If he could, George W. Bush would be spending Tuesday naming senior members of his Cabinet. Here's how it would go: "I am proud to have Colin Powell on board to be my Secretary of State and Condi Rice as my national security adviser." Bush is understandably anxious to make that happen: naming two African Americans among his first two Cabinet officers would certainly ring a much different-sounding starting bell than incoming Republican presidents have rung in the past.
But the confusion in Florida has postponed all that, at least for while. Powell doesn't want to be a part of anything presumptive, and that has given Bush another opportunity: to see if he can talk Democrat Sam Nunn into joining his team. It would be something of a mini-coup. Nunn spent 18 years in the Senate and was his party's pivotal player on national security for most of that period. But would Nunn do it? When Clinton came in eight years ago, Nunn wanted State, not Defense. And then he tangled with Clinton over gays and the military, and left the Senate four years later. He's been quite happy in private life. One aide told us he's passed up the Pentagon job once or twice already.
If Nunn says yes, Bush's national security team would have two blacks, one female and a white southern Democrat. Not a bad start. If Nunn says no, Bush might turn to Paul Wolfowitz, a very conservative former Reagan defense official, for Defense. If Nunn says yes, Wolfowitz may go to the CIA, and then Bush could announce all four at once something for everyone in that quartet.
Contenders for other posts are: Montana governor Marc Racicot or Virginia governor Jim Gilmore for Justice; Indianapolis mayor Steven Goldsmith for Housing and Urban Development; former Bush Office of Management and Budget official Robert Grady for the EPA. Bush's choice for Treasury and Commerce will be closely watched by Wall Street, but no front-runner has yet emerged for either post.
Bush might turn a second Cabinet post over to a Democrat: The Education Department could go to Jim Hunt of North Carolina or Bill Gray, the head of the United Negro College Fund, a longtime Bush family charity. Gray would be an intriguing choice, and mean that Bush would have at least three African Americans in his Cabinet.