In his 2003 bestseller Moneyball, author Michael Lewis recounts how former Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane recruited and organized a winning ball club based entirely on players’ ability to get on base, even if it meant putting them in roles in which they had little experience.

President-elect Trump’s selection of Cabinet members may incorporate parts of the same strategy. Rather than picking a team based on individual experience, Trump’s staffing decisions could be based on the overall abilities of his nominees.

It’s either that, or he’s making it up as he goes.

Trump has so far asked retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to head the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The president-elect has also asked charter school advocate Betsy DeVos to serve as secretary of education, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as his U.N. ambassador and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., as attorney general.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is also reportedly being considered for secretary of state.

The DeVos and Sessions selections make sense based on their career experiences. The Haley and Carson nods, and the Romney rumors, are a bit of a head-scratcher.

As a state lawmaker and governor, Haley has little formal experience in foreign policy. In fact, this would be her first job in the federal government. And Carson, whose entire professional background is in medicine, has no experience in housing assistance, housing laws or anything HUD-related, really.

The Romney suggestion isn’t too baffling, as several presidential would-bes — including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Henry Clay, William Jennings Bryan and Charles Evans Hughes — have gone on to serve in this role.

However, considering Romney’s professional background in business, as well as his background as a governor, perhaps it would have made more sense to place him in a role tailored more to his experiences, like Commerce, Labor or even Treasury.

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“Trump has chosen the most ideological, anti-public [education] nominee since the creation of the Dept. of Education.”

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Likewise, it seems Haley’s and Carson’s respective talents might be better suited for other jobs. Carson, for example, seems like an obvious choice for secretary of Health and Human Services, or for surgeon general if he prefers a smaller role.

Still, some have been cheered by the developments in Trump’s forthcoming cabinet — particular the rumors regarding Romney.

Romney, who was roundly mocked in 2012 for accurately and correctly characterizing Russia as the United States’ No. 1 geopolitical foe, would also likely to do well in the role, according to the Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker.

A few things could explain Trump’s selections. He could be, as some critics have suggested, simply picking names out of a hat and assigning roles based on his mood. Or he could be filling out his Cabinet with an eye to a much larger strategy, much like how Beane filled out his winning roster.

It’s perhaps worth noting that Trump’s son-in-law and campaign adviser, Jared Kushner, referenced Michael Lewis’ 2003 book specifically when explaining their campaign strategy.

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“We played moneyball, asking ourselves which states will get the best [return on investment] for the electoral vote,” Kushner said. “I asked, ‘How can we get Trump’s message to that consumer for the least amount of cost?'”

Though his remarks are a specific reference to how the Athletics managed to field a winning team with a fraction of the budget of some of the bigger ball clubs, the idea of sticking players in certain unfamiliar roles with an eye on a larger return on investment was also a big part of the success of Beane’s strategy.

If Trump and company are familiar with the budget-stretching part of Moneyball, they’re likely familiar with the unorthodox staffing part as well. That could explain some of the recent cabinet nods, unless Trump really is making it up as he goes.

Trump adds to his team with three well-known DC outsiders

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President-elect Trump added three well-known D.C. outsiders to major posts in his growing administration just before the Thanksgiving break.

On Wednesday, Trump said he would nominate South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley — someone he occasionally battled with during the campaign — to serve as his ambassador to the United Nations. The role, he said, will be a cabinet-level position in his administration.

Trump also announced plans to nominate Michigan’s Betsy DeVos — a strong proponent of school choice — as his secretary of education.

And former neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a Trump primary rival turned confidante, hinted to his followers Wednesday of a forthcoming announcement about his “role in

11/23/16 3:53 PM

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