Smart people can do some pretty dumb things.
Exhibit A: Our federal government's executive branch.
Obama & Co. are the smartest people in this big room we call America. This is true because a bunch of people who work for a handful of media companies have told us so every single day since Jan. 20, 2009.
Every. Single. Day.
Yet, this brainy cult-of-personality and his leadership team have done mind-blowingly asinine things on a near-weekly basis. They started with "cash for clunkers" and it just kept going downhill from there. Historians will look back on the presidency of Barack H. Obama II as more lawless than Nixon's, more inept than Carter's and more scandal-ridden than Clinton's.
Even if you were to blame two-thirds of his screw-ups on somebody else — as his most-dedicated worshipers do — he will still go down as the all-time worst. Bar none.
I have no doubt the man standing behind the teleprompters, flak catchers and liberal-media apparatchiks is an intelligent human. There’s probably an IQ test sitting in a vault somewhere next to his college records that proves it.
But as we’ve seen, intellect alone doesn’t make a great president. Same goes for the people he handpicked to help run the country. Most of them appear to be Ivy League twerps who, much like the president, never had a real job.
Clearly, it takes more than “book smarts.” Some practical, real-world experience would be a good start — especially if said experience occurs outside the District of Columbia, the demarcation line for the "real world."
Honesty is another plus. So is having a genuine love (or at least a strong liking) for your country. Nothing’s worse than having to fake it; people pick up on that kind of stuff.
When it came to trusting eggheads, noted conservative William F. Buckley Jr. said he’d rather have a nation run by the first 2,000 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than the entire faculty of Harvard University.
Heck, I'd trust the first 2,000 people listed in the Hephzibah phone book to do a better job than either the Harvard faculty or the current gang in the White House.
But if I really had my way - if I were president, that is - selecting department heads from the white pages wouldn't be my first choice. First, it's getting hard to find a phone book these days. Second, most of the people I would choose for my cabinet come to mind rather quickly.
And here they are, the Cline Cabinet, if you will, in order of succession to the Office of the President:
Department of State
President John Adams once wrote that the Secretary of State “ought to be a man of universal reading in laws, governments (and) history. Our whole terrestrial universe ought to be summarily comprehended in his mind.” I agree, and I have just the person in mind to be my Kissinger. Bonus: His last name even starts with a "K."
My choice for Secretary of State: Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, commentator and physician.
Department of the Treasury
While I wait for Congress to scrap our perverse tax code in favor of the Fair Tax (my fantasy, my rules), I’ll need someone to ensure all 90,000 Internal Revenue Service employees have their résumés updated at Monster.com — they're going to need them on their journey into the private sector. And I'd tell anyone who doesn’t like it to go audit themselves.
My choice for Secretary of the Treasury: Neal Boortz, author, attorney and former radio host.
Secretary of Defense
Military strength is the main reason we’re at the top of the geopolitical food chain. We need the best-equipped, most-modern fighting force on the planet - but we don't have to waste money to do it. My pick would be a fiscally conservative Keyser Söze who is presentable at state dinners and can spot for me at the gym.
My choice for Secretary of Defense: Chuck Norris, actor, martial artist, Air Force veteran and all-purpose liberal repellent.
Department of Justice
Agencies such as the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are the friendly folks who raid your home, and possibly incinerate it, if your neighbors suspect you are an anti-government, right-wing-extremist militia member - which these days is any conservative white male who owns a firearm. My pick for Attorney General would at least ask questions before shooting. And, unlike the nation's current top lawman, he has actually read the U.S. Constitution.
My choice for Attorney General: Andrew P. Napolitano, former New Jersey Superior Court Judge and current Fox News legal analyst.
Department of the Interior
The federal government owns 500 million acres of land. It should keep the good stuff (national parks, monuments, etc.) and turn everything else (Nevada grazing land, for starters) over to state governments, land trusts and the private sector. I'll need someone with plenty of real estate experience, and I've got just the local in mind.
My choice for Secretary of the Interior: Turner Simkins, Augusta real estate developer, nature lover, conservationist and occasional bluegrass guitar-picker.
Department of Agriculture
As the purveyor of farm subsidies and food stamps, the USDA is a horribly wasteful and unnecessary entity. With the exception of its food-inspection program and a couple others, it should be disbanded immediately, saving taxpayers about $30 billion a year. I don’t care who runs it as long as they run into the ground. I think I'll actually go to the Hephzibah phone book for this one.
