Seriously. With today’s nomination of John E. Bryson, late of KKR — famous from the movie Barbarians at the Gate — we can say that the Obama Administration has managed to finally achieve perfection, the Acme, the ne plus ultra of Administration nominees. At least, by Democrat standards. Just consider his biography.
He started out, after graduating from Yale Law in 1970, by co-founding the National Resources Defense Council, which rapidly became a powerful environmental lobby. While it claims to be both non-profit and non-partisan, NRDC developed a business model that has become the pattern for many similar groups. Contributions and grants, including grants from the EPA itself, are used to fund lobbying and legal work, often resulting in settlements of suits against the EPA. As we’ve reported before, these settlements allow NRDC and other plantiffs to recover their costs. It’s really a very entrepreneurial model: a little seed money from the EPA, and they can then leverage that into larger and larger lawsuits, bigger and bigger grants — now, in normal business, someone who paid a lobbying firm to lobby against their interests would be questionable, but this is after all the EPA.
He left NRDC to become Chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board; he went on from there to be President of the California Public Utilities Commission. So he’s got state-level regulatory experience. He then left Government Service to become…
… an employee of Edison International, then still known as Southern California Edison. Yes, children, he left the Public Utilities Commission for one of the largest regulated companies under his watchful eye. By 1990, he was Chairman and CEO of Edison International, a position he held until 31 July 2008. He’s been a Director of Boeing since 1995, he’s a director of the Walt Disney Company (read ABC), and as mentioned above, he has until this announcement been a Senior Advisor to KKR, which more or less invented the leveraged-buyout private equity fund.
In other words, he’s
- rich, like an awful lot of the people in Obama’s Cabinet
- connected to the more radical environmental world, like Lisa Jackson at EPA — who will be working directly for him
- well connected on Wall Street, where much of Obama’s campaign contributions came from
- well connected in media
- and closely tied to companies the Obama Administration is currently leaning on pursuing legal actions against — just like Bill Daly, the new Chief of Staff.
You see: the perfect Obama nominee.