Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tea for the Tillerson

I don't know if it's the right approach, but once again the Donald is taking a different path:
President-elect Donald Trump has selected Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson to lead the State Department, dismissing concerns about the businessman's close ties with Russia, two people close to Trump's transition said Monday night.

Trump's decision caps a lengthy process that often played out in public and exposed rifts within his transition team. It also sets Trump up for a potential fight with Congress over confirming Tillerson, who has connections with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump's argument is that familiarity will be helpful:
In a weekend interview with "Fox News Sunday," Trump cast Tillerson's deep relations with Moscow as a selling point. As Exxon Mobil's head, he maintained close ties with Russia and was awarded by Putin with the Order of Friendship in 2013, an honor for a foreign citizen.

"A great advantage is he knows many of the players, and he knows them well. He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company," Trump said.
We're spending a lot of time worrying about Russia lately, even though we'd been assured just four years ago that Russia isn't such a problem:

When the 1980s call, do you accept the charges?

The current Secretary of State is John Kerry, the dictionary definition of a pompous ass and a figure of mockery in much of the world. It's possible that Tillerson could be worse than Kerry, but I'm not quite sure how. I might have preferred someone like Mitt Romney, but Trump's reading of the situation is understandable. In the business world, we often talk about "transferable skills" and the skill set of a CEO for a multinational corporation likely is a better fit than, say, the skill set of a pompous ass. I also imagine Tillerson will be far more likely to stick with Trump's program. That matters as well.


Bike Bubba said...

Amen. I was thinking about this, and given that nobody at State raised H*** about Mrs. Clinton's unsecured email, it strikes me that what the State Department needs is someone who understands why you need to audit your systems, and how to drive corrective actions. That certainly isn't Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Kerry.

The big risk I can see with having a bunch of corporate types take these jobs is that it will become difficult to insulate the White House from accusations of cronyism.

Gino said...

Why would Rex take such a large cut in pay?

Mr. D said...

Why would Rex take such a large cut in pay?

I’m going to assume Tillerson (and Trump) are looking at government work the same way — they’ve had their successes in life and taking on this job will be a way to give back. It’s easy to be cynical about motives, especially as our friends on Left view such matters, but it’s possible they are both sincere in taking on public service at the end of their careers. If the Lefties are right about baser motives being involved, we’ll find out soon enough. The reason I’m prepared to entertain the idea of sincerity is because most of the people decrying baser motives are people who have base motives themselves.

Gino said...

Mr d... I was thinking the same thing... Just not prepared to say it out loud.

Bike Bubba said...

I was actually talking with a coworker on Sunday (obviously we go to church together too) about where a former executive had ended up, and we were wondering whether he simply realized that he had enough money to live out his life without returning to the corporate grind. I don't know that he's done any great altruistic things, but it is nice to see (occasionally) someone who realizes that his life is not going to be any richer with the next ten million bucks.

And really, having grown up around Chicago, I'm very grateful for the contributions of people who realized that they had enough; things like Grant Park, the Field, the Adler, Science and Industry, the University of Chicago, and a whole bunch more. My mom's favorite place growing up was a lovely little Carnegie library. I don't agree with everything Field, or Adler, or Rockefeller, or Carnegie did, but they did realize "I've got enough and it's time to give something back."

Won't be holding my breath for Mr. or Mrs. Clinton to do so, of course, but some do.