Please tell me this is someone's idea of a joke

I’ve written before that I think it would be a huge mistake for Barack Obama to select any Republican for a running mate. The next president will appoint at least two and perhaps four Supreme Court justices. Obama is a longtime smoker with a family history of cancer. I don’t want any Republican in line to inherit the presidency.

And I’ve written that I think it would backfire for him to choose a woman other than Hillary Clinton for vice president. Not that I have anything against Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (I would give her serious consideration if she ran for president someday). But I agree with a MyDD commenter who wrote that for Obama to pick Sebelius or Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill would be like Hillary picking Harold Ford as a running mate if she had won the nomination.

I’ve also said I would hate to see Obama choose a corporate-friendly vice president. I already worry that as president he would do too little to rein in the excesses of corporate power in Washington.

Now Politico reports that Obama’s vetting team is floating the name of Ann Veneman, who was Agriculture Secretary during George W. Bush’s first term, with members of Congress. That would be the worst kind of trifecta in my mind.

I can’t understand what Veneman could possibly have going for her. She’s executive director of UNICEF, but who cares? When she was in the cabinet, she didn’t promote sustainable agriculture or sensible health protections.

As the Organic Consumers Association reported when Bush appointed her, Veneman had a long history of standing with corporate interests. When she left Bush’s cabinet, her “vision and commitment” won praise from the American Meat Institute. Politico notes:

The low-profile Republican was close to food and agriculture industries but clashed with farm-state Democrats and environmentalists during her tenure, which lasted from 2001 to 2004.

Maybe Veneman is being mentioned to throw journalists off the scent, or to trick progressives into feeling relieved if Obama chooses a corporate Democrat who’s not “that bad.”

It bothers me that Obama would even allow his team to consider someone like Veneman, even as a diversion. I want the next administration to make CAFOs pay for the harm they cause.

UPDATE: The Nation explains why Veneman would be “a uniquely awful choice” for Obama.

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