The administration of President George W. Bush is drawing to a close after nearly eight years in office. Therefore, it is time to assess who best fulfilled the promises made during the 2000 presidential campaign. In my opinion, that prize goes to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, the only Cabinet official to see the Bush administration through from the beginning.
The president’s first choice for labor secretary was invalidated on a technicality before ever taking office. Elaine Chao quickly was named as a replacement. At the time she was a senior official at the Heritage Foundation. The wife of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, Mrs. Chao is the Cabinet official with one of the lowest profiles. Yet she has the best record of accomplishment of anyone in the Bush administration.
Mrs. Chao is a native of Taiwan, who came to the United States when she was only 8 years of age. She, more than anyone in the Bush administration, has an appreciation for the United States as a land of opportunity. Beginning with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, the Labor Department was a wholly owned subsidiary of organized labor. Even under Republican administrations this was true. President Ronald W. Reagan changed that by appointing Raymond J. Donovan, a businessman, as secretary. Mr. Donovan enraged the unions by doing away with their various slush funds. The unions went after him and literally drove him from office. President George H.W. Bush appointed Elizabeth H. Dole, now a senator from North Carolina, to the position. She held the line against the unions but fundamentally did not reform the bureaucracy.