Tom Vilsack

How Barack Obama Sold Out the Kale Crowd
April 29, 2014

The story of how the foodiest president let down his foodie base

How Obama’s Latest Education Initiative Could Threaten American Preschool
March 23, 2012

Last month, I toured Washington D.C.’s Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center, one of 1,600 low-income preschool providers funded by the federal Head Start program. At lunchtime, well-behaved four- and five-year-olds dutifully served each other apples, cucumbers, and noodle soup. Elsewhere, a more mischievous group rolled on the floor while a teacher patiently tried to read aloud. Everything I saw suggested happy students, clean classrooms, and engaged teachers. Indeed, Mazique has become something of a poster child for Head Start.

A Rural Economic Forum in Metropolitan Iowa
August 16, 2011

Today, Iowa performs a quick-change as it shifts from GOP straw-poll battleground to hosting President Obama’s bus tour of the Midwest. The caravan will park in Peosta, at Northeast Iowa Community College, for a White House Rural Economic Forum.

The Idiocy Of Rural Talking Points
March 09, 2011

The other day, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called up Ezra Klein to protest Klein's opposition to agriculture payments and other rural subsidies. The interview is a remarkably revealing. I knew the case for rural subsidies was weak, but I had no idea it was this weak. He argues for food subsidies because the U.S. needs to be self-sufficient in food, which is silly.

Requiem for the DLC
February 09, 2011

After a good quarter-century run, the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) has announced it will close its doors this month. Its original mission has long been accomplished: This small but famous—or, depending on your orientation, infamous—organization was founded in the wake of the 1984 Walter Mondale debacle by two House Democratic Caucus staffers named Al From and Will Marshall, who enlisted an assortment of elected officials with names like Clinton, Gore, Gephardt, Nunn, Babbitt, and Robb.

The End of the Fox News Era
July 26, 2010

Washington—The smearing of Shirley Sherrod ought to be a turning point in American politics.

Regional Innovation Goes Rural
July 12, 2010

One of the more gratifying aspects of the growing embrace not just by the Obama administration but Congress of regional innovation strategies (including those supporting regional industry clusters) has been the increased recognition among rural thinkers and actors that such strategies are in no way exclusively “urban” or cosmopolitan or high-tech. Now, that recognition on the rural side has yielded a solid gain.

Another Vilsack in Washington?
October 14, 2009

Via Ben Smith, Radio Iowa reports that Christie Vilsack--wife of the guy currently responsible for grading your meat--might challenge Chuck Grassley in 2010. A couple months ago, Matthew Yglesias and Ezra Klein argued that Obama screwed up by putting Tom Vilsack in his cabinet when Democrats would have been better served by having the popular former Iowa governor run against Grassley.

Vilsack To Agriculture
December 16, 2008

NYT is reporting that former Iowa governor and (short-lived) Democratic presidential candidate Tom Vilsack will be Obama's secretary of agriculture. Vilsack endorsed Hillary Clinton during the primaries, questioning Obama's experience, but campaigned for the president-elect during the general election. He is slated to be announced at a press conference tomorrow, along with Ken Salazar for the interior secretary post. See here for an amusing anecdote via Jason about Vilsack's relationship with David Axelrod. --Seyward Darby

If It's Vilsack Anecdotes You Want, It's Vilsack Anecdotes I've Got
October 28, 2008

Rumors that Tom Vilsack might be Obama's Secretary of Agriculture give me just the news peg I've been waiting for to get some mileage out of this Vilsack-ag anecdote (that my editors inexplicably didn't see fit to include in my David Axelrod profile). There was one major bone of contention between candidate Vilsack and consultant Axelrod during Vilsack's 1998 Iowa gubernatorial campaign. As Vilsack explained it to me: I was absolutely in love with my idea that Iowa was going to become a "food capital," by which I meant we'd do more with crops--producing fuels and paper and things like that.