Democrats & Liberals Archives

Baroody: Safe at any Place

Our illustrious president chose Michael E. Baroody, executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), to be chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Pretty good match, no? The guy who has spent his career protecting the safety at any sweatshop, surely knows how to protect the safety at any home or at any place.

The one who started the whole product safety movement was Ralph Nader. After he fiercely criticized automobiles as "Unsafe at Any Speed," the Consumer Product Safety Commission was formed. Auto manufacturers tried every scheme in the book to corrupt Nader, but none of them worked. Nader and his cohorts pushed ahead to build the consumer movement. All of us benefit from it. But Bush wants to change this.

Auto manufacturers eventually learned their lesson. They now worry and work hard for product safety. However, other manufacturers, those represented by NAM, have not. They hate safety regulations of all kinds.

Along comes Bush, who does not like anything that is called a regulation, and he picks someone who has been an opponent of Nader to run the Consumer Product Safety Commission. One wonders whether Baroody's job would be to increase the safety of products or the profit-potential of products.

If Baroody's appointment were approved by the Senate, I'm sure, like other officials of the Bush Administration, he will have good mottos, such as:

  • "Safe at any home or any place"
  • "Safe for any child or any user"
He'll put up the mottos while tearing down the safety protections. He'll tell us we should not be punishing companies with regulations that may cost money to implement. Then, he will tell us that the companies will regulate themselves. Where have we heard that before?

Commerce is run by someone familiar with commerce and advocates commerce. Defense is run by someone familiar with defense and advocates a powerful defense. Consumer Product Safety should be run by someone familiar with safety and advocates strong safety.

Someone like Ralph Nader should be appointed to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Of course, Bush would never do such a thing. But at the very least, he should find someone who has worked FOR product safety and not AGAINST it to appoint to this post.

Vote against Baroody's appointment by writing to or calling your senator and telling him or her to vote against the confirmation of Michael E. Baroody to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you don't do this many American manufactured products will become unsafe at any home or any place

Posted by Paul Siegel at March 2, 2007 6:03 PM
Comment #210235

Welcome back Paul. I hope you had a good vacation.

I met Baroody years ago when he was working in Roman Hruska’s Senate office in the early 70’s. There’s not much on the net about Hruska.

The only good thing I can think of is that Hruska was in favor of desegregation. Hruska’s representation of Nebraska was somewhat loved by the eastern part of the state and hated by most of the more rural parts of the state.

When I met Baroody he was affable but obviously conservatve. Not compassionate conservative, just conservative. No one at that time bothered with “compassion” if they were conservative. They just promised prosperity and generally referred to the New Deal as “robbery”.

I met with him to present alternative notions regarding Vietnam. I thought I would actually meet with Hruska. Needless to say, that went over like a sledload of poo. The message from Baroody then fits in well with the neocon message now.

Think the end of the war in Nam and the end of this damn war. I’ll try to find some links.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 2, 2007 7:24 PM
Comment #210240


Here’s another referral:

“Baroody began his career in 1970 in the Washington office of Nebraska Senator Roman Hruska. He then worked for Kansas Senator Bob Dole, first as his speech writer and press aide at the RNC, and later as the executive assistant in his Senate office.”

My point with that is he did NOT get Dole nominated for POTUS so he’s a failure.

Oh & yeah, I want to get even for him talking down at me. Really!

Posted by: KansasDem at March 2, 2007 7:50 PM
Comment #210244

Paul, you make a number of inflammatory statements here but never bother to back any of them up.

Auto manufacturers eventually learned their lesson. They now worry and work hard for product safety. However, other manufacturers, those represented by NAM, have not. They hate safety regulations of all kinds.

Do you have any support for this claim that these manufacturers “hate” safety regulations? Or for your claim that “many American products” are now going to become unsafe?

I don’t see why manufacturers would not have a very strong interest in safety standards, considering the harm that can be done to their brand name and the potential lawsuits. I see no reason why a person with background in safety from the manufacturing end shouldn’t do this job. This isn’t about writing the laws, you know (that’s what Congress does).

Your whole argument boils down to the idea that you think the appointment should go to Nader, but you must realize that it would be a cold day in hell before Bush would appoint Nader to anything. In fact, not even a Democratic president would ever think of appointing Nader.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 2, 2007 8:20 PM
Comment #210259


You totally disregard the fact that Baroody fits in perfectly with the Neocon ideal. I made inflammatory statements. I don’t see that Paul made any.

Are you old enough to remember the Corvair front end problems or the Pinto gas tank problems?

I can personally guarantee you that Baroody fits in well with the PNAC strategy. I saw that first hand in the early 70’s.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 2, 2007 9:04 PM
Comment #210260

L.O. You are right, this is not about writing the laws, it is about enforcing the laws. Republican presidents and their appointees are usually very good at not enforcing laws that regulate business. Also, they are usually very good at not prosecuting violaters.

