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Dorgan Won't Be Energy Secretary

Sen. Byron Dorgan is no longer under consideration to be secretary of energy in President-elect Barack Obama's administration, a decision based on a belief within the former Illinois Senator's inner circle that the North Dakota Democrat is more valuable to them where he is, according to transition officials.

"Senator Dorgan would be a fantastic Energy Secretary but because he is too important as a red state senator and a powerful ally, he is best suited to help advance President-elect Obama's agenda in the Senate," said a transition official granted anonymity to speak candidly about internal deliberations.

The names still in the mix for Energy Secretary, according to well informed senior Democrats include: Govs. Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kans.), Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.), Bill Rittter (D-Colo.) and Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (N.M), Google's Dan Reicher, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, former Edison International CEO John Bryson, Federal Express Chairman Fred Smith and Steve Chu, the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The decision to take Dorgan off the list is an acknowledgment by the Obama team of political reality. Dorgan is up for re-election in 2010 in a state that John McCain carried 53 percent to 45 percent in November over Obama, and that President George W. Bush won with 63 percent in 2004.

Senate Republicans are expected to make a major push to get popular Gov. John Hoeven into the contest and that task would be made far easier if the seat were open. (Hoeven was recruited to run against Sen. Kent Conrad in 2006 and passed.)

Obama and his team have been careful in their Cabinet picks so far not to hand seats to Republicans.

The only two Senators to be nominated to Obama's Cabinet to date are Vice President-elect Joe Biden and secretary of State nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton; the replacements for each will be chosen by Democratic governors.

On the House side, the Members under consideration -- Raul Grijalva (Ariz.) for Interior, Xavier Becerra for U.S. Trade Representative -- for Cabinet posts sit in very safe seats that the party will have no trouble holding.

The only exception is in Arizona where the nomination of Gov. Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security head means that Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer will ascend to the governorship for the next two years.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 6, 2008; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  White House  
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Comments

Go with Schwarzenegger!
Aside from policy reasons- as Schwarzenegger has reasonably good energy policy- there is the politics- if we are asking people to make sacrifices- it might be easier from someone with the celebrity status and support from the moderate/right to do so. Additionally politically, we get a Repug out of the governorship that they stole in CA-with all of the top candidates to replace being Dems. Win-win!
Leon

Posted by: nycLeon | December 8, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with previous posts - Arnold Schwarzenegger should be Energy Secretary.

Governor Schwarzenegger has stepped up to establish himself as a leader within the energy arena. As governor of California, he heads a state with a larger population than Canada - a state that has, itself, long been a leader in energy initiatives. He is a moderate, but a Republican, nonetheless, and he would add to Obama's inclusive stance. He is also known and respected nationally and worldwide, which gives him greater opportunities to be an effective Energy Secretary.

To those who will point out his negatives, particularly his womanizing, I say, yes, you're right. But he is, today, a dedicated family man. And if you believe that every successful governor, senator, or secretary is a sin-free, non-smoking, teetotaling, celibate, church-goer, I say wake up and smell the energy crisis.

Posted by: dognabbit | December 8, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Chris:

Has anyone aside from the Houston Chronicle Editorial Board considered Amy Myers Jaffe for Secretary of Energy or high profile energy role in the administration. She comes from the US Energy capitol (Houston) and has the respect of people on all sides of the debate. Jaffe is the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow in Energy Studies at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and associate director of the Rice University Energy Program, a multidisciplinary program that includes activities addressing energy science and technology policy and research on the following topics: emerging energy technologies, environmental implications of energy production and use, and sustainable strategies for fulfilling the world's energy needs.

Jaffe leads the Baker Institute Energy Forum, a multifaceted program that promotes original, forward-looking discussion and research on the energy-related challenges that face society in the 21st century. The mission of the Energy Forum is to promote the development of informed and realistic public policy choices in the energy arena by educating policymakers and the public about important trends - both regional and global - that shape the nature of global energy markets and include the quantity and security of vital supplies needed to fuel world economic growth and prosperity. Jaffe's energy programs support projects in 13 departments and five centers at Rice University.

