Saturday, November 22, 2008


Mike Thompson - Secretary of the Interior?

I guess it's a possibility.

I do have to say that the argument that the Secretary of the Interior should of necessity be a hunter is lame.

wasn't there a press release read on kmud last week from mike thompsons office saying 'don't think so'?
Don't know.
It'll never happen. He isn't being mentioned in the national press.
Well why wouldn't he be considered?They've served on various committees together,and their voting records are almost identical,they follow the same idealogue,and Thompson isn't known well enough nationally for most to attack his baggage.
Thompson was a Clinton guy, so if he is appointed, pretty much the entire cabinet would be Clinton people.
It'll never happen. He isn't being mentioned in the national press.

With the Secretary of State position making the news, Secretary of the Interior isn't generating much news. However, the name being tossed around the big blogs is Raul Grijalva, from Arizona.
Thompson was a Clinton guy, so if he is appointed, pretty much the entire cabinet would be Clinton people.

Not Richardson, at least not now anyway.
Were Timothy Geithner and Eric Holder Clinton people?
John Kitzhaber, former gov of Ore, is on the top of the lists I've been seeing; Bill Richardson was mentioned a lot but is of course now going to be Commerce Secy. (This is itself somewhat bizarre given that Richardson could almost certainly have walked into a lifetime Senate seat in NM - maybe he, like HRC, just wants to be on the team that's making things happen, rather than slogging it out with the dinosaurs in the Senate.)

The Thompson rumor is in the regional papers - Times-Std was a day late on AP, Santa Rosa & San Jose papers, per usual. But I agree it's a very unlikely possibility.

This is tea-leaf reading thru the wrong end of the telescope, but it is a bit bizarre to see George Miller - a passionate, powerful environmental advoocate - pumping tepid Thompson so heartily. One can only assume that there's some Cali-centric purpose there, as Thompson is not a particularly strong candidate for the job, albeit he's arguably the best match in the California delegation: ie, he has some enviro cred, serious hunter/fisher cred, and a reputation, for what it's worth, for trying to have it both ways on resource conflicts. Note that the only people quoted supporting Thompson are 'sportsmen' - enviros just don't see him as a real leader.

Kitzhaber, just to take the most obvious alternative, would be a disappointing pick to enviros in that he's hardly been a champion, but is a clearly superior choice, both on substantive and political grounds. He's very bright, grounded in science as an M.D., and at least has brought some vision to his attempts to find a new way to cut the baby in fights over forests and salmon, for example. (K's no Stuart Udall, but could maybe turn out a Babbitt, who arguably did a bit better than one could reasonably have hoped given his record as AZ governor).

Thompson has stated that no one from the campaign has contacted him. That may or may not be true, but I'd take it at face value: it's a very long shot that Obama would appoint a Californian to the Interior post when there's so much potential in more classically "Western" states to secure greater political traction. (I'd bet my best bike, for example, that Obama's not going to pull a Jimmy Carter and piss Western Senators off immediately by presenting them with a list of water projects to be killed.)

So Ken Salazar, also on most of the lists, may make a lot of sense - he's very much not a lefty but is a Democrat, has a great deal of practical experience on the issues from running Colorado's DNR, and could help to really cement a new Democratic administration's relationship with key swing voters in the intermountain west. That may come at the expense of the fraction of enviros focused mostly on public lands, endangered species, and western water fights, but I'm guessing 90% of the next four year's green ink is going to be spilled on climate change, so Obama's folks may feel that's a trade they are willing to make.

Either way, the logic for Thompson is just no way as compelling as for either Kitzhaber or Salazar.
I wonder how it would effect Hoopa, Yurok, Karuk country. I was there with Thompson in the mid 90's with Berg and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. when he (Babbitt) signed an order saving the Klammath/Trinity flows.
It wasn't worth the paper is was printed on, and Thompson said so.
Lyle Marshall gave him a traditional bow and arrow set made from Yewe wood and otter skin. that pissed off a lot of people.
It would be good for this area if he is chosen. just the fact that there are people hear with knowledge that have access to him.
Hey! If Thompson does get DoI there may be hope for Benbow Lake afterall. That would explain the Mike Thompson sign on the golf course. It all fits.
Thompson belongs to the best tradition of a party loyalist, moving along the patronage path.

He's a good follower, but a cabinet position needs leadership skills way beyond what he's demonstrated.

His name is being circulated as a 'Native Son' from a strong Obama State. You know what California native sons are:

The miners came in '49,
The whores in '51,
And when they got together,
They produced the native son.



That looks like national press to me.
The Post maybe. Blogs are not "national press."
And still, working off that latest four-name list, Thompson may be a shade better pick than Knowles (it doesn't take much to make a Democrat in Alaska), he'd be a lot less impressive than Grijalva.

As mcjoan argues in the Kos link above, Interior policy is one place where bipartisan problem-solving should make way for a quick and complete reversal of Bush Admin policies.

A Thompson appointment would signal that the Obama admin is not really seeking such a reversal. Further, it would mark a retreat from the pursuit of maximum competence that the cabinet picks so far suggest.
Mike Thompson has some very questionable campaign contributions from special interests that would need explaining first.
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