Is Cabinet Consistent with Presidential Ideology?

Article excerpt

As coverage of the 2012 presidential race gains steam, so begins the hypothesizing: what would a Mitt Romney Administration look like? Would a second term for Barack Obama mean a cabinet shake-up? While conventional political wisdom holds that presidents surround themselves with allies who are in lockstep with their political beliefs, a study by the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, shows the opposite more often is true.

Relying on millions of pages of Congressional testimony, the study showed 85% of cabinet members in the Bill Clinton Administration had ideologies that diverged significantly from the President himself. The study compiled a statistical portrait of the political ideology among Cabinet members during the George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush presidencies.

Among George W. Bush's appointees, 69% differed from the president. The study also includes a graph of 63 top Cabinet secretaries and their appointing presidents, ranked on a statistical scale of liberal to conservative ideologies. Among the findings:

* John Ashcroft, despite his public perception as a staunch conservative as Attorney General under George W. Bush, was ranked far more moderate than the President. …