A Bush Cabinet would likely have familiar faces. Seasoned Washington hands expected to occupy top posts
Washington — If George Bush captures the White House, insiders expect him to appoint a Cabinet chock-full of well-known, Establishment figures. But Mr. Bush also will insist on another quality: He will demand that Cabinet members be pragmatic, can-do people who get results quickly and efficiently.
According to insiders, Bush has spent little time so far pondering the makeup of his Cabinet if he wins the election Nov. 8. They doubt that he has firmly decided upon most of the positions.
They say, however, that there are obvious choices for the top four or five Cabinet slots in the next administration - none of whom would be a big surprise.
Horace Busby, a veteran political analyst, suggests that Bush already has about half his Cabinet in place - current members of the Reagan administration.
Party insiders generally agree. A number of Republicans, who asked that they not be identified, offered this partial list of the early front-runners:
James A. Baker III for secretary of state. Mr. Baker, the Bush campaign chairman, has also served as secretary of the Treasury and White House chief of staff during President Reagan's first term.
John Tower for secretary of defense. Mr. Tower, a former senator from Texas, has long experience in defense matters. But some sources suggest that the current defense secretary, Frank Carlucci, might be asked to stay in place.
Nicholas Brady for secretary of the Treasury. No surprise there. He already has the job.
Dick Thornburgh for attorney general. He just took over that post for President Reagan, and early reviews are very positive. Everyone expects him to stay.
It is also suggested that the newly appointed secretary of education, Lauro F. Cavazos, will be asked to remain in his post. Dr. Cavazos, a Democrat, is the first Mexican-American member of the Cabinet, and his presence would fulfill Bush's vow to put a Hispanic in a top administration job.
At the time of his appointment, there was speculation that Bush had promised to retain Cavazos in the education post if he (Bush) won the election - as a means of courting Hispanic voters. The Bush campaign strongly denied any promise was made, but insiders say that would not preclude selecting Cavazos for the new Cabinet.
Beyond those five, there is no indication that Bush has made any decisions, or even winnowed the list of potential contenders.
The position of secretary of the interior, for example, is critical for states in the West, where most of the land is under the ownership of the federal government. The Interior Department is so important to the Western states that they often think of the interior secretary as their landlord, says an assistant to Sen. Alan Simpson (R) of Wyoming.
It is expected that Senator Simpson, a strong Bush supporter, will have a voice in drawing up a list of potential candidates for the Interior post. But so far, according to his office, there appears to be no leading contender.
The top spot in the Agriculture Department will be closely watched because of recent hard times in the Farm Belt.
Cooper Evans, a former congressman from Iowa, is sometimes mentioned for the position, as is former Iowa Gov. Bob Ray. However, there is no indication from Bush sources that anyone has the inside track.
Sometimes it is easier to identify people who might get a Cabinet position than to pinpoint the specific job they might be asked to fill.
For example, Robert Mosbacher, the Bush finance chairman and a longtime friend from Houston, sometimes is mentioned as a potential Cabinet member - either at the Energy or Commerce Departments. Mr. Mosbacher is an independent oil and gas producer.
Another prospect: Gov. John Sununu of New Hampshire. The governor might end up at Energy, but one source suggests he would also be a likely candidate for White House chief of staff.
Lynn Martin, an Illinois congresswoman, might be considered to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Others, however, say Mrs. Martin probably would not want to give up her spot on Capitol Hill, where she has a leadership post as vice-chairman of the Republican Conference. She is running for the chairmanship of the Republican Conference in December.
Family considerations could also be a factor for Mrs. Martin. As a congresswoman, she travels frequently back to Illinois, where her husband is a federal judge. But as a member of the Cabinet, she would be tied to a desk in Washington.
Ann McLaughlin, the current labor secretary, is sometimes mentioned for her current post in a Bush Cabinet. But insiders say they expect Bush to pick his own Labor Department chief, as he well may do for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Former Treasury official Richard Darman has been mentioned as a possible head of the budget office.
Insiders note that Bush has a keen interest in defense and foreign affairs, and will be personally involved in both.
``He'll be his own secretary of state,'' one Republican close to Bush predicts.
Another Republican notes that with prospects growing that Bush will win the White House, 1989 shapes up as a great year for Texas politicians.
Bush, a Texas transplant, would sit in the Oval Office. Baker, another Texan, would be at State. Tower could be at Defense. Cavazos would be at Education. Mr. Mosbacher might have a top post. And on the Democratic side, Lloyd Bentsen would be running the Senate Finance Committee, while Rep. Jim Wright is Speaker of the House.
Seldom has any single state had such clout.