He's been a director at Boeing and Disney, and the US Chamber of Commerce's boss said he had "extensive knowledge of the private sector and years of experience successfully running a major company...."
So why are Republicans sharpening their knives and foaming at the mouth to shank John E. Bryson, President Barack Obama's nominee for Commerce Secretary?
Although Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said, "we hope Mr. Bryson will be a strong voice for American business," words that might normally send GOP pols bowing and scraping, Republicans have displayed nothing but disdain for the appointment necessitated by former Commerce Secretary Gary Locke's posting as Ambassador to China, and former China Ambassador Jon Huntsman's abandoning his post to seek personal glory and fortune as a GOP presidential candidate. Republicans rarely need any excuse to obstruct any Obama appointment, but Bryson is guilty of a singular offense in the Republican eye: Bryson has something of an environmentalist background.
Not such a rabidly extreme environmentalist background that it would have precluded Bryson running the San Onofre nuclear power plant, which Bryson's company for twenty years, Edison International, owned. But, enough of an environmentalist background that he hadn't spent 24/7/365 for twenty years defiling the nation's air, water and land by spewing toxic waste and sludge over every available rock, tree and plant. To Republicans, anyone who hasn't actively clear-cut every forest, pumped toxins into every well, slimed flaming oil sludge onto every coast, and actually wrapped the planet with enough greenhouse gases to eradicate all life is just a limp-wristed, pencil-necked enviro-commie.
As a callow youth, Bryson helped found the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has grown to be a leading environmental group. Bryson also headed up BrightSource, a - horrors! - solar energy company. Now, Republicans figure anybody who has anything to do with solar power, unless it's smashing their panels and setting their factories on fire, has got to be an enviro-commie.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said as much, calling Bryson a "green evangelist," meaning that was somehow a negative thing. "With gas prices at nearly four dollars a gallon...the nomination of John Bryson...seems deeply out of touch with our current energy challenge."
Issa is the one who seemed out of touch, as gas is way over $4 a gallon anywhere people don't speak with a twang or a drawl, and that first-class rocket-ship ticket to the planet Republitopia where you can go after you've made Earth uninhabitable was just a joke. Darrell, listen carefully: There's no such planet, there's no such rocket-ship, and whatever you paid for that ticket has already been spent on booze and hookers.
Besides, Darrell, Edison International already greased your palm with $56,000 for you and your PACs. Isn't it enough that San Onofre has been spilling sulfuric acid and hydrazine regularly over the past couple years? Must there be a full nuclear meltdown and explosion wiping out all of LA and San Diego to make you happy? They're your constituents, fergawdsakes.
Apparently, Issa looks at footage from the Fukushima nuke disaster in Japan and pouts, "How come we never get anything good like that?" And, the $56K Issa got from Edison is chump change compared to the $140,000 oil companies shovelled his way. Highest bidder, and all that.
Issa and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), another well known oil industry - let's see, what's a word that means someone who would do filthy, disgusting, immoral and unhealthy things for money? oh, yeah - advocate, fears Byrson won't be on board when the oil moguls and coal magnates want to turn America into an open pit they can suck hydrocarbons out of to sell to the highest bidder. Republicans love talking about drilling babies, some sort of sick paedophilia fixation, so Americans can enjoy lower gas prices, but in fact, their oil and coal mogul cronies just want to pump more profits by selling anything they get overseas.
In recent months, the US exported more oil than it imported. After all, what oil company in its right mind would want to pump more oil to make gas prices lower?
Inhofe has vowed to sink the Bryson nomination, musing that he may place a "hold" on it because of Bryson's environmental bona fides. Inhofe will vilify Bryson as supporting cap and trade, as though that, too, were some sort of bad thing.
"By selecting John Bryson... President Obama is clearly demonstrating that he has no intention of backing down from his job-killing agenda," Inhofe sneered. Well, at least Obama's slightly oil-mogul inconveniencing agenda. Inhofe wouldn't want anyone inconveniencing the oil industry that's plied him with $1.2 million over the years.
Inhofe, incidentally, is not some sort of ancient Egyptian demon. Let's quash that rumor right away. You're thinking of Imhotep, who helped build the Step Pyramid of Saqqara in the 27th century, B.C. There is no need to ask Inhofe for a birth certificate.
Other Republican Senators vowed to hold the Byrson nomination hostage until Obama sends them trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama. The President favors the agreements, but he has refused to send the deals to Congress unless Republicans okay extending a program that helps get health care and financial aid for any workers who lose their jobs as a result of the deals.
Business groups want both too, but, apparently, Republicans would rather see displaced American workers beaten, poked, stabbed, set on fire and eaten by rats. That's why they're trying to wipe out Medicare and Social Security. John Yoo probably just deletes RNC emails without even reading them nowadays, because he just can't think of any more ways to torture people.
So, unless Republicans get someone who will uproot and burn every tree and plant and blade of grass, who will poison and putrefy every lake and river and stream and well, who will bulldoze and blast every mountain and hill and pile of rock, who will grind every square inch of America into a toxic radioactive wasteland strewn with the broken bodies of desperate survivors bereft of medicine or shelter, there will be no Cabinet Secretaries confirmed anytime soon.
After all, Republicans all have first-class seats on that rocket-ship to that other planet, where most of them, at least mentally, live already.