Gary Locke has officially been confirmed as Commerce secretary — not that he or anyone else seems particularly excited by this development.
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The often stoic Locke even played the race card to deflect scrutiny. Malkin quoted him telling a 1997 meeting of the Asian American Journalists Association: “(M)ost painful to me, my ethnicity has meant that my campaign has been targeted for special scrutiny because of the fact that many Asian Americans across the country contributed to my campaign and John Huang contributed to my campaign.” Eventually his campaign gave the money back.
A conspiracy theorist might say the Clark Kent-like persona of Locke, whose job as Commerce secretary could include approving sensitive exports to China, is ideal for a Manchurian candidate loyal to a hostile foreign government.
When she was Washington state’s first lady, Mona Locke raised some eyebrows with her inarticulate, stunningly naïve comments about life in communist China. When asked on “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” how human rights concerns and trade might be balanced, Mrs. Locke said, “I think when we went into China, being a cynical former journalist in a past life, I was very cynical about what I would see there and how much of a hold communism would have on these people and their daily lives. And I was surprised, quite surprised, that they seemed to be living quite normal lives in terms of, you know, what we know of democracy.”
The former reporter also fawned over Chinese early childhood education facilities in China, appearing in a 1999 made-for-TV documentary called “Precious Children.” In it she led a group of 60 teachers visiting China. “There was a dialogue started and that was the purpose of this mission: to see what they’re doing and open up minds and establish relationships.”
Mrs. Locke’s family has longstanding ties to the powerful. Her grandmother’s second husband was the son of Sun Yat-sen, who led the revolution that overthrew China’s last emperor.
The Locke family’s ties to the People’s Republic, while suspicious to some, aren’t necessarily proof of anything. They’ve hardly registered at all politically.
Senators seem barely concerned about the potential issue even though Locke’s aggressive promotion of U.S.-China trade may force him to seek an ethics waiver from the Obama administration. For becoming the first Chinese-American governor of a U.S. state, Locke is a celebrity in mainland China. After the warm reception Locke received in China during a trip there in 1997, President Clinton quipped that “there’s a good chance that Gary Locke has a sterling opportunity to become the first American president of China.”
Locke has leveraged his high profile to advocate for several companies such as Microsoft and Starbucks doing business in rapidly developing Chinese markets.
Although President Obama signed an executive order blocking executive branch officials from working on issues “directly and substantially related” to their former clients or employers for two years, it’s unclear how the president will handle Locke’s business ties to China. Obama has already handed out several waivers and the media has barely noticed, so reporters, especially at the New York Times, would likely snooze through such a waiver being granted to Locke.
On other issues, at a Senate confirmation hearing, Locke assured Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) that only actual, live people would be counted by the Census. Democrats have long favored using statistical modeling, a practice controversial because it’s flagrantly unconstitutional and because it opens up the counting process to political manipulation.
“It is my understanding that there are no plans to use any type of statistical sampling with respect to population count,” Locke told members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee last week.
While promising to protect U.S. intellectual property rights, Locke sidestepped a question from Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) who railed against China for allegedly allowing widespread theft of U.S. products such as movies and for manipulating its currency to make its exports cheaper. “Maybe we need to have a brawl with the Chinese,” the senator said.
For giving the right answers and non-answers, the committee rewarded Locke by unanimously approving his nomination.
Despite his somnolence, Locke, who has a vaguely Canadian-sounding accent, has an interesting personal story and he’s demonstrated that he is willing to do the Obama administration’s bidding.
As the president noted in presenting the nominee at a Feb. 25 media event, Locke didn’t learn English until the age of five, but still became an Eagle Scout, later earning a law degree from Yale University. He returned to his home state and became a prosecutor, a state representative, chief executive of King County, and governor from 1997 to 2005. After his term as governor ended, he disappeared from the public spotlight.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online