Obama is fast proving that when it comes to rewarding your corporate donors, no price is too steep, including larding the cabinet with industry friendly right-wing hacks. Correct me if I’m misstating, but one of the centerpieces of Obama’s campaign (“Change We Can Believe In”) was the complete restructuring of our energy policy to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and advance new technologies for greener power. So, to accomplish this end he appoints to head the scandal plagued Department of the Interior ………Ken Salazar from Colorado? What a sell-out. Here’s the Times describing the traditional energy sector’s reaction to the appointment: “Oil and mining interests praised Mr. Salazar’s performance as a state official and as a senator, saying that he was not doctrinaire about the use of public lands. “Nothing in his record suggests he’s an ideologue,” said Luke Popovich, spokesman for the National Mining Association. “Here’s a man who understands the issues, is open-minded and can see at least two sides of an issue.” Meaning, of course, more drilling on public lands, more concessions to power companies and more coal mining. Besides his obvious bias towards industry the guy is also a buffoon. “Salazar, wearing his customary ten-gallon hat and bolo tie, said (at the announcement of his appointment) that his job entails helping the nation address climate change through a “moon shot” on energy independence……..” which he pointedly stated also required, “the continued domestic development of coal, oil and natural gas, fossil fuels” which, one might note, generate copious amounts of greenhouse gases when they are burned.
Environmentalists are feeling burned. Kieran Suckling, executive director of Center for Biological Diversity, which tracks endangered species and habitat issues described Salazar as“[A] right-of-center Democrat who often favors industry and big agriculture in battles over global warming, fuel efficiency and endangered species. He is very unlikely to bring significant change to the scandal-plagued Department of Interior. It’s a very disappointing choice for a presidency which promised visionary change.”
So far Obama has failed to appoint a single progressive to any top cabinet level position. Liberals who were expecting anything more than another Republican-lite administration are going to be very disappointed. Cynics like me are reluctantly dusting off the “I told you so” and readying its imminent deployment.