“Hello, I must be going,” was one of Groucho Marx’s most notable lines—and perhaps a fitting coda to the Cabinet careers of several top Obama officials, expected to leave after his first term is complete.
By our count, at least half a dozen are expected to exit over the next several months, most notably Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said last month he’d decline another term, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has reportedly told friends he wants to take a private sector job in Colorado.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu hasn’t publicly declared his intentions, but after the Solyndra debacle, his chances of staying are essentially nil.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will stay on out of necessity after being tapped as the President’s chief negotiator in fiscal cliff discussions.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said he has issues he still wants to tackle, including the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. But, neither Geithner nor Panetta is expected to stay for the full extent of President Obama’s second term.
There will be some familiar faces sticking around, however, including Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Eric Holder, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and the head of the Dpartment of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebelius.
Perhaps, a more apt quote for the Cabinet shake-up comes from the French novelist, Alphonse Karr, who wrote “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”