The Corner

The Appointment Game

Everyone is playing the “what if” recommendation game. For what little they would be worth in an ideal world, here would be four of my slightly unorthodox recommendations: 

First, Larry Arnn, Hillsdale College president, for secretary of education. No one, for obvious reasons, understands better how that department works or does not work, or is more familiar with ways of saving kindergarten through graduate education, or is a greater protector of constitutional principles. 

Marine general James Mattis would be a unique secretary of defense. He is apolitical, a widely read Jacksonian, blunt, and combative; he has a wealth of experience, especially in the Middle East, and is highly respected abroad and at home. It is no exaggeration that he is acknowledged as America’s most admired retired soldier. 

There could not be a better director of the National Endowment for the Humanities (or Arts—or both!) than Roger Hertog, New York philanthropist and patron of the arts, National Humanities Medal winner, classical conservative, student of literature and history, and a gentleman with strong constitutional views and fearlessness in expressing them. 

One of the challenges of the Trump plan of economic stimulus, tax cuts, and deregulation will be mastery of knowledge of interest rates and threats from the $20 trillion national debt, given the dangers of incurring further borrowing at spiked interest rates. John Taylor (a colleague at the Hoover Institution) would be a wonderful pro-growth, but circumspect, Treasury secretary (had he been elevated to secretary in the Bush second term it would have likely dealt far better, both fiscally and in the public’s perception, with the meltdown of September 2008 and what followed). It is odd so far that in the media his name is not the most prominent among those mentioned for this key post, as the Trump economy will mark a sharp departure from the Obama overregulated, low-growth, highly taxed, deflationary, and deficit-ridden economy — and thus the need for an experienced hand as we shift gears.

I would assume that all, if they were willing to serve, would be quickly confirmed, remain mavericks, bring honor and respect for President-elect Trump’s judgement, and I think win widespread public approval while representing business not as usual.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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