12 February, 2009

Dep't of things that don't make much sense

Looks like New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg has withdrawn from his nomination as Commerce Secretary.

This whole kerfluffle strikes me as bizarre. Unlike others in the blogosphere, I thought the original nomination made quite a bit of sense from both sides. Obama gets to have another Republican in his cabinet, albeit in a relatively small-potatoes post, that could make his case to the opposition - and he cleared the way for another Democratic senator from NH come 2010. From Gregg's side, maybe you don't agree with Obama 100%, but you know which way the wind is blowing, and you know that re-election in 2010 is looking like a tough, tough fight at best. Why not bow out gracefully by accepting the position - and perhaps even using your position there to push the Administration towards entitlement reform or other center-right economic goals?

But now he pulls a complete 180, and declares in addition that he's not running 2010, either. This makes no sense. He cites disagreement over the stimulus, but if you disagreed with Obama that much, why did you agree to the post in the first place? Obama was pushing his 800b stimulus three weeks ago too; its not like the administration's policy goals have been a big secret. So maybe its for political reasons? It sounds like the GOP is furious with him - but if you are not going to run again in 2010, what in the world does it matter? And if you did want to run again in 2010, you had to damn well know that serving in Obama's adminstration was going to make that impossible. What leverage, then, does the GOP have to scare him out of the position?

And for God's sake, if filling the Commerce post is going to be this difficult, why not just pick me? I'm a fast learner, I have no constituency to answer to - I'll just do whatever Larry Summers tells me to do. Promise.

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