Postscript: The Clinton Cabinet

  • Anthony J. Bennett


This book sets out to study the institution of the president’s cabinet during the seven administrations from Kennedy to Bush. However, we now have another president’s cabinet to study with the advent of the Clinton administration in January 1993. During the 1992 presidential election campaign, Governor Clinton made no promises regarding the use of his cabinet. It would have been surprising had he done so. For Bill Clinton saw himself as the Kennedy-style politician, someone who thrived on the cut and thrust of brainstorming sessions, think-ins and open-ended discussions. He was not in the Eisenhower or Bush mould of formal meetings with fixed memberships and prepared agendas. And, as we have seen, presidents tend to institute the modus operandi with which they feel comfortable. As Governor of California, Ronald Reagan had a strictly organised system of cabinet councils. As President Reagan, he would institute the same system in the White House. As Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton was someone who had a ‘tendency to straggle and talk to anyone who wanted to talk to him’ and whose management style was described as ‘loose’ and ‘free-ranging’.1 This was not a politician who was going to think in terms of cabinet meetings, cabinet councils and formal lines of structure when he got to the White House. So no promises here of ‘cabinet government’.


Attorney General Press Conference Clinton Presidency Roll Call Vote Cabinet Member 
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10 Postscript: The Clinton Cabinet

  1. 1.
    David Marannis, First in His Class (1995), pp. 362–3.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Elizabeth Drew, On the Edge: The Clinton Presidency (1994), p. 189.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Leslie H. Gelb, ‘Who Gets What Jobs’, New York Times, 5 November 1992, p. A35.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Gwen Ifell, ‘People in Line for Jobs’, New York Times, 13 November 1992, p. A19.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    Judy Mann, ‘A Cabinet That Looks Like America’, The Washington Post, 18 December 1992, p. E3.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    Richard E. Neustadt, Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan (1990), p. 247.Google Scholar
  7. 26.
    Burt Solomon, ‘They May Look Like America, But What Help Are They Now?’, National Journal, 17 December 1994, p. 2986.Google Scholar
  8. 30.
    Ann Devroy, ‘Loops of Power Snarl in Clinton White House’, The Washington Post, 3 April 1994, p. A20.Google Scholar
  9. 32.
    Kitty Higgins, in an interview with the author, April 1995.Google Scholar
  10. 36.
    Gerald R. Ford, A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford (1979), p. 147.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anthony J. Bennett 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony J. Bennett
    • 1
  1. 1.Charterhouse, SurreyUK

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