Meet Melody Barnes.
During a press conference earlier today, President-Elect Obama announced that she has been chosen as his Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, a role that entails coordinating the domestic policy-making and –makers for the White House. As Shaker Afroacademic aptly described the role in comments, Barnes will be "the Domestic policy czar leading the Cabinet secretaries of Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Energy, Treasury, Agriculture, Transportation, Interior and Veterans Affairs on a mega-board."
But I read the following by afroacademic in this comment thread that gave me even more excitement:
If Obama continues to slowly and without note add young, smart, progressive people to his administration I'll be happy. I mean, the media didn't get this one earlier and plenty of people were surprised. This tells me that half of the talk we get from the media is centered on four or five positions and the usual suspects, but that a lot of these positions they have no idea about.
I'd also note one thing that I've been telling folks: the best thing we can hope for a diverse progressive majority in the mid and under secretary levels. Why? Because these people will become the unquestioned go to folks in the future democratic party. I'll point to Bush, while his Secretaries may have been diverse (sort of) every level below was white and male. These people will come to dominate politics and policy. So, for a look at progressive power brokers of the 2020s and beyond, look at Obama's administration below the cabinet level.
This is what we should be concentrating on doing as progressives and as sustainability activists. Train hosts of bright, committed and smart people to learn how to dismantle this dysfunctional system from within. It can only be one aspect, but a valuable one if we continue to pay attention. How often do people willing to serve get corrupted? That is only possible if we stop being vigilant.
This rationale is continued in an extensive look at the USDA potential, This is laid out beautifully by guest poster Steph Larson at Ethicurean: Chew the Right Thing. Think under-secretaries and below.
This is brilliant. I wait with baited breath. Bring on the under-secretaries by the dozens, the chiefs by the thousands. Also, good bye Repuglikkkan xtian kids in the Department of Justice.