Posted by: jlw at March 2, 2007 9:17 PM
Comment #210262

KansasDem, no offense, but your “first hand” impressions of a man from 30+ years ago when he was a senate aide to whom you were proposing “alternatives to the Vietnam war” just doesn’t carry much weight. In fact, the whole interaction sounds trivial if not a little absurd.

Especially since the worst thing you can say about him is that according to your subjective opinion he seemed conservative but not “compassionate.” How can you say that that he’s not compassionate? Because you and him didn’t put your heads together and end the Vietnam War one day in his office? Give me a break.

Jlw, your argument seems to be that any Republican is not appropriate for this job because they are a Republican and Republicans don’t want to enforce laws that regulate business. I’d dispute that Republicans don’t enforce such laws, but your problem seems to be with the very existence of a Republican administration. Fine—you’re entitled to that view—but the fact is that a Republican president is going to to make Republican appointments, and everything I’ve seen so far tells me that Baroody has solid experience in this field (unlike, say Michael Brown did at FEMA), and there’s no reason to oppose him except that some would prefer Bush to nominate far left flaming liberals like Nader to his administration.

But guess what? That’s not gonna happen.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 2, 2007 9:45 PM
Comment #210271


Given the influence on PNAC I’d say it’s darn relevant. I’d be very surprised if I didn’t find his name at PNAC. You’d have had to be there. In 1970/71 the anti-war sentiment was much stronger than it is now.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 2, 2007 10:52 PM
Comment #210274

Well, let’s start by seeing if Michael is the son of William. There does seem to be a hierarchy among the neocons.

“During its first decade, the AEI focused on Congress lobbying. In 1954, William J. Baroody, in charge of the US Chamber of Commerce, assumed the direction of the Institute. Continuing with its lobbying in Congress, the American Enterprise Institute also began to address the general public to become a propaganda center of the Republican ruling elite.”

Yep, Michael and William:

“But Mr. Baroody died just months before Reagan’s election, and his successor, son William Baroody Jr., struggled to maintain his father’s legacy in a transformed political environment. With so many prominent AEIers in government, and with the emergence of several energetic new think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, AEI’s reputation and finances suffered.”

Ain’t it grand. this crap goes back to the 50’s.

My mind was still quite sharp in the 70’s. I new when I was being fed crap even if it tasted like corn fed beef. Momma didn’t raise no fools.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 2, 2007 11:26 PM
Comment #210275

KansasDem, what you’re saying makes no sense.

PNAC didn’t even exist until the late 1990s, and it had nothing to do with Vietnam. Vietnam was not a “neocon” war at all, unless Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were neocons.

Further, PNAC and neoconservative thinking pertains to foreign policy, and who gives a rat’s rear-end about a product safety commissioner’s views about foreign policy, much less about foreign policy thirty years ago? How is that relevant to anything?

Personally, I care as much about Baroody’s views on Vietnam as I do my mailman’s and the local dog catcher’s. If you think people should be disqualified from their jobs for supporting the Vietnam war—well, that’s going to rival the Spanish Inquisition before it’s all said and done.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 2, 2007 11:29 PM
Comment #210276

Impressive sleuthing there.

Here I thought that George Bush only nominated left-wing activists, but you’ve pulled the covers right off and revealed that this man supported Reagan and has worked for some of the organizations that we conservatives revere most. I’m shocked.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 2, 2007 11:43 PM
Comment #210278


If you can’t get the connection between AEI and PNAC I’ll not waste my time.

Well, I’ll make it real darn simple. I’m what J. Edgar would have called a PINKO. I read too much. I think peace is possible in my lifetime.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 3, 2007 12:02 AM
Comment #210283

Good post Paul, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is an important protector of the people and this guy looks like most Bush appointees, the exact wrong person for the job. LO and the other Bush apologists, there are probably plenty of Republicans who could perform this job with integrity and honor. While I may disagree with most Republicans, it’s a matter of degree. Baroody is as far from the guy who should have this job as there is. He is a manufacturer’s advocate and has no background as far as I have seen in safety advocacy. It is like appointing an athiest to the papacy. Or, like appointing John Bolton UN ambassador, John Ashcroft at Justice, Alberto Gonzalez at Justice, Harriet Miers for Supreme Court, Donald Rumsfeld at Defense, and the list goes on…

When we don’t have good consumer safety protection people die and get maimed by products and this guy does not appear to be someone to stand up for consumers.

Posted by: Tom Snediker at March 3, 2007 12:38 AM
Comment #210322

I agree Paul, Baroody is the worst possible choice. No doubt he’ll do a heckuva job.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 3, 2007 11:41 AM
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