Friday :: Feb 13, 2009

Commerce Department


by eriposte

UPDATE: BTD has responded in the comments - readers can take a look. I will address his comments in a follow-up post.

It's not often that I disagree strongly with Big Tent Democrat, but this is one of those instances. He says (emphasis mine):

To be honest, the Commerce Secreatary [sic] is a meaningless post, so it was an empty gesture from Obama in the first place. And what Gregg was thinking is still not apparent. In any event, not a big deal, imo, either way.

Any time a President has two successive nominees for the same post withdrawing one after another it is not a good thing. I never figured out why, of all people, Judd Gregg was picked for this post in the first place and I'm glad he's withdrawn, but this does make the people who are picking nominees for Commerce Secretary look pretty bad.

However, that is not the reason why I disagree strongly with BTD's comment. The notion that the post of Commerce Secretary is meaningless is simply wrong. I have seen this repeated by other progressives and it is immensely frustrating. If we believe that the post of Commerce Secretary is just some meaningless sinecure, then we should ask why the Department of Commerce is even needed. If someone wants to argue for an abolishment of the Department of Commerce, then the notion that this post is meaningless would be consistent with that. However, I haven't seen anyone on the left seriously argue for an abolishment of the Department of Commerce. If you want the Department to stay, then it needs to have someone at the top who is competent and ideologically suited to lead the Department.

The Department of Commerce has numerous other departments under its wings, especially including the following critical agencies:

...and others.

I can, off the top of my head, think of at least one or two major issues that almost every one of the above agencies can and should address during the Obama presidency ((The Public Works section of Commerce will probably also have a significant role in implementing the spending aspects of any stimulus plan). So, rather than write off the Commerce Secretary post as not a big deal, I suggest we recognize the criticality of this department in shaping the America of tomorrow and urge President Obama to nominate someone really capable, competent and ideologically suited to take the agency in a direction that would significantly help the American people.

eriposte :: 7:08 AM :: Comments (14) :: Digg It!