Thursday, December 15, 2016

So what does this pick of Rex Tillerson over Mitt Romney mean?

I was interested by this CNN take on the Romney vs Tillerson Secretary of State issue. Rex Tillerson would not have been my first choice for Secretary of State (I doubt I would have considered him at all), but I do not believe that President Elect Trump's decision was capricious. Concerning might be a better way to describe it--in that it exposes some of the different fractions and forces trying to influence Donald Trump's decisions.

Mr. Tillerson will face some questions and presumably his confirmation hinges on his answers. Mark Levin and Conservative Review has some pretty substantive criticism of Rex Tillerson. There are issues here (especially for me on Tillerson's support of a carbon tax) that give me real pause. But I also recognize why lots of public companies tend to go center left and politically correct on social issues (that does not make it right, but I understand it). In Tillerson's defense, there is this story.

Yes, Levin is right that Tillerson is the GOPe pick.  That is troublesome, but he is the President Elect's pick. Powerline gives some good advice on this--we should wait and see how Tillerson responds to questions at the confirmation hearing. I hope he gets fair but tough questions.

While I may end up disagreeing strongly about this selection, picking Tillerson certainly does not mean Trump is a "unloyal American." That breathless over the top statement came from failed third party presidential candidate Evan McMullin. You would expect that sort of statement from the delusional left. We should criticize Trump when he wrong and congratulate him when he is right. Even Erick Erickson is willing to give Trump a chance (perhaps #NeverTrumper Neil Stevens will ban him).

EBL:  John BoltonMitt Romney, and Rex Tillerson at State

Instapundit: Kissinger likes Tillerson (is that supposed to reassure us), Brand choice?, What Brand Choice?, Head Fake?, Game of ThronesSo Vox and Bernie were right?

Wombat: Mark Steyn: A note to my readers (and would be viewers) and Twitchy: Chris Hayes 
defends sick Trump incest joke


  1. I accept Glenn's 1st idea of what Tillerson means to Trump's brand. The business of America is business. Here, we have an American who runs the largest company in the world. A company, like many of its competitors, must operate around the world and in many countries to be at the level that it is. I can think of a few people more imminently qualified to understand the role of Secretary of State. What erks most, is that Tillerson isn't a DC man.

    I also doubt Tillerson will be America first either. I don't mean that in a bad way either. I think he will understand the value of free markets, and the dangers of Trumps rhetoric that hints at trade wars. I like that Trump is willing to fight back against unfair trade, but I do worry that his rhetoric might be too real. I think Tillerson will be a bit more moderate in his tone.

    Alas, I expect Tillerson's nomination process to go over like Bork.

    1. As I said elsewhere, Tillerson may be the opening bid in a "you come down a little, I'll come up a little" to get somebody like Rudy in.

  2. What Tillerson thinks of a carbon tax has nothing to do with his job as SecState.

    One thing I don't think a lot of people get is that Trump is hiring for a particular position, not creating an ideological band of brothers. Tillerson's job will be diplomacy, not revenue.

    If you see the US Government as a corporation, it makes a lot more sense. Trump is a businessman and he acts like one.

    At least, that's the way it seems to me.

    1. ed, what makes the carbon tax issue an issue is the fear Ivanka wants to push that. And climate change nonsense is an issue that keeps coming up in treaties (involving the State Department).

      Still, I am willing to think as CEO of ExxonMobil it was easier to give that topic lip service to avoid headaches. I just hope there is not more to this.

  3. Tillerson, and many major oil execs, support the carbon tax for a simple reason. LNG produces very little carbon emissions when burned, and the price per thousand cubic feet (MCF) is about $3.5, up from where it was prior to the Paris Accord at around $2 MCF.

    So let's play with the math: XOM in 2014 reported a reserve of 25.3 Million boe (barrel of oil equivalent), of which 46% is in gas form. So 11.6 Million boe in Natural Gas. USGS rounds up to 6 MCF as 1 boe. So, that's about 69.8 Million MCF of gas reserves, which just went from $2 MCF to $3.5 MCF. I'll let you finish the rest of the math. That's why there is support for a carbon tax.

    That, and by supporting the carbon tax; you take away the fake argument that such companies are supporting the destruction of the planet by not supporting climate change efforts. The fake argument is that climate change is real. It's also fake that oil majors won't support efforts that destroy competition from mining companies involved with coal.

    Now, we don't have to like any of this; but would Tillerson be a responsible CEO if he didn't work the angle I just described?

  4. Agree with your first sentence completely.

    Not sure about the rest, other than the main point, which I agree. Trump will run the government like a business. I'm fine with it too.


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