Thus far, folks here at MediaMouse.org haven’t been terribly excited by president elect Obama’s cabinet picks for either domestic or foreign policy positions. We weren’t impressed by his choice of NAFTA advocate Rahm Emanuel or many of his key advisors,/a>. We’re similarly not excited about his environmental choices.
Sadly, much of the left in the United State has been relatively silent on Obama’s cabinet choices. Aside from a few critical articles–often eliciting hostile reactions from other progressives–the left (especially the liberal and progressive elements) has given Obama a free pass.
A perfect example of this is with Obama’s choices this week. There has been little more than a peep out of the major environmental groups, many of whom know that the likes of Ken Salazar and Tom Vilsack are going to be as big of friends of industry as they are of the environment. Salazar’s selection has been praised by mining and oil interests, while Vilsack’s support for industrial agriculture (epitomized by companies like Monsanto) is well-known.
Of course, part of the silence may be due to the environmental movement’s limited power. It has been in a steady decline for quite some time as grassroots organizing has been largely replaced by a professionalized class of nonprofits that work closely on legislation with the Democratic Party. While the movement has had many local successes and inspiring victories, the mainstream environmental organizations have had few victories at the national level and are hardly in a place to effectively challenge these nominees. Essentially, this means that they’ll likely grudgingly accept the choices as they did during the Clinton administration and not offer any real resistance.
Thankfully, there have been a few articles–even in the corporate media–that have critically examined Salazar and Vilsack:
- Salazar and the Tragedy of the Common Ground
- The Man and the Hat: Ken Salazar and the Status Quo
- Shunning Environmental Groups, Obama Taps Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar for Interior Dept.
- Obama USDA pick another “biofuel” booster
- Obama Picks Pro-Ethanol, Agribusiness Ex-Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to Head Agricultural Dept.
Of course, once we know how bad Salazar and Vilsack are, the harder question is: what are we going to do about it?