This morning, President Obama nominated Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire to be his latest cabinet nominee–for Secretary of Commerce.
Which leaves me wondering…why?
Daily Kos gives a rundown of a New York Times article about how the deal played out, suggesting that Obama was first intrigued by the possibility of getting a Democrat to fill Senator Gregg’s seat (see Marc’s earlier post about why this is intriguing).
But when Gregg insisted that his seat be filled with a fellow Republican, Obama still chose to nominate him–in the spirit of bipartisanship. AMERICAblog’s Joe Sudbay echoes what progressives are all grumbling about today:
Just wondering: If a Republican president appointed a Democratic Senator to his cabinet, how many Republican governors would agree to deal that only let them replace a Democrat with a Democrat? I believe the answer is NONE. Democrats are such saps.
This bipartisanship spirit Obama keeps espousing is especially troubling in wake of the House Republicans’ extreme partisanship with the stimulus package. And since Democrats haven’t quite made that elusive 60 yet, Senator Gregg’s vote is going to come into play. It’ll be interesting to see whether he sides with his Senate Republican friends or his new boss.
Also troubling about Judd Gregg is his environmental record on marine issues, given that as Commerce Secretary he will control decision-making for U.S. ocean wildlife–for example, endangered marine species and commercial and recreational fishing.
Senator Gregg has been a strong supporter of the Bush administration’s plans for offshore aquaculture–the mass production of fish in huge floating cages in ocean waters. He consistently expresses support for an experimental facility in New Hampshire and pushes for federal funding for ocean fish farming projects.
Want to express your disappointment with Obama’s choice of Senator Gregg, especially given his environmental record? Sign a petition to encourage Obama to ensure Gregg does not push to allow ocean fish farming in the U.S. waters.