While there is much talk about high-profile cabinet posts like State, Defense, and Justice, there are lower-profile posts that will still attract both interested parties and occasional controversies. The Department of the Interior is among them. Prospects for that cabinet secretary include oil baron Forrest Lucas (a big contributor to Mike Pence’s gubernatorial campaigns), venture capitalist Robert Grady, Donald Trump, Jr., and Sarah Palin.
Randall O’Toole spots much better picks, with a better strategy, than the leading contenders:
As Secretary, either Palin or Lucas would be likely to try to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration and extraction. Bush tried this in 2001 and the environmentalists successfully prevented it. Instead of going after the most controversial piece of ground in the nation, Bush should have–and Trump should–start with opening less controversial areas to show that oil development is compatible with wildlife and other resources.
In the same way, instead of controversial figures like Palin or Lucas, Trump could ask Gary Johnson to be Secretary of the Interior. As a former western governor, Johnson is more familiar with public lands than Lucas. As a dedicated free marketeer, Johnson won’t be committed to one resource over all others; instead, he will try to find ways to maximize the value of all of them together.
Johnson’s Libertarian candidacy shouldn’t make him unacceptable, but if it does, how about current Arizona Governor Doug Ducey? As former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, Ducey isn’t identified with one natural resource or another. As a fiscally conservative Republican, Ducey should fit right in with Trump’s agenda.
I would be stunned if Johnson got an offer, let alone took the job, but then being stunned isn’t so rare as it once was. O’Toole’s right, though, to expect better than the conventional options (or certainly the unconventional option of Trump’s namesake.)