I once had a partner agency tell my Account Director, "This what happens when agencies try to integrate....someone gets screwed." Judd Gregg just screwed President Obama.
There was a lot of clapping and cheering when Barack Obama announced he'd nominate Judd Gregg as Commerce Secretary. The nomination made for three members of the opposition party in the cabinet and made for more than a symbolic gesture of bi=partisanship but fulfilled Obama's goal of having a Team of Rivals advising him to avoid group-think.
Well, hot on the heels of blustery debate surrounding the proposed economic stimulus package in Congress now, Gregg has just withdrawn his nomination citing "irresolvable conflicts" with President Barack Obama's handling of the economic stimulus and 2010 census.
"We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy," he said in a statement released by his Senate office.
Well, no shit. That's the point. If Obama wanted someone with whom he agreed entirely on economic policy there are a slew of qualified Democrats from which he could have selected.
So, is Gregg's withdrawal just an incredibly tacky and opportunistic political maneuver? Only he knows for sure but somebody's definitely getting screwed in this deal.
While the Obama administration now has another embarrassing cabinet nomination withdrawal to deal with, Republicans were already celebrating Gregg's decision to stay in the Senate.
"Sen. Gregg made a principled decision to return and we're glad to have him," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). "He is among the smartest, most effective legislators to serve in the Senate—Democrat or Republican—and a key advisor to me and to the Republican Conference. It's great to have him back."
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) was equally happy to have one of the top financial minds in the GOP securely on the Republican side of the Senate aisle: "Judd Gregg would have been a strong Cabinet member, but it is good for the country and the Senate that he will continue to be a Republican senator."