| Nicholas Kristof hit one out of the park today in the New York Times: Deputy "Secretary of Food". He writes about his hopes that Chuck Hassebrook will be appointed as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture - a hope that I share.
One of those whom I did suggest is Chuck Hassebrook, a Nebraskan ag expert who has long called for reforms and argued that the high limits on farm payments encourage consolidation in agriculture at the expense of the family farm. So I was delighted to hear that Vilsack was considering Hassebrook to be his deputy: That was a credit to Vilsack's willingness to think outside the box and reach out to critics.
But now apparently some senators - such as Kent Conrad from North Dakota - have protested ferociously and Hassebrook may not be chosen.
Here's what confuses me. Obama has stated on the campaign trail and once in office that he's for payment limitations on commodity subsidies. I believe the amount everyone's discussed is a limit of $250,000 per farm. In the last farm bill this was debated but the amendment (proposed by Byron Dorgan and Chuck Grassley) narrowly failed. So, Obama is for this. Chuck Hassebrook is for this too.
Well, what are Hassebrook's opponents' big problem with him? He's for payment limitations on commodity subsidies - JUST LIKE OBAMA. Seems to me it would be crazy for Obama to dismiss Hassebrook as a "controversial" choice because he shares the very same "controversial" views that Obama campaigned on!
Also important to note: None of the other candidates for Deputy Secretary are reformers like Chuck. Obama promised us change. Will he give us change at the USDA or not?