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Nov 17 2004

Bush Cabinet Resignations

On Monday, four of President Bush's cabinet secretaries resigned, bringing to six the total number of cabinet members to resign since his re-election and to just eight the total number who have resigned from Bush's original 2001 cabinet. Some of the media have covered the resignations correctly as being no big deal, par for the course and representative of far less turnover than prior two-term administrations.

Sadly, some of the media and blogosphere have characterized the resignations as a major shakeup, as evidence of dissension in the ranks or indicative of some other nefarious goings on within the administration.


Here are the facts. After new appointees have taken their positions, the Bush cabinet will have had 23 people in 15 cabinet positions. Compare this to 29 people in 14 positions during the Clinton administration and 33 people in 13 positions during the Reagan administration. Clearly, put in a historical perspective, the Bush cabinet resignations are not at all unusual and possibly even evidence of greater loyalty and less discord among his top advisers. Continue reading for a full list of Regan, Clinton and Bush cabinet members.

[UPDATE August 27, 2007] On the very good suggestion of a commenter, I am updating this post and will update it again around the time President Bush leaves office. At this time, with the resignation of Attorney General Gonzales, the Bush cabinet will have had 31 people in 15 cabinet positions. If you consider the same 14 cabinet positions that existed under Clinton (no Secretary of Homeland Security) Bush would have had 29 different cabinet members, the same as Clinton.

Accordingly, the only accurate thing that could be said at this point is that Gonzales' resignation brings President Bush closer to historical trends in turnover of cabinet members. However, the liberal mainstream media (is that redundant?) is still trying to pitch the rats-escaping-a-sinking-ship metaphor. I haven't heard one MSM talking head or color commentator tell the honest truth that there is no story in the Bush resignations, instead they simply resort to the left-wing biased play book and provide different analysis to similar or exact facts. My favorite was when the exact same unemployment rate was described under Clinton as "strong" but under Bush it was "weak"...oops! Likewise, here, the news is full of negative headlines, stories, criticisms, analogies, commentary, etc., but the simple fact is, there still is no story.

[FINAL UPDATE Post Presidency] As of the conclusion of his Presidency, Bush had 34 total cabinet members in 15 positions. If you consider the same 14 cabinet positions that existed under Clinton (no Secretary of Homeland Security) Bush would have had 32 different cabinet members, just 3 more than Clinton. If you consider the same 13 cabinet positions that existed under Reagan (no Secretary of Homeland Security or Veterans' Affairs ) Bush would have had 29 different cabinet members, just 4 less than Reagan.

Final conclusion: the only story here is one of never ending media bias.

BUSH CABINET - FINAL Updated Through End of Presidency:

Secretary of State
Colin L. Powell (2001-2005)
Dr. Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009)

Secretary of the Treasury
Paul H. O'Neill (2001-2002)
John Snow (2003-2006)
Henry M. Paulson, Jr. (2006-2009)

Secretary of Defense
Donald H. Rumsfeld (2001-2006)
Robert M. Gates (2006-2009)

Attorney General
John Ashcroft (2001-2005)
Alberto Gonzales (2005-2007)
Gonzales Replacement (2007-2009)

Secretary of the Interior
Gale A. Norton (2001-2006)
Kirk Kempthorne (2006-2009)

Secretary of Agriculture
Ann M. Veneman (2001-2005)
Mike Johanns (2005-2008)
Ed Schafer (2008-2009)

Secretary of Commerce
Donald L. Evans (2001-2005)
Carlos Gutierrez (2005-2009)

Secretary of Labor
Elaine L. Chao (2001-2009)

Secretary of Health and Human Services
Tommy G. Thompson (2001-2005)
Michael O. Leavitt (2005-2009)

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Melquiades R. Martinez (2001-2003)
Alphonso Jackson (2003-2008)
Steve Preston (2008-2009)

Secretary of Transportation
Norman Y. Mineta (2001-2006)
Mary E. Peters (2006-2009)

Secretary of Energy
Spencer Abraham (2001-2005)
Samuel W. Bodman (2005-2009)

Secretary of Education
Roderick R. Paige (2001-2005)
Margaret Spellings (2005-2009)

Secretary of Veterans' Affairs
Anthony Principi (2001-2005)
Jim Nicholson (2005-2007)
James Peake (2007-2009)

Secretary of Homeland Security
Tom Ridge (2003-2005)
Michael Chertoff (2005-2009)

TOTAL Updated = 34 people (15 positions)


Secretary of State
Warren M. Christopher (1993-97)
Madeleine Albright (1997-01)

Secretary of the Treasury
Lloyd Bentsen (1993-94)
Robert E. Rubin (1995-99)
Lawrence H. Summers (1999-01)

Secretary of Defense
Les Aspin (1993-94)
William J. Perry (1994-97)
William S. Cohen (1997-01)

Attorney General
Janet Reno (1993-01)

Secretary of the Interior
Bruce Babbitt (1993-01)

