Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Let Me Tell You How It Will Be...

UPDATE: 2:15 pm Only a few minutes after I confidently declared the Daschle nomination would be pushed through, he withdraws. Great. In hindsight, this already seems like it was a foregone conclusion. Live and learn.

Does anyone pay their taxes?

First it was Timothy Geithner, the now-confirmed Treasury Secretary. Then it was Tom Daschle, Obama's nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services (i.e. the guy who's supposed to fix health care). It didn't end there, when today, Nancy Killefer, nominee for Chief Performance Officer, withdrew her candidacy, citing some tax issues that she didn't want to become a distraction for the Obama Administration.

The excuse given for Geithner and Daschle is that they have been designated to fill such vital roles in the new administration that they're indispensable. If you believe healthcare reform is important, then there's a compelling public interest in seeing Daschle pushed through. On the one hand, it's a refreshing departure from the Bush appointments, where utterly unqualified hacks were appointed to run things like FEMA. Obama is making appointments on the basis of competence - no one is saying Geithner and Daschle aren't two of the top dogs in their respective fields.

But when you try to balance the competency argument with Obama's promise of a more ethical government, someone ends up flying ass-up off the seesaw. Of course, this is more of a political embarrassment than a substantive issue. It's got a big fat ironic red bow on it for Republicans who like to whine about tax-and-spend liberals. It also just makes people angry; it straddles the line between cozy and corrupt, depending on who you talk to.

Eventually, Tom Daschle will be confirmed, because Democrats have the votes and Daschle has the political capital. But Republicans will be making lots of loud noises in the process. If any of those loud noises include viable alternatives to his nomination though, I'll be very surprised.

1 comment:

  1. I hope that you're right. But things like Rush Limbaugh's power really scare me into thinking that you're wrong. We think that politics should be about one thing when it's really about nothing.


Follow TheLoveSchack on Twitter