The day after he endorsed Donald Trump at the billionaire’s Bethpage rally, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano was asked if he expected to be appointed secretary of state or defense.
“Still negotiating,” he quipped to Hempstead Town Board member Bruce Blakeman — who was overheard making the light-hearted query when they met up at a public appearance Thursday in Woodmere.
The two were just bantering. But this month’s rare confluence of competitive New York primaries has some local activists trying to make a splash — perhaps in hopes of more than just the psychic reward of seeing an executive branch more to their liking next year in Washington.
Who’s in the hunt? “Everybody,” said Kevin McCabe, a consultant who worked on the Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry presidential campaigns. He amended that to say, “Anybody under the age of 45 . . . Everyone over 45 has been there and done that.”
“There are any number of people,” McCabe added. “It’s different now from before, when people were willing to pay dues in the party, labor anonymously, work in the vineyards. Now everybody wants to make their reputations by themselves, to start at the top. They want to be seen.”
Party dynamics don’t tell the whole story of White House staffing, of course. When Democrat Barack Obama became president, he took a couple of top New York City officials who were serving in the administration of the nominally Republican mayor Michael Bloomberg.
One was Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who’d been the city’s health commissioner; another, Shaun Donovan, who was city housing commissioner and later Housing and Urban Development secretary.
But there are all manner of federal roles and posts for both the qualified and the connected. There’s also the benefit of free buzz at times like this.
One well-known Suffolk Democrat suggested a role for retiring Rep. Steve Israel next year in a new Clinton administration. Israel held a “Conversation on Gun Violence Prevention” with Clinton on Monday at Landmark Theater in Port Washington.
Or, there’s Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs, who has made the former secretary of state’s campaign a personal priority, and hosted her Monday for a fundraiser in Glen Cove.
The candidates will trek across many more counties and states before they’re done. But any of them could use as a campaign song the old Eurythmics hit if only for its lyric: “Everybody’s looking for something.”