Businessweek Archives

The Early Line On A Clinton Administration


Cover Story

THE EARLY LINE ON A CLINTON ADMINISTRATION

Decisions, decisions. Whom will Bill Clinton tap for the top posts in his activist Administration? His personnel choices will reveal a lot about his policies. Will Clinton reach out to his Oxford Mafia of old-time friends? Will he feel compelled to reward campaign aides or shower plum jobs on national Democratic nabobs? Only the President-elect, his wife, Hillary, and transition chief Mickey Kantor have an inkling as the Name Game starts in earnest. Here's a roundup of the early contenders:

SECRETARY OF STATE

When it comes to foreign policy, don't look for Clinton to be too daring. His lack of expertise will lead him to consider a number of Democratic graybeards for Secretary of State, among them: House Europe & Middle East Affairs subcommittee Chairman Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.) (serious, liberal); Los Angeles lawyer Warren Christopher (savvy No. 2 in the Carter Administration State Dept., headed Clinton's Vice-Presidential search team); Lehman Brothers executive Richard C. Holbrooke (most likely pick if Clinton is looking for Asian policy expertise).

CHIEF OF STAFF

The White House Chief of Staff is the President's eyes, ears, and ax. Clinton will want a loyal associate in the job. One possibility: Campaign Chairman Mickey Kantor, the L.A. lawyer who helped shape up Clinton's free-form campaign and navigated the candidate through the debates. Others with a shot at key White House jobs: the Clinton campaign's top administrator, Eli J. Segal, a Boston mail-order executive, and Arkansas Democrat Betsey Wright, a fierce loyalist who greeted dirt-seeking reporters in Arkansas with loads of pro-Clinton statistics.

DEFENSE SECRETARY

Clinton's Pentagon chief will have a tough job dealing with budget cuts anddefense-worker retraining. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Les Aspin (D-Wis.) may want the job, but his abrasive style is a problem. If Clinton wants to challenge the taboo against military officers in charge of the Defense Dept., he could go for former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral William J. Crowe Jr. And don't count out the current head of the Joint Chiefs, General Colin L. Powell. Yes, he says he doesn't want the job. No, not everyone believes him.

TREASURY SECRETARY

Robert E. Rubin, co-chairman of Goldman, Sachs & Co., was an early Clinton backer and raised loads of money. Rubin thinks Clinton must develop a broad deficitreduction plan to calm financial markets. He could be headed for Treasury. Also mentioned for the slot: NationsBank Chairman Hugh L. McColl, who has known Clinton for years. Dark horse: Texan Lloyd Bentsen, the probusiness chairman of the Senate Finance Committee (he knew Andrew Mellon. Andrew Mellon was a friend of his . . . ). Even darker: Former Fed Chairman Paul A. Volcker, some on Wall Street insist, would take the job.

TRADE MAVEN

With his emphasis on competitiveness, Clinton's choice of a trade representative will be critical. He may reach back into the Reagan Administration to pick former Commerce Dept. official Clyde V. Prestowitz. He's an advocate of tough action to pry open Japanese markets. Former Carter Administration trade negotiator Alan W. Wolff, who represents U.S. steel and semiconductor makers, is a contender, as is Glen S. Fukushima, who's with AT&T in Japan. Former San Antonio Mayor Henry G. Cisneros pops up as a possibility for both the trade job and as Commerce Secretary (right). And former International Trade Commission Chairman Paula Stern rates a mention.

OMB DIRECTOR

Can Clinton say "no" to party interest groups? He'll have to prove it with his critical choice for Director of the Office of Management & Budget. Most early OMB candidates are budget hawks. House Budget Committee Chairman Leon E. Panetta (D-Calif.) has compiled a long hit list of outdated programs. Congressional Budget Office Director Robert D. Reischauer has a similar bent. Two unconventional choices: Brookings Institution economist Alice M. Rivlin--an ex-CBO head--and Eastman Kodak Vice-President and former Perot adviser John P. White.

COMMERCE SECRETARY

For the Commerce Dept., Clinton may want a top business executive to help devise an aggressive new U.S. industrial strategy. Sara Lee CEO John H. Bryan, who stumped for Clinton, could get the nod. Bryan led business support for the 1986 tax-reform legislation. If Clinton goes the high-tech route, he may look to Hewlett-Packard President John A. Young, a competitiveness hawk and leader of a group of Silicon Valley execs whose endorsement gave Clinton a big boost. Another member of the Silicon Valley mob, Apple Computer CEO John Sculley, is also getting a close look from Clinton aides. Some Clintonites are talking up Cisneros, the former San Antonio mayor who's also being mulled for trade. He preaches bootstrap economic development. Long shot: Warren E. Buffett, who wouldn't mind a chance to take his mind off his big stake in troubled Salomon Brothers Inc.

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

Ever since he mused out loud about the possible appointment of New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo to the U.S. Supreme Court, Clinton has been reluctant to comment on his high court preferences. Harvard Law School's omnipresent Lawrence H. Tribe would be on the list. Duke University law professor Walter Dellinger holds liberal views similar to Tribe's, but his lower profile makes him less controversial. But if and when Clinton gets a shot at filling a vacancy, he might look first to an A-list of federal judges, among them Jose A. Cabranes, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court in New Haven, Amalya Lyle Kearse, of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in New York, Richard S. Arnold, Chief Judge of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Dallas, and Stephen G. Breyer, Chief of the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. Whoever gets the nod, Clinton has made one thing clear: He wants a jurist who will uphold a woman's right to an abortion.

ECONOMIC ADVISERS

Appointments to the Coun cil of Economic Advisers could be a crucial early indicator of how Clinton will resolve the debate over spending priorities and the need for economic stimulus. Campaign econo-wonk Robert J. Shapiro, one of the most market-oriented of Clinton's advisers, is a contender. More interventionist choices: Harvard's Robert B. Reich, an industrial policy guru and fiscal-stimulus advocate, and Rhode Island consultant Ira Magaziner. Also interested: Lawrence H. Summers, the World Bank's brash chief economist.

HHS SECRETARY

Clinton looks to state capitols for the real talent in government. That's where he found Joycelyn Elders, head of the Arkansas State Health Dept., who could become Health & Human Services Secretary. Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman, a close friend of Hillary Clinton, is another HHS contender. Other domestic-policy candidates: Occidental College professor Derek N. Shearer and former Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste.


Hollywood Goes YouTube
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW

(enter your email)
(enter up to 5 email addresses, separated by commas)

Max 250 characters

 
blog comments powered by Disqus