Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Rock 'N' Roll Cabinet

Poor Barack Obama. Not only must he step into one of the most untenable situations that any president has inherited, but he must do so amid already palpable levels of skepticism and criticism. The skepticism from the right is to be expected, but in recent days there has emerged criticism from the left, with some interests upset that Obama's likely cabinet will be comprised more of centrists, Washington elite, and Clinton-era retreads (or actual Clintons), than fresh-faced, mandate-endowed, change-obsessed change makers.

In fact, in picking a bunch of pragmatic but boring politicians to fill his cabinet, Obama missed out on a golden opportunity to continue the momentum from his campaign. His opponent in the election called him "the biggest celebrity in the world." And while the president-elect's Q-Rating no doubt remains high, he could have energized the American people even more by ratcheting up the star power of his administration by promoting actual celebrities to positions of power. But not just any celebrities would do--we need celebs who would help this nation regain its swagger, celebs with attitude and panache, people with revolutionary ideal and boundless enthusiasm. In short, we need rock 'n' rollers. So without further ado, is is one suggestion for the nation's first rock 'n' roll Cabinet:

Secretary of State: This one is a no-brainer. Given that he may have already made more diplomatic visits to foreign leaders than Obama himself at this point, Paul Hewson, otherwise known as Bono, is the obvious choice. Some people might say, "You can't have a foreigner in the Cabinet!" To them, I would reply "Yes we can."

Secretary of the Treasury: Paul McCartney. By virtue of being the world's richest rock star, he knows a thing or two about fiscal policy (he's learned a lot since the Apple days). Part of the reason the Beatles broke up was because he was the only one smart enough not to let Allen Klein manage their money. One drawback is he'll have to learn how to think in terms of dollars instead of pounds.

Secretary of Defense: To the best of my knowledge, only one rocker has consulted for the Defense Department--former Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, an expert in missile defense technology, gets the nomination.

Attorney General: This one is tough because rockers are not known for being strict adherents to civil or criminal code. Sting is a candidate because of his experience in the Police. Alice Cooper has built entire stage shows around the concept of crime and punishment. But as far as I know, only one rock star has ever been shot trying to apprehend a criminal. Ray Davies of the Kinks deserves the nod.

Secretary of the Interior: Here is where Obama gets to make good on his campaign promise of a bipartisan cabinet. (Actually, Skunk Baxter is a conservative, but he never said he wouldn't pick two Republicans). This job has Ted Nugent's name written all over it. As a bonus, the nomination hearings would be must-see TV.

Secretary of Agriculture: Levon Helm, former drummer for the Band, put out an album last year called "Dirt Farmer." One of the Band's best songs was "King Harvest." But he's the back-up choice. Assuming Willie Nelson has his taxes paid up, and can keep his mouth shut about 9/11 Conspiracy theories, the Farm-Aid organizer is the man in line for the job. And if that were to come to pass, look for a sharp uptick in hemp futures.

Secretary of Commerce: Has any person in the history of the world succeeded in promoting more commerce with less substance than Gene Simmons? This guy is a walking economic stimulus package.

Secretary of Labor: Ryan Adams could probably cut an album every day if his record company would let him. Someone this prolific obviously understands labor.

Secretary of Health and Human Services: This one, like Attorney General, is not an easy one given that rockers struggle in this area. Scott Ian of Anthrax perhaps deserves some consideration. But when it comes down to it, the job description for this position involves helping people avoid death. And nobody knows more about this subject than Keith Richards, who will one day walk this world with cockroaches as his only companions.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Our cabinet to this point is pretty white. And I don't think you can pick a white rocker to head a department with the word "urban" in the title, so this is a good chance to add some diversity. Apparently, there is a Columbus, Ohio-based rapper who bills himself as "Urban Development," so I'm inclined to give him the job.

Secretary of Transportation: There are lots of good choices here. Rockers, by virtue of their touring lifestyles, know more about transportation than most of us. But one man in particular has been on what his fans call a "Never Ending Tour" since the first Bush first took office. One of his most respected albums is named after a highway (61), he has recorded an additional song about a different highway (51), and another song about a street (Positively Fourth). He is also acquainted with the dangers involved in transportation, having suffered a near-fatal motorcycle crash. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, as your new Secretary of Transportation, Columbia Recording artist Bob Dylan.

Secretary of Energy: This one is very easy. Until another rocker comes along and builds a hybrid-electric car (albeit with the help of a Kansas engineer), and then writes an essay about American energy policy, Neil Young has no competition.

Secretary of Education: Sheryl Crow was once a teacher, and it would be nice to have a woman on the cabinet. But Roger Waters wrote the most searing indictment of pedagogical malpractice in rock history. Now, it should be his job to figure out what should substitute for "thought control" and "dark sarcasm in the classroom."

Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Since Elvis and Jimi Hendrix were both military vets, they would make fine choices if they were still alive. But given that resurrecting the dead is something that even Obama apparently can't pull off, we have a more limited pool to choose from. Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains, in writing the song "Rooster," demonstrates a good understanding of veterans affairs, so we'll give him the job.

Secretary of Homeland Security: Security and rock 'n' roll have had a checkered association (for example, see Woodstock '94 and Altamont '69). But in actuality, the goal of this department is to prevent terrorist attacks. And one way to do this is to terrorize the terrorists, to strike fear into their hearts. So the logical thing to do is to nominate the scariest man in America for this position. And fortunately, this position is last in line for presidential succession, so we don't have to worry about Michael Jackson inhabiting the Oval Office.

I'm thinking that if President-Elect Obama went with this group, he would go a long way toward appeasing his critics. And hey, in the worst case scenario that these guys would turn out to be bad governmental administrators, at least Inauguration Day would be a heck of a party.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Obama already was a rock star.

I honestly no joking around believe he should have sheep graze on the whitehouse lawn:

4:28 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

I think any member from GWAR would do wonders for the veterans affairs position..


4:53 PM  
Blogger Jessi said...

Obama, Obama, Obama. I wish we would see some changes already. Like maybe it could rain money or something? That would be awesome! Hope he makes it happen! :-)

5:48 PM  
Blogger Azor said...

GWAR: bwa-ha-ha. I was actually thinking about them for Homeland Security, but thought that Jacko was even scarier.

6:25 PM  
Blogger What's in a Name? said...

This is sooooo funny. :) Definitely some diversity is needed in the Obama machine. As it stands, I worry that a bomb might be planted at the Harvard-Yale football game, effectively wiping out the majority of the cabinet in one fell swoop.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Claire Voiante said...

Too feakn' funny, to be sure...

I am certainly excited about what an Obama presidency will bring to our beleaguered nation. He is very articulate to be sure, and seemingly has the intellect and composure to be successful in the highest office of the most powerful nation on earth. However, I am a little skeptical about his level of experience, alleged ties to unsavory organizations and religious affiliations. I voted for him, primarily because of bitterness at the incompetence of the Bush administration. I remain disenfranchised with America so far in the 21st Century, and came across a political graphic that does a fairly good job in capturing this sentiment.

2:38 PM  

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