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...a sweatshop of moxie

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

That's Two Close Supporters Out

Ex-Senator Tom Daschle, a very early Obama supporter who threw his lot with the rising politician over 2 years ago, joins Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg in the "sorry, but you're expendable" category for President Obama as he takes his name out of consideration as HHS Secretary.

As if we didn't already know that Barack Obama likes to throw inconvenient or controversial people "under the bus", we now have another concrete example of that habit. The President went on national nightly news with Brian Williams to say he "screwed up" about the Daschle choice, the day after vowing to stand by his man. He's cutting his losses, even though on the surface he's apologetic about it.

Of course, neither Kennedy nor Daschle helped their cause, having had significant barriers to their proposed positions -- especially given that these centered on the tricky tax question, a deeply unpopular and hypocritical situation to be in at the moment.

They join a fast expanding list of ex-worthies who had to demur from their rumoured positions because of "personal" problems, including ex-Veep hopeful, Governor Bill Richardson.

People may be saying that if President Obama really really wants someone for a post, he will fight for them like he did with Timothy Geithner. In fact, that nomination may be the last one which was confirmable and he knows it.

Now, Presidential appointments often cause controversy early in an administration. Who amongst us doesn't remember the Kimba Wood or Zoe Baird fiascos? How about Linda Chavez?

Yet, due to the unbelievable goodwill Barack Obama has at the moment, far outstripping anything accorded to Clinton or Bush 43 both, one would think his golden touch wouldn't fail him so early.

One thing is for sure. Americans do not seem at all happy with men and women who, because of their lofty statuses, seem to get away with situations for which the rest of us would pay dearly.

What I'd really like to know is, how do they get away with it for so long, when most of us would be in heaps-loads of trouble with the IRS by now?

Daschle, who has always looked to me like a cross between David Letterman and Paul Theroux, was the great white hope of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Apparently, there is literally no one waiting in the wings to take such a sensitive position. The purported nationalisation of the American health care system requires a deft hand, who knows his or her way around Washington. I've read that ex-Chief of Staff to President Clinton, John Podesta is a possible alternate, but it was Daschle who had the seignorial clout of an ex-Senate Minority leader.

I'm guessing the next nominee won't be a Dr. Sanjay Gupta type, though even if I sound facetious, that type of person is much more likely to have a clean tax record than any former politician or Washington insider.

Who knew that Leona Helmsley's sneer of "only little people pay taxes" didn't include the little people who are supposed to make up the Democratic Party?


A progressive blogger, Punditmom, wonders if there is not an anti-woman bias in the Geithner-Baird-Wood situations. Of course there is, and I say this as a non-feminist. The double-standard is breathtakingly hypocritical.

I'll be delighted to hear opinion about the Nancy Killefer pull-out, because I think her woes put the nail on Daschle's coffin. She took them both out.

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