until bailout package passed, then didn’t boycott debate, etc.), the demagoguery on Georgia/poking Russia in the eye school of foreign relations, the throw it against the wall and see what sticks this week tenor of his campaign – all suggest that he is prone to fly off the handle and make decisions without becoming fully cognizant of all relevant facts. Not at all what you want in the guy who is point for your military response.


Democratic President-elect Matt Santos appointed his defeated GOP rival, Arnold Vinick, as SecState on The West Wing. I just can’t see that happening IRL, though. Feelings have run too high, and McCain has talked 'way too much smack about him.

Assuming Obama wins, Chuck Hagel is a possible Republican SecDef appointee. Or (less likely) Dick Lugar as SecState. If McCain wins, Joe Leiberman would probably find a place somewhere in his administration; former Sen. John Breaux is also a possibility.

It’s hard to think of a recent presidential election in which it’s even remotely plausible that the winner would offer the loser a Cabinet post. Bush and Kerry? No. Bush and Gore? Hell, no. Clinton and Dole? Hmmm… maybe SecDef, but unlikely (Clinton did end up appointing another Republican, Sen. William Cohen of Maine, to that post). Clinton and Bush the Elder? Not likely, esp. since Bush would be the immediate past president at that point, and unlikely to want to take a Cabinet gig.

And look at where Matt Santos and Arnold Vinick are today.

As you said, good idea or not, it won’t ever happen. :slight_smile:

What’s the point of appointing someone who’s likely to do the opposite of what you want him to do ? No, you don’t want a bunch of yes-men, but you do want people who are headed somewhat in the same direction.

N.B. The West Wing also depicted a Nobel Prize winning economics professor from New England winning an election for president not once but twice.


What’s more, he’s a Democrat who swept the Plains States! :rolleyes:

With an Obama victory the best he could do is appoint supportive Republican senators from states with Democratic governors into various positions in his new administration. In turn each Democratic governor is then able to fill the vacated Senate seat with a Democratic choice.

Obama gets a bipartisan administration and the Senate gets a Democratic, filibuster-proof majority.

In other words, a redistribution of wealth.

It wouldn’t fly. The McCain campaign has portrayed Obama as somebody who’s soft on terrorism. The Obama campaign has portrayed McCain as somebody who’s trigger-happy. If either administration appointed the other side’s candidate to a position of influence, it would sent one or more of the following:

1 - We want a Secretary of State who’s soft on terrorism.
2 - We want a Secretary of Defense who’s trigger-happy.
3 - Sure, they’re bad but we couldn’t find anyone better in our own party.
4 - What? You believed all that crap I said during the campaign? That was just the kind of bullshit I said to get elected. Now that the election’s over, all of us in Washington are back in bed together.

OK, we seem to have established that Obama wouldn’t appoint McCain to a position in his administration.

How about Sarah Palin? After all, she’s been the commander of the Alaska National Guard.


Neither one would be the most qualified candidate for hte positions outlined in the OP. I hope McCain would appoint someone better than himself to be Sec Def, and I hope that Obama would appoint someone better than himself to Sec State.

I also hope that they both would turn down the role as they will both be quite powerful in the Senate.