Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, laughed off rumors that he is in the running for an appointment as education secretary under president-elect Barack Obama.
“Oh no, I prefer to remain Education Chairman,” Miller said in a phone conversation earlier today, referring to his powerful post as chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. He is also one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top policy advisers and has considerable input into the party’s platform.
While a cabinet secretary post sounds prestigious — and it is — the 32-year veteran of Congress is better poised as a committee chairman and a Pelosi confidant to advance an agenda well beyond that of education. As education secretary, he would be a political appointee charged with implementing his boss’ ideas.
Instead, Miller eagerly awaits the time, after Obama takes office, when Democrats control the White House, Congress and the U.S. Senate. That hasn’t happened since President Bill Clinton’s first two years in office in 1992-1994.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for everything I have worked for for so many years,” Miller said.
Privately, some make the point that a cabinet position in a historic presidency would be a marvelous cap to Miller’s long and storied career. (None of this, of course, has anything to do with the ambitious Democrats back home in Contra Costa County waiting for him to retire.)
Perhaps they haven’t talked to George lately. But he doesn’t sound to me like a guy looking to “cap” his career unless it is with a long string of legislative successes.