Secretary of Agriculture
Mike Espy (1993-95)
Dan Glickman (1995-01)

Secretary of Commerce
Ronald H. Brown (1993-96)
Mickey Kantor (1996-97)
William M. Daley (1997-00)
Norman Y. Mineta (2000-01)

Secretary of Labor
Robert B. Reich (1993-97)
Alexis Herman (1997-01)

Secretary of Health and Human Services
Donna E. Shalala (1993-01)

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Henry G. Cisneros (1993-97)
Andrew M. Cuomo (1997-01)

Secretary of Transportation
Federico F. Peña (1993-97)
Rodney Slater (1997-01)

Secretary of Energy
Hazel R. O'Leary (1993-97)
Frederico F. Peña (1997-98)
Bill Richardson (1998-01)

Secretary of Education
Richard W. Riley (1993-01)

Secretary of Veterans' Affairs
Jesse Brown (1993-98)
Togo D. West Jr. (1998-00)

TOTOAL = 29 people (14 positions)


Secretary of State
Alexander M. Haig Jr. (1981-82)
George P. Shultz (1982-89)

Secretary of the Treasury
Donald T. Regan (1981-85)
James A. Baker III (1985-88)
Nicholas F. Brady (1988-89)

Secretary of Defense
Caspar W. Weinberger (1981-87)
Frank C. Carlucci (1987-89)

Attorney General
William French Smith (1981-85)
Edwin Meese III (1985-88)
Richard L. Thornburgh (1988-89)

Secretary of the Interior
James G. Watt (1981-83)
William P. Clark (1983-88)
Donald P. Hodel (1985-89)

Secretary of Agriculture
John R. Block (1981-86)
Richard E. Lyng (1986-89)

Secretary of Commerce
Malcolm Baldrige (1981-87)
C. William Verity Jr. (1987-89)

Secretary of Labor
Raymond J. Donovan (1981-85)
William E. Brock (1985-87)
Ann Dore McLaughlin (1987-89)

Secretary of Health and Human Services
Richard S. Schweiker (1981-83)
Margaret M. Heckler (1983-85)
Otis R. Bowen (1985-89)

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Samuel R. Pierce Jr. (1981-89)

Secretary of Transportation
Andrew L. Lewis Jr. (1981-83)
Elizabeth H. Dole (1983-87)
James H. Burnley 4th (1987-89)

Secretary of Energy
James B. Edwards (1981-82)
Donald P. Hodel (1982-85)
John S. Herrington (1985-89)

Secretary of Education
Terrel H. Bell (1981-85)
William J. Bennett (1985-88)
Lauro F. Cavazos (1988-89)

TOTAL = 33 people (13 positions)

Posted by Don |


  1. Well said. When the changes were announced I wondered when the moonbats would crawl out of the woodwork to imply it's a desertion. These people can make far more money in the private sector (or unfortunately in the government-industrial complex) with far less scrutiny and idiocy.

  2. Very well said...

  3. #3
    IR said on November 21, 2004 | Reply

    I can think of 4 in the Clinton cabinet that should have resigned...and 3 others that had no business in the position to start with...

    Madeline Albright for starters...

  4. #4
    Drew said on December 6, 2006 | Reply

    You have to kidding me! You can actually defend this pig of a president we have. Colin Powell is a very honerable person who decided enough is enough! We are talking about the key players not the minions who work under them. This people are quiting because of the atrocities they are seeing. Stop voting for religious reasons and wake up!!!!

  5. #5
    Don said on December 6, 2006 | Reply

    You seem confused, a "pig of a president" would be someone who shuffles around the oval office with his pants around his ankles while leaving his DNA on the clothes of a young intern.

    I didn't vote for President Bush, twice, for religious reasons. I voted for him because I had hoped he would be conservative but, so far, he's done a poor job at that. I also voted for him because the alternative is frightening.

    If I could have one wish, it would be that liberals could be in charge of every facet of government and have every fiscal and social policy they desire immediately implemented and that we could instantly see the result 10, 50 and 100 years down the road...AND that we'd have an "undo" button so that after seeing the unbelievable havoc such policies would have on our nation, we could undo the harm and elect real conservatives who would then do the right thing.

    Your ability to mind read the real motivations of people is amazing. I can only assume you've made millions playing poker or negotiating business deals. Or, not.

    Quit looking to the government to solve your problems, look for them to leave you alone!

  6. #6
    t said on August 27, 2007 | Reply

    How about an updated version of this analysis?

  7. #7
    Conrad Chaffee said on September 11, 2007 | Reply

    You might want to check those Clinton numbers again: your list has 29 names on it, not 30.

  8. Mr. Chaffee...you are right. There is a reason I did so poorly in higher math, it wasn't the difficult concepts it was the easy ones...like counting to 29.

    The post will be revised (very slightly) to correct the error.

    Thank you very much for taking the time point out my mistake.

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