I was generally thinking to myself that Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees had a pattern in common (though not true of all of them). The pattern was that some of them seemed to have been in opposition to the goals and mission of the department that they are slated to head.
I guess I wasn't the only person thinking that. Katrina vanden Heuvel of the Washington Post had a recent column in which she stated similar thoughts, more clearly than I could. Because she did it so well, I've excerpted freely below.
Sham populism, shameless plutocracy
"With his sham populism giving way to shameless plutocracy, it appears increasingly likely that Trump will attempt to reverse more than the progress achieved over the past eight years under President Obama. The tremendous advances and reforms of the 20th century — from the New Deal to the Great Society — may be on the chopping block.
So far, Trump’s Cabinet picks offer perhaps the clearest evidence of how he intends to govern and how much is really at stake. In addition to surrounding himself with billionaires, bankers and crony capitalists, Trump has nominated several candidates to run federal agencies whose functions they fundamentally oppose on ideological grounds. As Jamelle Bouie writes of Trump’s Cabinet in Slate, “It’s less a team for governing the country than a mechanism for dismantling its key institutions.”
Take his choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is not just skeptical of “excessive” regulations; he is a climate change denier who’s been waging a legal war against the EPA. Health and Human Services nominee Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) is not just a critic of the Affordable Care Act; he is openly opposed to what he calls “the federal government’s intrusion into medicine through Medicare.” Former Texas governor Rick Perry is not just underqualified to lead the Department of Energy; he famously wants to abolish it — when he can manage to remember the department’s name."
"This troubling pattern among Trump’s nominees points to a clear overarching goal: stripping the federal government of its power, in nearly every arena, to strengthen the hand of private enterprise. For all the discussion of how Trump isn’t a “normal” politician, this has long been the fundamental purpose of right-wing conservatism."
So we'll have to see how successful they are in ripping down what it has taken decades and administrations to build up.