Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is calling President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Commerce Department an “environmental extremist.”
A week after Obama announced his choice for Secretary of Commerce — John Bryson, former utility company CEO and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council — Barrasso has taken his rhetoric to a new level of hyperbole.
After calling him an extremist, Barrasso went into particulars. He mentioned a Bryson speech from 2009 in which Bryson called the cap-and-trade bill that narrowly passed the House in 2009 a, “moderate, but acceptable bill.” Then Barrasso characterized the former utility company CEO as a sort of European socialist. “He called a bill that never made it to the Senate and will never, ever pass acceptable? If he doesn’t hurry, he’s going to miss his train to the Finland Station,” said a smirking Barrasso.
Barrasso’s rhetoric fails to match up with reality on a few levels. For one thing, it’s not like Bryson is being appointed to run the Interior Department or the Environmental Protection Agency. Commerce is about jobs and creating pro-business policies. Moreover, most hailed the Bryson appointment as an “olive branch” to the business community
. After all, in addition to 18 years at the helm of Edison International, Bryson headed Bright Source Energy Inc., a solar company, and also served on the boards of the Boeing Corporation and the Walt Disney Company.