George Bush promised a Cabinet of "new faces," but his final team more close
ly resembles a group photograph of old-timers from previous Republican administrations.The president-elect completed his selections on Thursday by naming retired Adm. James D. Watkins as energy secretary and William Bennett as drug czar.
The two are typical of other Bush appointments. Both have previous top-level government experience: Bennett as President Reagan's education secretary and Watkins as chief of naval operations and chairman of Reagan's presidential commission on AIDS.
In the past, Bush said "stay tuned" when he was asked about those new faces. But now that the lineup is complete, the new faces are hard to pick out.
The president-elect told reporters en route to a Florida fishing weekend Friday that it was a matter of defining old and new.
"I never pledged that I would have a totally inexperienced Cabinet," he said. "There's a lot of new faces in the Cabinet. It depends how you define new - new from the old (Reagan administration) Cabinet, not new from having no experience in Washington.
"I want an experienced Cabinet. That's exactly what we've got."
Nearly all the top-level positions in the Bush administration will be filled by people who, like Bush, are middle-aged, middle-of-the road Republicans. Most, like him, have resumes long in years of government service.
In fact, of the government's 14 principal Cabinet agencies, only three will be headed by Washington outsiders: Texas oilman Robert Mosbacher at Commerce, Atlanta educator Louis Sullivan at Health and Human Services and Chicago mass transit official Samuel Skinner at Transportation.
Asked where the rest of the new faces are, Bush aides have suggested they'll be at sub-Cabinet levels of government.
Bush himself has insisted that his Cabinet does have its share of new faces - or at least old faces in new jobs.
"I set a goal for a broad-based Cabinet, experienced people, experienced people," Bush said in an interview earlier this week with USA Today. "I think we've got it."
Three members of Bush's new Cabinet are direct holdovers from Reagan's - Dick Thornburgh as attorney general, Nicholas Brady as treasury secretary and Lauro Cavazos as education secretary. He also announced that CIA Director William Webster and presidential spokesman Marlin Fitzwater would keep their jobs.
Eight other top-level Bush appointees once held Cabinet or other high-level posts under Reagan.
They include: Bennett; Watkins; former Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole, who is Bush's choice for labor secretary; former Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter, chosen for agriculture secretary; and former Treasury Secretary James A. Baker III, to be Bush's secretary of state.
Also, Edward J. Derwinski, an undersecretary of state who was chosen as secretary of veterans affairs; Richard Darman, a former deputy treasury secretary who will be Bush's budget director; and Thomas Pickering, U.S. ambassador to Israel who will be U.N. ambassador.
Bush picked two retiring veterans of the House for his Cabinet: former rival Jack Kemp of New York for housing and urban development, and Manuel Lujan of New Mexico for interior.
And he reached into pre-Reagan GOP administrations for two of his selections, picking Carla Hills, who had been HUD secretary in the Ford administration, as his trade representative; and naming Brent Scowcroft as national security adviser, the same job he'd held under Ford.
Three sub-Cabinet posts filled by Bush do qualify as newcomers, however: New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu as his chief of staff; Stanford University economist Michael Boskin as chief White House economist; and conservationist William Reilly to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
In all, Bush's Cabinet contains one black (Sullivan), two Hispanics (Lujan and Cavazos), and two women (Dole and Hills).
And what advice did Bush give his new team?
Bush met with them Thursday evening. But before the event, he told reporters his advice would include "think big."
And, Bush added, "I'm going to tell them I don't like `kiss and tell' books."