Friday, August 11, 2017

Um, where's the controversial part?

As the range of "acceptable" opinion in post-American discourse narrows, this imminently qualified fellow is no doubt going to come in for some contention regarding his blunt style of expressing his views:

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue defended Sam Clovis, who has been nominated as undersecretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics, vowing to do “everything” he can to get Clovis confirmed despite the White House adviser’s controversial blog posts and past statements.
In a 2012 blog post, Clovis, national co-chairman of President Trump’s campaign, criticized President Obama’s “Dreams of My Father” autobiography.
“At worst, it is a total fabrication that is focused on shaping a narrative based on racial oppression and awakening that probably is only manifested through his play acting. We know so little about his early life, over which, to be fair, he had little control. However, beginning with his teen years, we find a person who indulged in self-destructive behavior,” he wrote.
In another blog post from 2012, Clovis referred to former Attorney General Eric Holder as a “racist bigot.”
“He is a racist bigot who cannot see beyond his own hateful, willful and despicable world view. As such, his administration of his duties hurts all Americans and makes us all much less safe. He is supposed to be the chief law enforcement officer in the United States, defending the Constitution and all the laws of the land, but he is selective in what he does or has his people do and appears to have no intention of supporting the Constitution,” he wrote.
Clovis took issue with use of the term “climate change” during a radio interview in 2013, saying it “implies” that progressives “are going to figure out a way” to somehow create the “ideal climate” and “perfect weather.”

“I'm so skeptical on all of this because the science is – people – a lot of people out there including our friend, know your buddy, Al Gore keeps saying this is settled science. I'm not sure this is settled science. I'm not sure that we're really looking at anything understanding – what we have to examine is how the language changes and when you start to go away from 'global warming' to 'climate change' this goes right into the heart of progressive thinking,” he said.
Clovis also called former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) mentally ill for arguing that the Tea Party movement does not believe in government.
“I think he's mentally ill. Anybody that thinks that, how uninformed is that? This is the leader of the United States Senate. How uninformed is he? Oh my word,” he said.
Perdue said he’s “not familiar” with all of Clovis’ previous comments but that “dredging up” the past is an “attempt by the opposition in delaying and smearing any candidate that the Trump administration puts in.” 
The only thing I might take issue with is the characterization of Holder as a "racist bigot." English major that I am, I'm rather big on accurate use of terms. Racism is the belief that some race is inferior in some given set of abilities necessary to functioning well in society to other races. Holder doesn't seem to be a racist or even a bigot, but rather a race agitator, per his "my people" remark at the 2011 hearing on the Black Panther case, or his 2014 speech at a Missouri community college in the wake of the Ferguson situation that he came there as attorney general but also "as a black man."

But Clovis is not basically wrong about that, and certainly not wrong about the climate matter.

Oh, one more thing I'd take issue with is PJ Media writer Nicholas Ballasy's use of the term "controversial."

Look for the leftist media to make as big a deal as possible out of his non-scientist status, but also look for Sonny Perdue to effectively address the matter:

A reporter asked Perdue if Trump should have picked Clovis, a non-scientist, for a scientific research position at USDA.

“Would the administration be better served if he was in a different job?” Perdue was asked.

“A scientist is not necessarily a technical type of person. This is a management of our research and education portfolio within the USDA and I think again any academician understands the scientific methods, as he does, and his interest is more in the economic aspect, which is certainly part of agriculture success as well. So I don’t necessarily buy the condition that you have to be one to manage that field and guide and direct our research capabilities,” Perdue responded.

“This person that’s undersecretary of REE [research, education and economics] is not going to be doing basic or applied research – that’s not what the job calls for,” he added. “Frankly, it manages our grant proposals and our relationships with our land grant universities as well as our agricultural research services to make sure that our American producers are receiving the best-applied research they can through an extension service delivering them the best product they can. I think that’s one of the successes we’ve had and I think we’ll continue to see continued success with Sam Clovis as the undersecretary for REE.”
 As long as we're saddled with a Department of Agriculture, let's staff it with plain-speaking, highly intelligent people like Clovis.


  1. I agree those who have been in the field should administer governmental agencies, with a couple of caveats. They here work for the peoples safety also. The revolving door after government service should have a ten year wait to re-enter lobbying work in the field. I would prefer no private policing of a foreign state by a private enterprise as Back Water.

  2. Well, the Blackwater thing is kind of another subject - an interesting one, and timely, to be sure, as it's being considered as an option in a new Afghanistan strategy. But I'm going to refrain from talking about it here. I may post about it, and then we can really look at it.

    Re: people in the field administering government agencies: I'm inclined to see it the way Perdue does: management involves a different skill set from applied research.