Judd Gregg Hates the Commerce Department

By Brian Beutler

Via Satyam, comes this bit of ancient history–in 1995 our new Commerce Secretary designate voted to abolish the Department of Commerce. That’s too bad for me. Earlier this morning I started looking up old Gregg bills that demonstrate his lack of fitness for the job. After all, this sort of thing isn’t unprecedented. Just about a year before he became George W. Bush’s first Energy Secretary, Senator Spencer Abraham sponsored a bill to abolish that agency. So, this is old sport for Republicans.

But even though the CQ beat me to the punch, it’s not as if Gregg has an otherwise distinguished record on the score. The Commerce Department’s mission is to “foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce”, and Gregg hasn’t really been a champion on that score.

Maybe this is a very wise move, and I’ll come to my senses once I see the “pro quo”. In the meantime, though, I’m just left with this thought: We’re finally in an era where decent government is a real possibility. Whereas Bush appointed Abraham to run the DOE, Obama chose Nobel Prize winning physicist, and experienced administrator Steven Chu. Our new Treasury Secretary, for all his flaws, is a renowned economist, and our Attorney General is a well respected attorney, and by and large that pattern holds… except for the fact that Obama wants to put this one agency in the hands of Judd Gregg, who doesn’t think the agency ought to exist.

Well? Maybe he’s right.