Good Advice

Robert Kagan on a possible fights over cabinet nominations:  “Republicans should let this one go and save their energies for the real problems looming before us.”


Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Did Kagan give that same advice to Senate Democrats in Jan. 2001 and then again in Jan. 2005?

  2. @Tsar Nicholas: Does it matter? It is either good advice, or it isn’t. Tit for tat is behavior suitable for children.

  3. Fights over cabinet level nominations are rare. The last one that comes to mind was John Bolton in 2005, which GWB won by making a recess appointment. Before that, there was the double disaster at the beginning of the Clinton Administration when two Attorney General nominees in a row had t step aside because of issues involving nannies who were not in the country legally. Before that, there was John Tower’s ill-fated nomination to be Bush 41’s Secretary of Defense, which was surprising considering that Tower was a former Senator and which led to Bush selecting a guy named Dick Cheney for his Secretary of Defense.

    Before `89 I can’t recall any serious fights over nominees. I don’t remember any during the Reagan years at all.

  4. @Doug Mataconis: There was also a nanny-related issue for Bush’s Sec of Labor nominee (Linda Chavez)

  5. @Steven L. Taylor:

    Ah yes, I had forgotten about that one.

    I’m honestly not sure if there were any serious challenges to cabinet nominees before John Tower in 89. Like I said none that I can remember. Heck, I don’t think there had ever been a Supreme Court nominee rejected until Nixon nominated Hayneworth and Carswell in 1970.

  6. stonetools says:

    Well, it sounds like sensible advice. Sadly, I expect the Republicans to do the opposite.

  7. @stonetools:

    Based on her advocacy of the absurd “Responsibility To Protect” Doctrine, I don’t want Susan Rice anywhere near Foggy Bottom for the next four years.

  8. Stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I don’t remember a “responsibility to protect” doctrine. Maybe you can spell out your objections to her in a later post.

  9. Geek, Esq. says:

    Don’t forget Bernie Kerik, Department of Homeland Security nominee.

  10. Geek, Esq. says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Any Obama nominee is going to have that stand, because that’s what Obama believes.