To the victor goes the spoils.
Not to get in the middle of those inevitable disputes to come about the legitimacy of our election last week, the President-Elect has the freedom to select his (or her) cabinet members, a major responsibility.
It's his posse, his team, his wingmen and wingwomen. And while the past four years have reminded us these jobs are not forever appointments, who you choose and why you select them speaks volumes about your view of the country.
They are character statements, and they reflect the importance of each of these key positions, and the role they'll play over the next several years.
You have to find the right people with the appropriate experience for each of these major posts. You need to have the folks with the right mindset. And just as importantly, your appointees can contribute to the overall popularity and success of your administration.
How did this conversation get started – and yes, what does this have to with radio?
Ironically, the kernel of the idea came from a Canadian radio station – the mighty CFOX in Vancouver, and their afternoon driver, Jeremy Baker. On the day after our momentous election, here was the “5 O'Clock Question” he posed on Twitter:
Today's 5 o'clock question was “borrowed” from an EDM page, but it works for us: If Rock & Roll was a country, who would be our President? – Jeremy pic.twitter.com/mlkl8da2gD
— CFOX (@CFOXvan) November 6, 2020
I love the premise: “If rock n' roll was a country…”
So, that immediately got me thinking about how I'd fill in the Presidential org chart. Of course, neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump have any rock n' roll chops, so let's start with a newcomer to the Oval Office:
The Foo Fighters are celebrating their 25th anniversary, but Dave has had plenty of formative rock n' roll experiences, including as drummer of Nirvana. That's even cooler than clerking for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Unlike so many elder statesmen and stateswomen in rock, Grohl is a youthful 51 years-old – yes, he could be the child of either candidates in the real Presidential election. But that would be doubtful.
Grohl's a mensch, a good soul, and someone with multi-generational appeal. He knows how to gets the big stuff done, he does a great job of serving his constituents, and he even takes the time for fun stuff, like his drum challenge with 10 year-old protege, Nandi Bushell, from Ipswich, England.
But who's the Vice President – the person sitting a heartbeat away from the Oval Office?
It would have to be Joan Jett. She balances the ticket nicely, has a bit more experience than Grohl, and is badass enough to have his back, and like all good Veeps, be the attack dog when necessary.
Next up is Secretary of State, a big job that requires you be smarter than a brick. It could only be filled by someone with plenty of international, diplomatic experience. This one was a slam dunk – Bono, of course.
Secretary of the Treasury can be a tough gig, and given the state of the economy right now, the rock n' roll community needs a leader who knows how to make money. There's no wealthier, financially-savvier rocker than Paul McCartney. Plus, the cabinet benefits from the experience of a Founding Father.
For Secretary of Defense, I was looking for a change of pace – someone who's had plenty of war time experience. And that would have to be the venerable Neil Young (plus, Jeremy will retweet this post with a Canadian rocker on the team). From the early days of the Vietnam War to the Persian Gulf War, Neil has always been a voice of reason.
Then there's Attorney General. Always a distinguished, and often controversial position. From Robert Kennedy to John Mitchell to Bill Barr, this one comes with a lot of responsibility. And clearly someone who you don't want to mess with. An easy choice? Little Steven, from the E Street Band and “The Sopranos.” Better keep your nose clean.
The Secretary of Interior is in charge of our national parks and other key natural resources. Given where the climate is headed, this is a big gig. Fortunately, there's someone in the rock n' roll community especially deserving – the Eagles' Don Henley, of course.
The future of farming in this country is an increasingly more important story. Will farmers survive, and what are the most advantageous crops to the U.S. Economy in 2021 – and beyond? No doubt, our Secretary of Agriculture is Willie Nelson, an artist with plenty of growing and harvesting experience, who understands the farm-to-tour bus mindset.
The Secretary of Commerce is a key player in all those trade deals. You need an experienced hand who's been there and done that on the international stage. My call? Pete Townshend from the Who.
To be qualified to be Secretary of Labor, it helps to be a hard worker who's paid their dues. If he were still alive today, it would be tough not to select James Brown. But a better call for times like these is the honorable Tina Turner.
The Department of Health and Human Services has been in the news these past four years, especially with COVID raging. I thought about the various doctors who have faithfully served rock n' roll over the decades: Hook, John, and Feelgood stand out. Then there were the actual “doctors” – rockers who have gotten their PhD's – like Queen's Brian May. But I went for someone with even more experience who can speak to the changing demography of America – Carlos Santana.
Then there's the Secretary of HUD – Housing and Urban Development. This one requires experience, sensitivity, and credibility – someone who's truly lived in the city. Give it up for Steve Wonder.
You have to understand the in's and out's of getting around to be Secretary of Transportation. Things are changing in that domain, from electric to autonomous cars. You also want someone who's a forward thinker who pushes the envelope. I can't think of anyone more qualified than Sammy Hagar.
The Secretary of Energy ought to be…well, energetic. That's why Mick Jagger was such an easy call.
In the Trump administration, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has served all four years, a rarity. There's also been a great deal of controversy, especially with COVID and schools. My first choice, Roger Waters, who perhaps best understands the need for education, turned the gig down. Fortunately, there was a great Plan B – someone experienced with school openings and closings, Alice Cooper.
For the Department of Veterans Affairs, you want a rocker with a military record. And that's not easy to find. Fortunately, Jimi Hendrix fits the bills. (In our Cabinet, being alive is not a requirement.) Hendrix was a lousy solider, more interested in playing guitar than anything else. But at least he's experienced.
And finally, Homeland Security. You want someone with a keen sense of travel and border security, a survivor, someone who's shown a special spirit over the decades. It also helps to have cleared customs and security in hundreds of airports around the world. So, it's got to be Keith Richards. He might not serve out all four years of the Grohl Administration. Then again, he might surprise us, and outlast them all.
There are other posts worth mentioning.
President Grohl will need a great Chief of Staff – someone who's played a lot of roles over the years. I pick Prince.
The Director of National Intelligence typically has some turnover. But perhaps, if we appoint Ozzy Osbourne to the chair, we can bring some stability to the position.
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency requires a rocker who has always shown a sensitivity for the green path. I'm going with Sheryl Crowe.
The Office of Management and the Budget should be the domain of someone who played it well over the years. Eric Clapton was a top choice, but has better things to do. That's why I'm selecting Jon Bon Jovi for the gig.
There's no Poet Laureate in the Trump Administration, and the role has been missed. On Day One, President Grohl selects Bruce Springsteen for this literary position.
And finally, the Joint Chiefs of Staff needs an elder statesman who holds the utmost respect of just about everyone. Of course, that's Zeppelin's Jimmy Page.
This helped me get my mind off the political back-and-forth that punctuated our lives last week. So, those are my selections. And I welcome yours. If you want to fill out the whole cabinet, use this form.
If you just want to offer up a post or two, use “comments” below or join me on Facebook or Twitter.
As you can see from my picks, you've got a wide path to choose from. There's no reason why you can't suggest people across the musical spectrum, those who aren't American citizens, and even those who have left this earth but whose music continues to move us. If they would make great cabinet secretaries and other key appointees, let hear it.
Come to think of it, there is one rule. Kanye West should be on none of your lists, clearly the last guy you'd want to see occupying an important post.
Remember, the buck stops in the Oval Office.
President Grohl, we hail to the chief.