Locke to Commerce: No Excitement, No Controversy

05/25/2011 01:05 pm ET

That's what the AP is reporting:

A senior administration official says that President Barack Obama's likely third pick for Commerce secretary is former Washington Gov. Gary Locke.

Huh. Locke isn't exactly a lot of folks' favorite governor, though apart from his conventional approach to trade issues it's hard to argue that he's a bad choice for Commerce.

Washington is one of our nation's most export dependent states, consistently ranking fourth overall in total exports behind California, Texas and New York, and first in exports per capita. And as our nation's first Chinese-American governor Locke is uniquely positioned to bridge the cultural gap with one our most important trading partners.

I'd say this is a safe appointment for Obama, one that will generate little excitement and little controversy. Locke is honest, workmanlike, and socially progressive (by national standards) if politically cautious, and while I'd prefer a Commerce Secretary who might at least challenge the current orthodoxy on trade, given his tenure in the governor's mansion I wouldn't expect much leadership from him on these issues one way or the other.

Unless he's got some tax or nanny issue I'm unaware of, this should be an easy confirmation.

[David Goldstein writes on Washington state politics at]