U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe has said Lisa Jackson is one of his five favorite liberals. Inhofe is no fan of the policy positions of the Environmental Protection Agency that Jackson runs. But the Tulsa Republican respects Jackson and says that she and he have engaged in constructive dialogue over the past four years.
Jackson is leaving the Obama administration, the latest in a line of Cabinet officials to decline serving into the president's second term. Such turnover isn't unusual. Cabinet posts typically turn over when a re-elected president starts a final term. In fact, it's unusual for a Cabinet secretary to remain for two full terms.
Unfortunately for the nation, Janet Reno was President Bill Clinton's only attorney general. It's rare for an AG to stay more than four years, yet Eric Holder — whose record is as tarnished as was Reno's — remains on the job. If he leaves, his post may go to another Cabinet member, Department of Homeland Security's Janet Napolitano.
Presidents have 16 Cabinet appointments. Obama wants to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with U.S. Sen. John Kerry. The job of secretary of defense may go to a former senator, Chuck Hagel. Other impending appointments will likely include the secretary of the treasury (Timothy Geithner is the incumbent) and secretary of energy (Steven Chu).
Some Cabinet members will enter the second term but leave midway through — if not earlier. Holder is on that list, as are Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Reno's critics were discouraged by her longevity, but she was one of four Clinton Cabinet appointees to stay on the job for eight years. By contrast, only Labor Secretary Elaine Cho stayed with George W. Bush for two full terms.
As for Jackson, she will likely be replaced by someone with similar views, which is not good news for this country.