Commerce nominee appears to endorse world government in video, Republicans say

John Rossomando Contributor
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Does John Bryson, Barack Obama’s nominee for commerce secretary, want a world government?

Critics say a newly uncovered video of the nominee suggests that he does.

In the video – given to The Daily Caller by sources on Capitol Hill – Bryson refers to the 2009 United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen as “the closest thing we have to a world governance organization,” implying it provided the best model for imposing climate regulations on countries around the globe.

Bryson also boasts about his role as an adviser to the U.N. secretary general on climate change in the video.

Bryson’s nomination has already run into problems stemming from his involvement in the founding of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a liberal environmental group, during the 1970s. Critics say Bryson’s advocacy of cap and trade, among other environmental regulations, is at odds with the pro-business mission of the Commerce Department. This video adds to the controversy.

Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee, has denounced Bryson for favoring what the senator calls the administration’s “job-killing agenda.” California Rep. Darrell Issa, who chairs the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, has attacked Bryson for being a “green evangelist”.

The nominee’s remarks seem to imply he longs for a more powerful U.N. that can impose its will in addressing climate change, according to Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring.

“Bryson’s willingness to cede American sovereignty over domestic energy production to the United Nations may be a disqualifier for him to serve as secretary of commerce,” said Brian Darling, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation who watched the video. “Bryson should be asked to explain his comments and where the United Nations derives the authority to force the United States into U.N.-approved regulations on U.S. energy producers.”

“Constitutional conservatives do not believe that the United Nations has the authority under the US Constitution to mandate any changes to U.S. policy and if Bryson was advocating for this, then Senators should take that important factor into consideration during the confirmation process of Bryson.”

Other conservative critics note that the secretary of commerce’s role is to promote trade around the globe and say Bryson’s comments seem to place his commitment to that role in doubt.

“The point is that his views on global government and on global governance, and on climate change are diametrically opposed to goals of the commerce secretary,” said Hanna. “His job is to increase exports, reduce unemployment, provide jobs and help the US economy.”

But Bryson’s advocacy of global carbon emissions standards would accomplish the exact opposite, according to Hanna.

“If we followed the standards of Copenhagen, we would have decreased exports, increased unemployment and a loss of global competitiveness,” Hanna said. “He is wrong on just about every metric by which a commerce secretary is judged.”

However, Myron Ebell, director of energy and climate change at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told TheDC the video was “not much of a smoking gun”.

While Ebell believes conservatives and libertarians have a lot to be concerned about regarding Bryson’s nomination, latching onto his comments in the video are a bit of stretch.

Bryson has received the backing of the New York Times editorial page, which lauded his “distinguished career as a businessman, public servant and environmentalist” and called him the “right businessman-environmentalist for the job” in a June 5 column.

The nominee’s background as CEO of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, does not imply that he has an understanding of competitive business because utilities are quasi-governmental monopolies that would benefit from higher electricity prices stemming from cap and trade, according to Ebell.