When not filling his transition team with corporate insiders and corrupt bureaucrats, President-elect Joe Biden is compiling a Cabinet of Barack Obama-era holdovers and progressive government elites.
This week it was announced that Gina McCarthy, who oversaw the Environmental Protection Agency from 2013-16, will be a “climate czar” for Biden.
Many people, especially out west, shudder at the Boston native and career diplomat returning to power. McCarthy ran the EPA when, in violation of federal law, the agency preemptively denied federal permits for Alaska’s Pebble Mine Project. The situation was rectified by the Trump administration, which reset a number of job-killing environmental policies, rolling back burdens on the energy, mining, and various sectors crushed by excessive regulation. The current regime also ended our participation in the Paris Climate Accord boondoggle and a misguided governmental land grab known as the “Waters of the United States Rule.”
In addition to eliminating good-paying jobs, McCarthy failed Flint, Michigan, during their water crisis. Her agency also had an environmental catastrophe, when it released 3 million gallons of toxic waste water into Colorado’s Animas River.
Because we apparently don’t have enough eco-administrators, it was publicized Thursday that Michael Regan will lead the EPA. An “environmental regulator,” Regan currently runs North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality. He spent nearly a decade early in his career at the EPA.
Denis McDonough is the nominee to oversee Veterans Affairs. The former Obama chief of staff is a Minnesota native, who attended Saint John’s University in his home state, then headed to Washington, D.C., where he’s remained for three decades. The VA was a travesty under the Obama administration.
If confirmed, McDonough would be only the second non-military veteran to run the massive agency. The rumor mill had largely focused on post-9/11 veterans like Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Pete Buttigieg, who was selected for Transportation secretary this week. The former South Bend mayor won the 2020 Iowa caucuses, then dropped out of the presidential race a month later to endorse Biden at a crucial moment ahead of Super Tuesday.
Perhaps the 38-year-old could’ve gained more stature as ambassador to China, since Transportation is relatively low-profile; however, with the pandemic decimating many modes of transport, the post could be more relevant than usual.
Nancy Pelosi is pleased, claiming “Buttigieg profoundly understands the transportation and infrastructure challenges, and as Secretary, will be an effective force for building the modern, resilient and sustainable infrastructure that the greatest country in the world deserves.”
But a friend who calls South Bend home notes, “The mayor’s worst excesses here actually had to do with transportation. He replaced existing traffic intersections controlled by stoplights with roundabouts, causing more congestion. He also brought us LimeBike, which predictably left bikes scattered all across the city, even in winter.”
And just to have more Obama-era personnel — about 75% now — Susan Rice will leave her lofty Netflix board role to head the Domestic Policy Council, a behind-the-scenes agency with only two-dozen employees that doesn’t require confirmation.
If Biden had nominated the former national security adviser and UN Ambassador for a different role, she could have faced opposition for her foreign policy foibles under Obama. Republicans especially would note her characterizing the 2012 deaths of four Americans in Benghazi as part of a spontaneous protest rather than a premeditated Islamist terrorist attack.
For Energy secretary, the choice is Jennifer Granholm, former Michigan governor and attorney general; occasional Berkeley faculty member; and CNN talking head the last four years.
Granholm thankfully lacks the charisma to motivate Americans to abandon fossil fuels and pay higher taxes to cover the costs of so-called clean energy. And despite what Bloomberg writers think, there is no “green” technology currently available to produce enough electricity to replace fossil fuels, especially since the left inexplicably opposes nuclear power.
Late Thursday, Biden tapped first-term New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as Interior secretary, the department that manages roughly one-fifth of land in the United States.
After waxing on her “native” heritage and environment agenda, the Washington Post said the appointment “marks a turning point for a 171-year-old institution that has often had a fraught relationship with 574 federally recognized tribes.”
Haaland also fought alongside activists during the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
New Mexico is a top oil- and gas-producing state, but the former vice president promised to curb the oil, gas and coal emissions.
“Joe Biden likes and trusts ‘his people,’ and has faith in them — and apparently doesn’t really care if they’re experienced in a particular policy area or not. Maybe this will work out fine for his administration. But if it doesn’t, perhaps this is what the country gets when it elects a very old Washington insider who is very set in his ways.”
Very set, indeed. The average age of a Cabinet member is well over 60.
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.