Monday, February 4, 2013
A Cabinet of Dunces
By Alan Caruba
A President reveals a lot about himself by his choices of his cabinet members to head various government departments and agencies. Some choices turn out to be historically significant such as Truman’s Secretary of State, George Marshall or Nixon’s choice of Henry Kissinger, but since the President sets policy, the blame or approval belongs to him.
Nor is it unusual for cabinet members to leave after a first term if a President is reelected. What has been unusual for President Obama’s first term has been the appointment of an entire shadow government of advisors known as his “czars”; people who functioned behind the scenes with unknown levels of power to influence and even determine policy.
One, Van Jones, was an avowed Communist and, when that became known, he resigned. The obvious problem with the czars is the total lack of transparency they represent and the fact that their appointments—not being cabinet-level, but deemed to be only advisory—by-passed the requirement of Congressional approval.
As of this writing, his most famous appointment, Hillary Clinton, has stepped down as Obama’s Secretary of State to be replaced by one of the greatest dunces to serve in the Senate, John Kerry. He began his career in politics as a Vietnam veteran who testified before Congress that his fellow veterans had engaged in acts that violated the Geneva Convention. When he ran for President, his fellow Swift Boat veterans revealed the scope of his lies about his own service. Kerry’s judgment has proven wrong on so many foreign policy issues it would take a book to chronicle them. In his first two days in office he saw the delivery of fighter jets to an Egypt that is no longer an ally and now in the hands of avowed enemies, the Muslim Brotherhood. Hillary traveled incessantly, but Obama’s foreign policy—mostly isolationist—concluded with the cover-up of the Benghazi attack that got a U.S. ambassador killed.
Most certainly, the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel has raised the issue of competency to a whole new level. It is hard to imagine a nominee less capable of running the Pentagon and less in tune with events in a very dangerous world. Given his past votes and statements, he reflects the President’s views. It’s bad news for Israel and good news for our adversaries. Watch now as the Democrats, despite misgivings and doubts, once again line up with the President to impose another bad decision on the nation.
Among those leaving his cabinet is Dr. Steven Chu, who actually wanted the price of a gallon of gasoline to rise to those in Europe in order to curb American’s desire to hop in the car for any reason. He will be best remembered for having swiftly ushered a $528 million loan to Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer whose company just as swiftly went bankrupt, sticking the taxpayers with the loss. Other similar “investments” also failed. Ignoring America’s vast reserves of coal, natural gas and oil—enough to make the nation energy independent—Chu favored the expansion of solar and wind energy, lavishing millions on its producers even though it provides barely three percent of the electricity Americans use to function.
Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, is also departing and he never saw a square inch of the nation’s landmass that he did not want to acquire as property of the federal government. Salazar, so green that he glows in the dark, was a tree-hugger deluxe. While touting the expansion of oil drilling and the extraction of natural gas, he conveniently neglected to mention that most of it occurred on privately held land and his department did what it could to delay or simply not issue the leases necessary to extract oil, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. Together with Dr. Chu, these two did more to interdict or retard the provision of energy to the nation than any of their predecessors.
Departing as well is Ray LaHood as Transportation Secretary. A Wall Street Journal editorial noting his departure said he is likely to be remembered “for presiding over a transportation policy predicated on the best the 19th century had to offer: railroads and bicycles.” Railroads served well in the 1800s and early 1900s. The federally owned Amtrak has never turned a profit. As for cars and trucks, in 2010 he wrote “This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.” It doesn’t get more stupid than that and his department shelled out $8 billion in grants to support this stupidity including the San Francisco-to-Anaheim bullet train whose first leg will connect Merced to Bakersfield in the sparsely populated Central Valley.
The worst of the President’s appointments was Lisa Jackson who has resigned from her position as director of the Environmental Protection Agency in the wake of revelations that she used a phony name for emails with which she conducted agency business. Transparency, let alone adherence to the law that forbids this practice, was not favored by Ms. Jackson, nor by her predecessor, Carol Browner, one of Obama’s czars. Browner had served as a commissioner of the Socialist International, an umbrella group for 170 social democratic, socialist, and labor parties in 55 countries. Under Ms. Jackson, the EPA has issued a mountain of regulations, some of which forced utilities around the nation to shut their doors and coal mining companies to cease production. The total number of jobs lost is still being calculated.
The decision to delay the Keystone XL pipeline has not only cost 20,000 jobs at a time when millions of Americans have dropped out of the labor market was also supported by the Interior Department and the EPA. The pipeline, by the way, would not have cost taxpayers a dime as it is privately financed and would be just one of a huge network of pipelines that serve America’s energy needs.
Janet Napolitano—Big Sis—remains on at Homeland Security, possibly the most under-reported department, despite occasional reports that it appears to be arming itself for an insurrection purchasing lots of ammunition and a lot of rapid-fire rifles.
Still presiding at the Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sibelius, is the Cruella de Ville who oversaw the passage of Obamacare and its implementation. She will have blood on her hands as senior citizens in particular are denied vital medical care and will be vilified by Americans who discover that their insurance rates have skyrocketed. Many companies are either not hiring or laying off employees, putting some on a part-time status to avoid its strictures and fines. Others are just shutting their doors.
The departing Secretary of Treasury, Tim Geithner, presided with the President over the greatest accumulation of debt in the nation’s history, as well as its first credit rating reduction. Jack Lew who will replace him holds no promise of slowing this process toward the destruction of the value of the dollar and the continuation of the Great Recession.
This deliberate destruction of jobs, delaying access to traditional sources of energy, resistance to the actual transportation needs of the nation, a failed foreign policy, and panoply of other policies pursued by the out-going cabinet members will be continued by President Obama’s new choices to replace them.
© Alan Caruba, 2013