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
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.