Media release from the Green Party of the United States
WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party leaders called on President-elect Barack Obama to appoint a Cabinet that will pursue real reform, in accord with Mr. Obama’s promise of change in the new administration.
“Democratic and Republican presidents alike have a record of naming industry chiefs, corporate board members and lawyers, and others loyal to wealthy, elite interests,” said Holly Hart, secretary of the Green Party of the United States. “If President Obama truly believes in ‘change we can believe in,’ he’ll appoint a Cabinet that looks like America — not just in ethnic and gender diversity, but in its dedication to the needs of working Americans and the goal of international peace and justice.”
Greens called Mr. Obama’s choice of Rahm Emanuel for White House Chief of Staff especially unfortunate, citing Mr. Emanuel’s position as managing director of investment banks Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, earning him $18 million between 1999 and 2002 and his track record in Congress since 2003.
The appointment of Mr. Emanuel confirms Mr. Obama’s pledge to AIPAC that he will maintain the same uncritical support for Israel as the Clinton and Bush administrations, whose policies resulted in increasing human rights violations against Palestinians and greater instability in the region. Mr. Emanuel was also one of the original drafters of NAFTA and now favors similar antidemocratic ‘free trade’ pacts with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, which would cost more US jobs and suppress environmental and labor protections.
Green Party leaders said that Rahm Emanuel’s appointment was consistent with Mr. Obama’s choice of Sen. Joe Biden as his Vice President. Despite his reputation in the media as a defender of working people, Mr. Biden helped draft a law signed by President Bush that relaxed regulations on financial institutions, giving them more power over Americans facing financial problems and transferring risk from predatory lenders to borrowers. As an architect of mandatory minimum drug laws (including the RAVE Act), Sen. Biden helped put the children of working families behind bars.
Among the corporate-connected names on the list for the Obama Cabinet are Eric Holder, Jr. for Attorney General and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture. Mr. Holder is a partner at Covington & Burling, which represents the National Football League, Chiquita, and Merck, and Gov. Vilsack is an enthusiastic advocate of genetically engineered crops and corn- and soy-based biofuels, with ties to Monsanto, whose products and policies have destroyed independent and family farms around the world.
“Barack Obama’s mantra of ‘change’ is already a lie. With Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff, and with Hillary Clinton rumored to be Secretary of State, the Obama White House is ready to pursue much of the same agenda as previous administrations,” said Cliff Thornton, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. “It’s a twisted irony that some tried to tag Obama as a socialist, a perception that will make it that much easier for his administration to continue the practice of redistributing wealth from middle- and low-income Americans to America’s wealthiest. Bill Clinton was denounced as a liberal by the same right-wing pundits whose corporate buddies he was handing America over to. The same sell-out is going to happen all over again.”
“Voters who elected Barack Obama because of his promise of change and the hope of a progressive administration need to wake up and realize they’re in for yet another fight. Only if the voters hold Obama to his promises can we avoid the same pro-corporate and warhawk policies that came out of the disastrous Clinton and Bush White Houses,” added Mr. Thornton.
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