The Obama transition team is taking its time mulling candidates to head up USDA. That’s a good thing, considering the generally dismal names that dominate the circulating short-lists.
Meanwhile, the temperature is rising around Obama to pick a real reformer, not a business-as-usual politician or outright industry flack. The latest: New York Times op-ed pundit Nicholas Kristof has opined that Obama should rename the USDA the "department of food." Get this:
Renaming the department would signal that Mr. Obama seeks to move away from a bankrupt structure of factory farming that squanders energy, exacerbates climate change and makes Americans unhealthy — all while costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
Snap! Turns out Kristof has been talking food policy with Michael Pollan. And Kristof glowingly mentioned a petition that’s been circulating urging Obama to choose a real reformer. (I wrote about it here.)
Online petitions never work — except, possibly, when A-list pundits promote them in high-profile forums.