Obama Picks Frustrate Many Supporters

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   We are starting to get a good picture of who will be in Obama’s cabinet.  I know everything in the media these days is talking about the “new direction” of the U.S. government in 2009.  I am sure, especially compared to these last 8 years, there will be a lot of changes in 2009.  I just hope that people realize that the reality of Obama is that he is not someone who will be as aggressive with change as they might hope.  Progress will come and if we embrace what we agree with and try to understand what might not be directly in line with our own personal wishes, maybe next New Year, things will indeed be looking brighter in the world.

The biggest media frenzy has been his decision to make big use of Hillary, but his numerous choices on down the list have surprised me a bit.  Most are people who will likely be embraced by the status quo in Washington.  But many also have some surprisingly conservative and traditional views of the departments they will be heading.  But I wander, this post is about a specific pick Obama has made for his new administration.

I have received 4 emails in the past week or so asking me what I think about Obama’s choice of Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture.  I’ll be brief since there is opinion and commentary on this all over the web, even on YouTube, but my opinion is that this choice is a mistake.  I really don’t think Obama and his staff have much knowledge or concern about the state of farming today.  Vilsack is certainly a choice with experience in the agriculture world, but he is at heart a politician with deep ties to big chemical and agri-businesses.  In addition he seems to whole heartedly support genetically engineered food crops.

A man in his position, with the enthusiastic support of Monsanto, Dow, and all the other petro-chemical giants is just more of the same for the Agriculture Department.  I understand that genetically engineered crops can appear to have a big upside to them, and it may be impossible to get the GMO cat back in the bag at this point.  But if there was ever a position that cries out for a moderate selection, it is the USDA.  This choice does not seem to be that at all.

The Organic Consumers Association had a great article before the appointment that listed the following six reasons he should not be chosen.  The complete article is on their website, and a summary of the six reasons is here:

Vilsack is a huge supporter of genetically engineered crops.

The “Governor of the Year” award he is so proud of was presented by The Biotechnology Industry Organization.

He is a big fan of Trans Ova Genetics and their attempts to clone dairy cows.

He championed the Seed Pre-emption Bill in 2005 and supported other, similar legislation.

His favorite mode of air travel may be Monsanto’s private, corporate jet.

He is still a big supporter of Corn based biofuels, a technology that is being abandoned as we speak.

For further commentary, here are two links that cover both sides of this controversial choice.

The Organic Consumers Association

A view that differs from mine and the OCA,

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Will Sig
1 John Hunter

It is not likely any President will be even close to as “aggressive with change” as most would hope. In fact I believe any President is likely to be much less aggressive than they themselves want to be. The challenges of managing a huge administration are immense. The difficulty of trying to determine what is best for the country is vexing. The difficulty of dealing with the interest groups you (as President believe in) when looking at policy and personal options is daunting. The challenges of dealing with your party in Congress is frightening. And the challenges of coping with the other party in Congress and special interest groups you don’t agree with create problems even if all the previous challenges are addressed. It is much much harder to manage the government than find problems with the current system and even make proposals about what should be done.

It is perfectly sensible for people to criticize any President to challenge them to stay true to their convictions. But don’t expect any president to follow their campaign promises to closely. They may not even intend to do so when they speak, but even if they do, once they become President it isn’t as easy to make things happen that they said they wanted to make happen while campaigning.

John Hunters last blog post..The Power of Compounding

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2 Alan

I am trying very hard to take a wait and see approach and let Obama actually take office and begin governing before I heap a lot of criticism his way. But I was utterly appalled by his choice of the bigoted anti-gay preacher to give the invocation at the innaugural. Not an auspicious beginning, imho.

Alans last blog post..Being Dead No Excuse For Brownie Lovers

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3 Odzyskiwanie Danych

What’s funny here is that both sides of the issue had quite a big and vocal group of almost fanatical supporters. Now that the election is over they suddenly wake up to find the reality completely different from what they were expecting. And now they are starting to feel scared.

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4 Swubird

Will:

A very interesting article. Personally, I am not a supporter of Obama. Having said that, however, his middle of the road picks for certain high level positions have surprised me. Some of his other choices, however, have horrified me. Either way, he will be around for at least four years, so we’ll see what happens when the going gets really tough. And I do believe it will get tough. Genetically engineered crops will be the least of our problems. In my opinion, if something isn’t done right now, drinking water will become a huge issue in the next four to eight years – possible as huge as oil.

Happy trails.

Swubirds last blog post..NICOTINE FIT

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5 Aansluiten ketel

I agree with you on the fact that the entire CHANGE movement won’t be nearly as dramatic as most people think. His picks make it clear that there’s not too much radical stuff going on. I don’t know the new secretary of Agriculture, so I don’t have an opinion about him.

Aansluiten ketels last blog post..HR ketel leasen, goed idee of niet?

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6 Anna

I don’t follow US politics that closely Will, however, today I read somewhere that Obama got hand crafted crystal ball from someone as a gift – I guess he will be needing one anyway, hope it works, lol, kidding aside even if Obama is good, results will not be immediate. Anna :0

Annas last blog post..My Photography Year 2008 in Review

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7 Will

One hopes that even though many of his choices are puzzling, to say the least, there may be a method in the madness. Cabinet members usually do their bosses business, so as long as Obama sees the light on many of the difficult issues, his appointments may follow suit. Plus there may be logic to choosing insiders who in the past have been on the “wrong” side of issues. They have credibility with the industries they will work with and may be able to get more done than an antagonistic outsider. We will see.

But, as to his choice of speaker at his inaugural, that makes no sense given what Obama’s personal views seem to be.

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