Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vilsack gets Ag

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It is expected that Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack will be tapped by Obama to be agriculture secretary. I've never been all that fond of Vilsack -- he gets more attention than he deserves because Iowa holds the first Democratic caucuses and therefore because he gets pandered to -- and I think Ezra Klein is right that he's just too close to the corn (ethanol) industry: "Appointing him to head the agency is like appointing the governor of a petrostate to head the Department of Energy." Still, as Steve Benen notes, "the news may not be that bad." Vilsack, after all, does seem to be something of a conservationist -- perhaps too much of one for Big Ag, which would be a good thing.

So, as with some of Obama's other questionable appointees -- Gates, Salazar, Jones -- we'll see. I'm still willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, but I'm certainly not as generous with it as I used to be.

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