My choice for Secretary of Agriculture: Carrie Aaron of Spirit Creek Drive. Congratulations on your cabinet appointment!
Department of Commerce
Businesses don’t need much “help” from the government to thrive. They just need low inflation, fair taxation and commonsense regulation. The Commerce Department, unfortunately, does none of that. It’s too busy engaging in crony capitalism and meddling in free markets. Like the USDA, most of Commerce's operations need to disappear. My pick for secretary would help make that happen.
My choice for Secretary of Commerce: John Stossel, investigative journalist, author and libertarian extraordinaire.
Department of Labor
The biggest problem I see with the Labor Department is that it encourages people not to work. What do you expect from an agency created 100 years ago so unions could have bigger say in government activities? These GS-14s need a kick in their rotund rears, and I know just the man for the job.
My choice for Secretary of Labor: Mike Rowe, former host of the Dirty Jobs TV show, industrial arts advocate and philanthropist.
Department of Health and Human Services
Holy moly – these folks are responsible for almost one-quarter of all federal spending, roughly $8,000 per household every year. And it’s only going to get worse as Obamacare strangles the economy. Reforming the big stuff (Medicare and Medicaid) will take years, but short-term gains can be made by cutting smaller programs that have demonstrated zero success during their decades-long run, such as Head Start.
My choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services: Dr. Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and archenemy of race-hustlers everywhere.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
For eight decades these HUD-suckers have kept generations of American in government bondage through subsidized housing and highly corrupt “community development” subsidies. HUD's home-finance operations fueled economic distortions that led to the recent financial meltdown and recession. The local fella I’d tap to turn the agency around has prior experience working with politicians and bureaucrats – in fact, he used to be one himself!
My choice for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Bob Young, former Augusta mayor and assistant HUD deputy secretary.
Department of Transportation
Washington does a great job of taking money from states and making them feel fortunate when they get some of it back (with plenty of strings attached, of course). The reality is states don’t need federal “help” to build and maintain transportation infrastructure – they just need their money and the freedom to do with it as they please. My pick knows how to effectively and efficiently move people from point A to point B.
My choice for Secretary of Transportation: Herb Kelleher, co-founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines.
Department of Energy
These folks do essentially two things: A) spend gobs of money on defense-related projects; and B) help scientists and alternative-energy researchers set fire to stacks of $100 bills. Whatever couldn't be eliminated outright could be transferred to the Defense Department, where it belongs. My pick to help dismantle this bloated agency is someone who can make government downsizing educational and fun.
My choice for Secretary of Energy: Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Department of Education
Here’s another agency so unnecessary it's a wonder it was ever created (thanks Jimmy Carter!). So far, four decades of federal intervention in the nation’s schools has produced nothing but a big bureaucracy, a generation of collectivists-in-waiting and zero improvement in academic results. Common Core will eventually lead to a goose-stepping Common Corps. A trip the principal’s office is in order.
My choice for Secretary of Education: Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, former education policy adviser to President Reagan and author of The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America.
Department of Veterans Affairs
It seems as though most of the people running this department cut their teeth at the U.S. Postal Service, because they've been treating our veterans with as much care as bulk-rate mail. Lack of funding isn’t the problem here – this department is second only to the Department of Defense – it’s the federal-employee culture. People need to be fired. Lots of people.
My choice for Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Gary Sinise, actor, musician, veterans advocate
Department of Homeland Security
This third-largest, non-military government agency is better known for stockpiling military ammunition and groping your nether-regions at the airport than securing our borders or responding to disasters. Can we protect America without unduly trampling on citizens’ civil liberties or treating them like the enemy? I think so, and my pick for secretary does, too.
My choice for Secretary of Homeland Security: Joe “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., and a guy the namby-pambies like to hate.
Well, there you have it – 15 people I would trust to help me run the executive branch better than it is currently being run by the Obama brain trust. These are the people would help me fundamentally "transform" America - this time for the better.
We might not do a substantially better job than the current administration, but - as the late Rep. Charlie Norwood liked to say - I can "guaran-damn-tee" you we wouldn't do any worse.
You can play Bureaucrat Bingo, too. Just think about who you would put in charge if a magic wand - or $778 million in campaign contributions (Obama, 2008) - suddenly made you commander-in-chief.
Unless you're an Ivy League twerp, there's a good chance I'd agree your fantasy picks would do no worse than the current crop of chowderheads running Washington.
And with that, I'm out of here. If you have any questions for me or my cabinet, please direct them to my press secretary, Maria Bartiromo.