Obama cabinet changes discussion thread

Change is coming to President Barack Obama’s cabinet, as is typical for a second term. After the jump I’ve posted some links and recent news on possible appointees.

Any comments about the cabinet are welcome in this thread.

Shortly before Christmas, Obama announced that he is nominating Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts to be secretary of state. He will be confirmed with no trouble, as Republicans are eager for another chance to elect Scott Brown.

Timothy Geithner is finally resigning as Treasury secretary (years too late in my opinion). One possible replacement is the president’s current Chief of Staff Jack Lew.

At the Pentagon, Obama is reportedly tapping former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. The neocons will fight that nomination for the wrong reasons.

I was very disappointed to learn that Lisa Jackson is leaving as Environmental Protection Agency administrator. She is one of the best in Obama’s cabinet and could have accomplished even more if he hadn’t repeatedly undercut her to curry favor with business or postpone controversy until after the 2012 election. I fear the New York Post may be right that Jackson is quitting so that she doesn’t have to be part of the cabinet when Obama green-lights the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Outgoing Washington Governor Christine Gregoire is a leading contender to replace Jackson at EPA.

According to Ben German of The Hill,

Jackson’s departure is part of what’s expected to be a larger shakeup of Obama’s environment and energy team.

Jane Lubchenco, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has already announced plans to leave, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu is widely expected to depart as well.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in 2011 that he would not be around for a second Obama term, but more recently he said he would consider staying on. Advocates for a more sustainable transportation policy, supporting mass transit, passenger rail, and safe routes for pedestrians and bicyclists, have warmed to LaHood over the last four years.

I assume Tom Vilsack will stay on as secretary of agriculture. I haven’t heard anything about the president wanting a change at the USDA, nor have I heard that Vilsack would like to move on. The coming year will be extremely important for agriculture policy, as Congress tries again to pass a new five-year farm bill.

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  • Thoughts

    I am a LaHood fan as well.  

    I was disappointed by Vilsack’s comments about rural America losing it’s influence.  I know he’s right and it may need to be said, but it was kind of kicking the dog while he’s down if you will.  I don’t expect those kind of comments from an “Iowan” either.  

    I’d like to see Jim Webb somewhere in the Administration.  I think he would do wonders for the VA.  Webb probably doesn’t have much patience for some of the baloney that entrenched bureaucrats can offer up.  

    I really wish Webb would still involved in the foreign policy debates of the future if possible.  He doesn’t fit in the neo-conservative camp or the non-interventionist camp.  The non-interventionist thought process may really be taking hold with the Democratic base and I’m not convinced it’s a good thing.

    I believe people are being killed in Syria and the world should do something about it.  

    • I didn't read the whole text

      of that Vilsack speech. Was he saying rural people need to stop digging in their heels so much resisting farm policy change, because they are losing political influence?