Human Behavior

There is definitely no logic to human behavior.

Sonny will feel right at home

The new president has filled all the vacancies in his cabinet by nominating Georgia’s own Sonny Perdue as the secretary of agriculture.

Perdue, of course, is well known here for the two terms he served as governor. While his administration didn’t produce much in the way of significant policy initiatives, Sonny was always good for a laugh or two.

I vividly remember the time he held a prayer session on the front steps of the capitol building in hopes that prayer would bring rain and break Georgia’s long drought. Perdue evidently was praying to the wrong deity — it didn’t rain that day or for a lot of days thereafter.

I don’t know how good a farmer Sonny is, but he really knows how to harvest tax credits.

During his first term as governor, a friendly legislator slipped in an amendment to a bill that quietly passed in the closing days of the session without much notice. That “midnight amendment” bestowed upon Perdue a $100,000 tax credit on some property he had purchased. Sonny signed the bill without informing the general public of that huge tax break.

The tax credit didn’t become public knowledge until a year and a half later, when Perdue was running for reelection.  My friend James Salzer broke the story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and it was the kind of scandal that normally would get a politician booted from office.

The voters reelected Perdue anyway. Here in Georgia, we have a soft spot for our scoundrels.

Perdue now heads north to Washington, where the Senate will presumably vote on his confirmation and he will be sworn in as a member of Donald Trump’s cabinet.

It is shaping up as one of the most interesting cabinets in presidential history.

Betsy DeVos, the nominee for education secretary, believes that we should have guns in our schools because of the ever-present threat of grizzly bear attacks.

I am not making this up. When DeVos was asked during her confirmation hearing if she believes guns have “any place in and around schools,” she cited the example of a school located in Wyoming: “I think probably there, I would imagine there is probably a gun in a school to protect from potential grizzlies.”

This prompted the comedian James Corden to comment: “She knows the right to bear arms isn’t about actual bears, right?”

The person nominated to be the next attorney general is Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, a senator from Alabama.

As the attorney general, Sessions would be responsible for enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws.  But in 1986, when Sessions was nominated for a federal judgeship, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected him after hearing some of the racially charged things he had said as a U.S. attorney.

Sessions had called one of his black assistants “boy” on several occasions.  He was quoted as saying he thought Ku Klux Klan members were “okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.” He said a white attorney who handled civil rights cases was “a disgrace to his race.”

Keep in mind that this was a Republican-controlled Senate throwing out a nomination from Republican President Ronald Reagan.

Then there’s Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas who will head the department of energy.

When Perry was first offered the appointment several weeks ago, he thought the job entailed being a global ambassador for the oil and gas industry. He didn’t discover until later that the Department of Energy is actually a complex federal agency responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons program, nuclear reactor production, and radioactive waste disposal

There is another Georgian, U.S. Rep. Tom Price, who’s been nominated as the secretary of health and human services.  The Wall Street Journal, one of the favorite newspapers of conservative Republicans, reports that Price has been actively trading medical stocks while he was working on health legislation in Congress that could affect those stock prices.

This is a huge conflict of interest, but it probably won’t prevent Price from getting the job where he could potentially take actions that would drive up the price of his stocks even more. In today’s atmosphere, that’s what passes for sound business judgment.

When I look at who he’ll be serving with, I’m convinced that Sonny Perdue will feel right at home in the new administration.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

Tags: Sonny Perdue , Trump cabinet

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