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What’s President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet Batting Average?

On Monday CHQ Chairman Richard A. Viguerie, wrote in his article, “Trump’s Administration Is More Conservative Than Reagan’s” that, “…in my 55-years of involvement in the conservative movement at the national level, there’s never been a time when conservatives occupied more positions of influence and power than they do today – and that includes the election of Ronald Reagan and during the Reagan transition.” 

And since Monday it has only gotten better.  

Trump cabinet(Tell us what you think of Trump’s Cabinet choices, take the CHQ Cabinet conservative box score poll.) 

On Wednesday, the transition announced Trump has selected conservative former Texas Governor Rick Perry as his Energy Secretary. During his three terms as Governor, Mr. Perry promoted the development of Texas’s vast oil and gas resources. His contacts in the energy industry are deep and wide, but he is not a gas and oil industry shill. While serving as Governor of Texas he pursued an “all of the above” energy strategy, including algae, biomass and solar cells. Also worth noting is Perry’s familiarity with Pantex, the nuclear weapons facility situated in Amarillo, Texas that also falls under the DOE’s nuclear energy jurisdiction. 

After flirting with the idea of appointing establishment Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rogers of Washington as his Secretary of the Interior, President-elect Trump settled upon conservative Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana as the top manager of the Nation’s public lands. 

"Nobody values the importance of public land use better than a Westerner," Independent Petroleum Association of America President and CEO Barry Russell said in a statement. "As a conservationist hailing from the energy-producing state of Montana, Congressman Zinke understands the critical role that the Interior Department plays in balancing the effective management of our nation’s lands and waters with multiple use policies that open access to the public for conservation, recreational opportunities, job-creating economic activities, and safe, responsible energy development." 

Contrast these nominees with how George HW Bush as Vice President and James A. Baker III as White House Chief of Staff quickly filled up the Reagan administration with big government establishment Republicans:

* Wall Street insider Donald T. Regan was appointed Secretary of the Treasury,  

* Ford administration alumni Gen. Alexander Haig became Secretary of State,   

* Prominent corporate lawyer William French Smith became Attorney General,   

* Illinois Ag Commissioner John Block was appointed Secretary of Agriculture,   

* Liberal Republican Senator Richard S. Schweiker was appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services,   

* Establishment Republican Drew Lewis became Secretary of Transportation,   

* Rockefeller Republican Samuel R. Pierce was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development,   

* Establishment Republican politician James B. Edwards was Secretary of Energy,   

* Longtime Republican education administrator Terrel H. Bell ran the Department of Education that Reagan had vowed to eliminate.  

Of course, as Mr. Viguerie pointed out, conservatives weren’t entirely shut out of the early Reagan administration.  

We had great committed conservatives like Casper Weinberger at Defense, Jim Watt at Interior, and Edwin Meese III, Richard Allen, Judge William Clark and Marty Anderson in other key positions. And we had some good conservatives in subcabinet positions, such as Don Devine at OPM, Gerald P. Carmen at GSA, Gary Bauer at Education, Frank Gaffney at the Pentagon, Doug Bandow as a Special Assistant to the President, Becky Norton Dunlap at Presidential Personnel, and T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr., as Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, among them.  

But contrast that record to where we stand today with Donald Trump as President-elect.  

Trump’s campaign evolved into a potent coalition of conservatives and populists, run by movement conservatives Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon and David Bossie.  

The campaign was framed by conservatives and run on conservative issues; reestablishing American sovereignty, winning the war Islam has declared on America, enforcing immigration laws, law and order, ending the war on religion, ending corruption and crony government, cutting taxes and waste, encouraging economic growth and rebuilding the military to name but a few of the key issues in the campaign.  

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, which establishment Republicans predicted would be a defeat of epic proportion, the Republican Party, particularly in the states, is the strongest it's been in 80 years.  

Republicans now dominate state government, with control of 32 state legislatures (17 with veto proof majorities) and 33 governors elected, the GOP controls 68 state legislative chambers and Democrats control just 31.  

And Trump has given conservatives key roles in his administration:

* The Vice President-elect is Indiana movement conservative Governor Mike Pence,  

* Limited government constitutional conservative icon Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama will be nominated Attorney General,  

* EPA will be headed by conservative Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt,  

* Conservative Rep. Mike Pompeo will head the Central Intelligence Agency,  

* Business turnaround expert, and Allen West supporter, Wilbur Ross will head the Commerce Department,  

* Iran nuclear deal critic and retired four-star Marine general, James "Mad Dog" Mattis, will head the Pentagon,  

* Pro-life conservative doctor and Obamacare critic Rep. Tom Price will head Health and Human Services,   

* Illegal immigration and war on drugs hawk General John Kelly will head the Department of Homeland Security,  

* Cultural conservative Dr. Ben Carson will head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

What’s more, key Cabinet appointees who seem to have more establishment Republican backgrounds, such as Department of Education Secretary designate Betsy DeVos and Labor Secretary designate Andrew Puzder, have publicly embraced Trump’s conservative populist agenda.  

DeVos, who had seemed to back Common Core in the past, appeared on stage at Trump’s Michigan “thank you rally” to say making education great again means “finally putting an end to the federal Common Core.”  

And Puzder, a successful fast-food entrepreneur who had previously seemed to support more foreign workers entering the American workforce said, “My job as the Secretary of Labor, if confirmed, is to serve U.S. citizen workers – that is my moral and constitutional duty. The public spoke loud and clear in this election, and delivered a mandate to protect American workers. It makes no economic sense to spend trillions on welfare and jobless benefits for out of work Americans while bringing in foreign workers to fill jobs in their place… As Secretary of Labor, I will fiercely defend American workers and implement my piece of the ten point plan the President-elect laid out.”  

And unlike the situation after Reagan was elected, conservative superstar Steve Bannon has been brought into the White House as Chief Strategist to hold the conservative populist coalition together by making sure the administration delivers on Trump’s campaign promises.  

Not long after Ronald Reagan was elected Lou Cannon of The Washington Post, interviewed an anonymous “senior Reagan transition official.” When Cannon asked him what conservatives and the Religious Right, who had been so instrumental in Reagan’s election, would get out of the new administration this senior official said, “We’re going to give ‘em symbolism.”  

And in many, but not all, areas, that’s what conservatives, especially cultural conservatives, got.   

As great as Ronald Reagan was, today is better for conservatives, said Mr. Viguerie. While Trump won’t bat 1000 any more than Reagan did, conservatives are in positions of real power in this administration, and it appears we can count on getting much more than symbolism out of Donald Trump.

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