pageok
pageok
pageok
A Kennedy in the Cabinet?

Politico reports that President-elect Barack Obama is considering Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for the post of Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. A prior report suggested RFK was an early candidate for Secretary of the Interior. Tapping RFK Jr. for either post would be a profound mistake, and would almost certainly provoke a bitter confirmation fight.

RFK Jr. became something of a spokesperson for the environmental movement with his celebrity name and strident attacks on the Bush Administration's environmental policies. While some of the criticism was warranted, RFK's assaults were factually challenged, and only got worse over time. In 2002 he charged factory farms were a greater threat to the nation than Osama bin Laden, and in 2004 said of the media, "They should all drink poison Kool-Aid and restore integrity to their profession." He's also embraced unscientific allegations of a vaccine-autism link and charges the GOP stole the 2004 election.

President-elect Obama is certainly entitled to a cabinet that will support his policy agenda. When it comes to EPA and Interior, Obama can do much better than RFK Jr.

UPDATE: RFK Jr. also makes Tim Noah's preliminary list of "key appointments Obama should resist."

SECOND UPDATE: RFK Jr.'s a Chavista too.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Is RFK Jr. Just "Too Controversial"?
  2. A Kennedy in the Cabinet?
31 Comments

Is RFK Jr. Just "Too Controversial"?

Politico reports that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. may be "too controversial" a pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Some energy and environmental lobbyists are worried that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s controversial past would thwart his Senate confirmation if President-elect Barack Obama tapped him to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

A well-respected climate lawyer, Kennedy has also been in the spotlight for his controversial environmental statements.

As reported by Politico, the issue with RFK Jr. is simply that he shoots his mouth off occasionally, such as by calling global warming skeptics "traitors" or suggesting factory farms are a bigger threat to the American way of life than Islamist terrorists. It also notes he occasionally lets his personal preferences get in the way of sound environmental policy, as when he opposed the Cape Wind offshore wind power project.

Yet the problems with RFK Jr. as the head of a powerful regulatory agency go much deeper. As Walter Olson notes, appointing RFK Jr. would make a mockery of President-elect Obama's campaign pledges to reduce the politicization of science. Among other things, RFK Jr. has endorsed scientifically discredited claims alleging a vaccine-autism link and labels those who dare to disagree with him crooks and traitors. So it should be no surprise that a wide range of science bloggers, from ORAC to P.Z. Myers to Mark Hoofnagle, among others, oppose an RFK nomination. It should say something when folks who generally share Kennedy's political views still find him an unacceptable choice to head the nation's primary environmental regulatory agency.

There are plenty of well-qualified, left-leaning, pro-regulatory environmental leaders capable of heading EPA. RFK Jr. is just not one of them.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Is RFK Jr. Just "Too Controversial"?
  2. A Kennedy in the Cabinet?
99 Comments