National Security Adviser darling of energy companies
President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for national security adviser, retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones, is giving hope to energy companies that backed Republican John McCain that their concerns may still get an airing in the new administration.
The appointment also could set up potential disagreements on climate change within the Obama team if the president-elect selects an aggressive global warming advocate for the Environmental Protection Agency or another administration post.
That’s what some observers anticipate will happen as Obama balances his Cabinet.
“For the EPA, expect someone who will go full force on the global warming agenda and use the Clean Air Act to battle global warming,” said Dan Holler, Senate relations deputy at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “Time will tell if Obama can manage the competing forces.”
Jones comes to the White House by an extraordinary route – via the Republican-dominated U.S. Chamber of Commerce – where he was promoting an energy policy opposed by congressional Democrats and not fully embraced by Obama. And Jones has been a board director for Chevron. [Politico]
Two memes the "Team of Rivals" cliche needs to die. It's rhetoric is designed to make a virtue out of indecisiveness, incoherence, and downright self-sabotage.
Obviously, it's good to recruit people with diverse points of view and to encourage honest debate between them. Even Dick Cheney understood the importance of listening to open debate amongst his underlings.
On the other hand, idealizing "balance" as an abstract virtue for a cabinet is as specious as fetishizing balance in news coverage.
The Politico story tacitly accepts that it makes sense to "balance" an EPA that wants to fight global warming with the Clean Air Act with a national security adviser who is dead set against the idea.
Joseph Romm, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, isn’t overly concerned about Jones’ views on energy and security, because the national security adviser’s role on domestic energy issues has historically been small. [Politico]
I'm not buying Romm's argument. First off, according to Politico, Obama is picking Jim Jones in large part because he's interested in eliminating America's dependence on foreign oil.
Energy is certainly a national security issue.
We don't want another national security adviser like Condi Rice who sought to ease the burden of America's dependence on foreign oil by using the military to reshape the political landscape of oil-rich foreign countries.
If seems inevitable that the next national security adviser will have more to say about domestic energy production. I don't expect to hear much from Jones about energy conservation as a national security issue, even though it's the logical flipside of increasing production.
Jones hails from the right wing Chamber of Commerce. He and his allies in the oil industry want to expand domestic drilling because oil prices are rising and they hope to make quick profits with taxpayer subsidies.
Will Jones argue on bogus national security grounds to lift bans on offshore oil drilling and drilling in ANWR?