When I argued during the last election cycle that Newt Gingrich should be kept chained up in the White House basement surrounded by a team of interns whose job it would be to glean the one brilliant idea out of the 47,394 ideas he spits out every day, I was kidding — but only about the chains. Gingrich is a brilliant guy and an example of the sort of person you want in an administration but probably don’t want to be president.
In my piece today, I touch on a similar idea about Mitt Romney. Romney is the opposite of Gingrich: He’s not an ideas guy. He’s a conservative, but he’s not a conservatives’ conservative — he isn’t going to sit around with Ted Cruz talking Rawls vs. Hayek. But he is an extraordinarily competent man, an ace manager of everything except (oddly) his own presidential campaign. Romney should be a sort of semi-official fixer in any Republican administration. The VA hospital system is a mess, the Secret Service is a corrupt mess, the IRS is a wildly corrupt mess, etc. I’d like to see a President Cruz or a President Rubio say: “Okay, Mitt, go sort that out,” handing him whatever the political equivalent of a loaded shotgun is. He could be a sort of roving secretary-of-fixing-stuff-sans-portfolio guy. Carly Fiorina, assuming she doesn’t end up on the Republican ticket, might be good at that sort of thing, too.
I still like my idea of the eventual Republican nominee naming his Cabinet in advance and running as a slate. Not because I necessarily think it’s good politics — who knows? — but because it would be an interesting and entertaining exercise. And I suspect that a Cruz-Rubio/Rubio-Cruz ticket might benefit from putting together a superstar team: Bobby Jindal, who has actually reformed a health-care system, at Health and Human Services; Rick Perry, perhaps, at Defense; Jeb Bush at Commerce or Treasury; Larry Kudlow at the Council of Economic Advisers or the Fed; Donald Trump in some critical diplomatic position, such as second assistant deputy ambassador to Burkina Faso; etc.
Feel free to share your nominations in the comments.