Analyse the claim that nowadays “the president’s cabinet performs no useful functions

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Analyse the claim that nowadays “the president’s cabinet performs no useful functions.” Tom McKeown. At first sight, it might appear that the cabinet offers a means by which the entire executive branch can be directed and drawn together. The cabinet membership is made up of those who head the 15 executive departments, such as the secretary of state (Condaleeza Rice) and the secretary of defence (Donald Rumsfeld) and other figures such as the US UN ambassador (currently John Bolton), the chief of staff, and the head of the Office of Management and Budget. The cabinet is made up of professionals from a variety of different areas. One of its main sources of recruitment are former members of congress, e.g. Bush appointed 4 including John Ashcroft as Attorney General. State governors are also often recruited, e.g. Bush appointed Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin as Secretary of Health. City mayors are also sometimes recruited as cabinet members, e.g. Clinton appointed Federico Pena ex mayor of Denver as Secretary of Transportation. Recruitments are also sometimes made from outside the political spectrum, Bush appointed Rod Paige as Secretary of Education an ex professor at Cincinnati University. When making recruitments to his cabinet the president considers a number of different factors. The president looks for policy specialists, Rod Paige had been a schools superintendent in Houston for 6 years and thus was a logical choice as Secretary of Education, by the same token Anthony Principi a Vietnam veteran was appointed as Secretary of Veteran Affairs. Thus due to the specialist nature of cabinet there are not cabinet reshuffles, at least nowhere near to the extent that we see in British politics. The president must also make sure he has a balanced cabinet. In terms of terms of Geographical regions, Race (Bush had - African Americans, Colin Powell etc, Chinese American – Elaine Chao, Japanese American – Norman Mineta), Gender (Bush appointed 3 women), ideological balance (e.g. Bush appointed conservatives - John Ashcroft, Bush kept Democrat Norman Mineta from Clintons cabinet.

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