Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Obama Makes Another Good Choice -- That's What, Three Now?

Following my intention to take notice when President-elect Obama makes decisions I approve, I'm pleased to report that his nominee for Secretary of Labor, Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis of California, looks very good, possibly Obama's first Cabinet appointee who could actually be called progressive. (You can take a peek at her voting record here.) As David Macaray says at Counterpunch today,

Solis is not only the daughter of poor Latin American immigrants, she could very well be the first Labor Secretary in history who has firsthand knowledge of what it actually means to “work” for a living. Her father, a Mexican, was a shop steward with the IBT (International Brotherhood of Teamsters), in Mexico, and her mother, a Nicaraguan, was a former assembly line worker.

That her nomination was greeted "with groans and whining from the business community" is a positive sign too, but it's a reminder that she'll face strenuous opposition after she's confirmed for the post. This will give Obama's progressive supporters a focus for organizing and other activism, if they want it. As Macaray warns, Solis could "hit the ground running" but still "could fail because she didn’t have Obama’s support, because she didn’t have Congress’ support, or because, hardworking and resourceful as she is, she didn’t possess the leadership skills to pull it off. The Department of Labor has close to 17,000 employees and a budget of close to $70 billion. It’s going to take an inspirational leader to have an impact." All the more reason to help her out.

Incidentally, I corrected the spelling of Solis' name in the paragraph I quoted from Macaray above. The first three times her name appears in the article as "Soils", after which it is spelled correctly. We can probably expect that to happen fairly often, even in commercial media. I did a Google search for "Hilda Soils" and got a surprising number of hits.