President-elect Obama has pledged to cut farm subsidies and embrace renewable fuels – two initiatives that hit close to the wallet of his newly unveiled pick for agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack.
From 2000 to 2006, Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, and his wife collected $42,782 in subsidies from the department he was tapped Wednesday to oversee. Also, Vilsack is a partner at a lobbying law firm that trumpeted his advice to clients on agribusiness development and renewable energy – a job that appears to bump up against Obama’s promise to bar appointees from working on issues related to their employment for two years.
David Broder has always had a huge crush on Vilsack, which tells you everything you need to know about the new Agriculture Secretary. Indeed, Obama’s whole cabinet is made up of the type of people that Broder loves.