We know that “safe schools czar” and “Queering Elementary Education” essayist Kevin Jennings failed to oppose homosexual man-boy relationships and that science czar John Holdren has written, without objection, that “laws requiring compulsory abortion could be sustained under the existing Constitution.” We know that one-time Health and Human Services secretary nominee Tom Daschle had to withdraw because of a failure to pay his taxes. But what has not been adequately tallied is how many of President Obama’s nominees and appointees are radical or just plain embarrassing.
When radicalism and ethical shortcomings reach such a critical mass, it’s time to broadcast the dishonor roll. Therefore, in addition to Mr. Jennings, Mr. Holdren and Mr. Daschle, please consider the ramifications of an administration manned by the likes of the following.
Van Jones: The “special adviser for green jobs” resigned on Sept. 5 after stories broke about his ties to a Marxist group, his profane criticisms of congressional Republicans and his association with Sept. 11 “truthers.”
Harold Koh: Barely approved to be the chief legal counsel for the State Department, Mr. Koh is an advocate of the dangerous notion of “transnationalism,” which would elevate foreign law above the U.S. Constitution. Mr. Koh has endorsed a “global regulatory” regime to outlaw firearms.
Sonia Sotomayor: Senate questioners barely touched on the two most disturbing parts of the new Supreme Court justice’s record. First was her opinion in Hayden v. Pataki that states can be forced to allow currently incarcerated murderers and rapists to vote. Second was her discriminatory claim in several speeches that because of “inherent physiological or cultural differences,” gender and national origins “will make a difference in our judging.”
Ezekiel Emanuel: This key White House adviser on health policy has written that “allocation [of medical care] by age is not invidious discrimination” and that “services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic, and should not be guaranteed.”
Louis Butler: The new nominee for a federal district judgeship in Wisconsin is a proponent of the theory that manufacturers should be forced to pay damage awards in lawsuits even if there is no evidence that their products made anybody sick.
Charles W. Freeman Jr.: His nomination to chair the National Intelligence Council was withdrawn after public notice of his remarks that American reactions to Sept. 11 gave evidence of “an ugly mood of chauvinism,” that Israeli settlements in disputed lands are “inherently violent” and that the biggest error of Chinese leaders during the Tiananmen Square uprising was their “overly cautious” reaction.
The ethically dubious:
Timothy F. Geithner: The Treasury secretary not only failed to pay all his taxes but actually accepted reimbursement for taxes he never paid.
Yosi Sergant: This activist was forced out as communications director at the National Endowment for the Arts after he used government resources to commingle politics with the arts.
Bill Richardson: The New Mexico governor withdrew as nominee to be secretary of commerce because of a federal investigation into alleged improper business dealings in his state.
And all of that is just a sampling. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s involvement in the pardons of fugitive Marc Rich and some Puerto Rican terrorists should have been disqualifying. Climate czar Carol M. Browner earlier this year was still a leader of Socialist International’s Commission for a Sustainable World Society. White House counsel Gregory B. Craig and Justice Department Civil Rights chief Thomas E. Perez have troublesome backgrounds as well. And so on.
An old but true rule of governance is that “personnel is policy.” With the Obama administration, that’s a scary thought.