Magazine article USA TODAY

Is Cabinet Consistent with Presidential Ideology?

Magazine article USA TODAY

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. …

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