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Jon Fleischman

WSJ’s John Fund: Obama’s ‘Green Evangelist’

From today’s Wall Street Journal Political Diary E-mail…

Obama’s ‘Green Evangelist’

It’s another marker of President Obama’s true inclinations that he has chosen to nominate a leading environmentalist to be his new secretary of commerce, a post designed to stimulate job creation.

John Bryson, the nominee, began his career as a top appointee of Jerry Brown back in the 1970s, when Mr. Brown first served as California’s governor. During that time, Mr. Brown preached “an era of limits” when it came to the economy and loaded up the state with onerous regulations. Before his stint as a state water and public utility commissioner, Mr. Bryson opened up the West Coast operations of the Natural Resources Defense Council. According to Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, the NRDC has filed more lawsuits seeking to block offshore oil drilling than any other group in the country.

No one doubts that Mr. Bryson, a former CEO of the Edison utility company in California who helped steer that state through its 2001 power crisis, will win Senate confirmation. But Republicans couldn’t help noticing that Mr. Obama characterized his friend as a “fierce proponent of alternative energy” during the announcement yesterday.

“With gas prices at nearly $4 a gallon, another green evangelist pushing failed talking points on the cap-and-trade energy tax and European-style gas prices is not who most Americans want to have at the helm of efforts to expand trade and grow our economy,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee.

— John Fund