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Judd Gregg Withdraws

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hot on the heels of blustery debate surrounding the proposed economic stimulus package in Congress now, Gregg has just withdrawn his nomination citing "irresolvable conflicts" with President Barack Obama's handling of the economic stimulus and 2010 census.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.

UPDATE:
W.H. 'blindsided' by Gregg withdrawal

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."

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Comments

So if Karl Rove took over the census, you guys wouldn't have a problem with that?

yeah...right...

Hey Tim,
Of course I'd have a problem with that but that's not even what critics are suggesting Obama's thinking. The rumor is that he wants the Director of the 2010 Census to report to the White House, but congressional oversight would still be in place. If anything it's a removal of beauracracy, which small government conservatives are supposed to be in favor of.

As it stands though the hullabaloo around the whole notion will likely mean the idea will be canned anyway so nobody needs to get in a huff.

Gregg's personal reasons aside, Republicans seem to be awfully giddy about this. They are the minority party and Obama and the Democrats don't owe them shit. I can understand the Republicans liking Gregg in the Senate, but I'd also think that they'd value having one of their own in the cabinet. Apparently, I'd be wrong...

When are we Dems going to learn that Republicans don't play nice?

http://www.salon.com/comics/tomo/2009/02/10/tomo/

Bah. Enough for bipartisanship. It's time to run the country.

But why does he want the Director of the Census to report to him (or Rahm). Why would the White House take such a direct interest in the census? Is there any precedent for this? And when you add more oversight to the "totem pole" - isn't that creating bureaucracy ?

Wouldn't you think this is more about doing some gerrymandering? Thats what Republicans seem to think and I think they plan to sue, at least that's what I heard.

i agree Jude, I would think they would want someone in the cabinet, but in this case maybe they need every seat they can get. Giddy though is not the word I would describe Republicans nowadays. They are sounding more and more like the left during the Bush years.

And I will admit there's obviously more to this than I know. But it sounds like a gerrymandering power grab (but I could be wrong). Thats why I threw out that Karl Rove argument.

I do question WHY the administration wants to do this (and again, there's no official word that they even do) and also agree that the cnesus should be as apolitical as possible. I also know that it never is and gerrymandering goes on all the time at every level, which is maddening but there it is...

"i agree Jude, I would think they would want someone in the cabinet, but in this case maybe they need every seat they can get. Giddy though is not the word I would describe Republicans nowadays. They are sounding more and more like the left during the Bush years."

They didn't give up a seat since it was negotiated with the Governor of NH would appoint another Republican. What's more, Gregg supposedly is not running for another term in the Senate.

I think Chris Matthews hit it last night on Hardball when he said that Gregg saw the amount of influence centrist Republicans like Snowe had in negotiating the Stimulus bill and decided his better position was in the Senate. It's the question of influence from within or influence from without. I guess we see where he landed.

I'll also be watching to see if he gets any plum committee assignments from the minority leader. If he does, you can bet this was a coordinated effort to embarrass the administration.

oh yeah, you're correct about Gregg and his seat, my mistake. We'll see what happens.

My problem now is I share an office with a hard core conservative who listens to rightie radio so you can just imagine what I hear all day - a constant flow of "socialist fear." Lots of rumors etc. Its maddening sometimes. I can handle some of it as I like debate and hearing all sides of it. Other days it just depresses the hell out of ya.

I can't listen to talk radio from either side anymore. Talk radio is just the bottom of the barrel. I hate pacifica and the old Air America as much as I hate EIB and the fakers who strive to be Rush Limbaugh or G. Gordon Liddy. I was a daily listener to Liddy's show years back but just can't stand the nonsense these days.

That said, I watch WAY too many political shows on TV. Maybe it's because they're generally and hour long versus four hours like you'd find on radio but my tolerance level is much higher for TV.

Great post on this at ThinkProgress:
http://thinkprogress.org/2009/02/13/obama-census-gregg/

It explains the origin of the idea to have a White House direct report and then also Gregg's own words--today, even--on his position regarding the change. He doesn't seem so concerned about it after all.

Sen. Gregg withdrew because (1) Obama’s chutzpah crossed the line and (2) Obama CANNOT put away his “birth certificate” issue.

1. Here’s the chutzpah: The Republicans didn’t get their act together enough to challenge Obama for not being constitutionally qualified to be President as an Article 2 “natural born citizen” so Obama’s White House steals the census from the Commerce Department against the specific instructions of the constitution itself — “actual enumeration” under Article 1.

2. Here’s the “birth certificate” issue: Since Obama’s earnest drive to convince the nation to weaken its economic strength through redistribution as well as weaken its national defense, COUPLED WITH HIS UNPRECEDENTED WHITE HOUSE TAKEOVER OF DECENNIAL CENSUS TAKING FROM THE COMMERCE DEPARTMENT, has confirmed the very threats to our Republic’s survival that the Constitution was designed to avert, it no longer is sustainable for the United States Supreme Court to refrain from exercising WHAT IS ITS ABSOLUTE CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY TO DEFEND THE NATION FROM UNLAWFUL USURPATION. The questions of Obama’s Kenyan birth and his father’s Kenyan/British citizenship (admitted on his own website) have been conflated by his sustained unwillingnes to supply his long form birth certificate now under seal, and compounded by his internet posting of a discredited ‘after-the-fact’ short form ‘certificate’. In the absence of these issues being acknowledged and addressed, IT IS MANIFEST THAT OBAMA REMAINS INELIGIBLE TO BE PRESIDENT UNDER ARTICLE 2 OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. Being a 14th Amendment ‘citizen’ is not sufficient. A ‘President’ MUST BE an Article 2 ‘natural born citizen’ AS DEFINED BY THE FRAMERS’ INTENT.

@ Ted:

Hat, meet Tinfoil...

Seriously Ted, when this canard die? It's getting comical...in a very sad way.

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