Jaffe was among the 2004 Key Women in Energy-Americas honorees in the Pathfinders/Trailblazers category, which recognizes "women who broke traditional barriers or changed the face of the energy industry at some point in their career." In 2005 she was named an honoree for Esquire's annual 100 Best and Brightest in the contribution to society category and Elle magazine's 2006 Women for the Environment. She has been named to Who's Who in America, 2008, and was a contributor to Foreign Policy magazine's "21 Solutions to Save the World" (May/June 2007).

http://www.rice.edu/energy/personnel/staff/AmyMyersJaffe.html

Posted by: riceowlsfan | December 7, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

She is the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow in Energy Studies at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and associate director of the Rice University Energy Program, a multidisciplinary program that includes activities addressing energy science and technology policy and research on the following topics: emerging energy technologies, environmental implications of energy production and use, and sustainable strategies for fulfilling the world's energy needs.

Jaffe leads the Baker Institute Energy Forum, a multifaceted program that promotes original, forward-looking discussion and research on the energy-related challenges that face society in the 21st century. The mission of the Energy Forum is to promote the development of informed and realistic public policy choices in the energy arena by educating policymakers and the public about important trends - both regional and global - that shape the nature of global energy markets and include the quantity and security of vital supplies needed to fuel world economic growth and prosperity. Jaffe's energy programs support projects in 13 departments and five centers at Rice University.

Jaffe was among the 2004 Key Women in Energy-Americas honorees in the Pathfinders/Trailblazers category, which recognizes "women who broke traditional barriers or changed the face of the energy industry at some point in their career." In 2005 she was named an honoree for Esquire's annual 100 Best and Brightest in the contribution to society category and Elle magazine's 2006 Women for the Environment. She has been named to Who's Who in America, 2008, and was a contributor to Foreign Policy magazine's "21 Solutions to Save the World" (May/June 2007).

http://www.rice.edu/energy/personnel/staff/AmyMyersJaffe.html

Posted by: riceowlsfan | December 7, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Put Aahnold in as Energy secretary.Not only does he know something about energy but he is a republican in name only anyway. Let's rescue him.

Posted by: Opa2 | December 6, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

According to the KC Star, Sebelius has taken herself out of the running for a Cabinet post. The inference is that she either didn't get the spot she wanted or was outright rejected by Obama. Very surprising. I figured that she would be in Washington come next year. Her term is up in 2010, and a possible Senate race against Jerry Moran (R-KS, 1st. Dist.) would be very difficult.

Posted by: mgalus19 | December 6, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Someone like Arnold or Sebelius would probably serve everyone better than a corporate representative. The energy solutions will need to concentrate on setting up individual households (just as important) and the larger picture of supplying our energy grids. Arnold at least in this area is a strong advocate and sees one solar panel on a home as equally significant to a large wind or solar farm. I do not believe we would be rightly served by the CEO of Duke Energy or any other large energy concern.

Posted by: bcorelitz | December 6, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Dorgan is the only effective, and, call 'em as you see 'em, Democrat, in the Senate. We need him more there than in a Cabinet Post. It's too bad we can't clone him; the Senate would be a far better place!!!

Posted by: buzzm1 | December 6, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey guys take it from someone with an inside view. The name might say DOE, but it should read something like: "Nukes R Us", or "Bombs Away". I suppose The "Department of Atomic Energy" or something like that might fit (pretending that nuclear weapons are self-maintaining).

DOE is about as interested in solar panels, wind or wave energy, geothermal, energy conservation, etc, as ... well the oil industry. Say 'nuclear power' and you get their undivided attention.

Posted by: DonJasper | December 6, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Schwarzenegger for Energy.
Tennenbaum for Education.
Granholm for Labor.
Sebellius for CMS Administrator (Medicare and Medicaid reform/expansion are going to be BIG issues for Obama, and she could serve two years and then run for Brownback's Senate seat).
Cleland or Hagel for VA. (And then replace Gates with Hagel in two years.)
Bring back Todd Whitman for EPA, and let her actually do the job

Posted by: benmartin73 | December 6, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Of the names on this list
Schwarzenegger - energy. We need someone who can sell, sell, sell the need for an energy Manahttan Project approach. He will draw attention every time he speaks.

Dorgan - Senate Majority Leader. nuff said.
Granholm - Labor
Sebelius - Education.

This presidenting is easy. Time for lunch.

Posted by: NunzusCaesar | December 6, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

They should choose Schwarzenegger-- he's a dynamic advocate, and it would remove one of the big challengers for Barbara Boxer's Democratic senate seat in California. Also, to paraphrase LBJ, it'd be better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in. This is a post he's expressed interest in before, saying even before the election that he would be interested in serving in Obama's cabinet. I say give it to him.

Posted by: jdmaccoby | December 6, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

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