Another Secretary Down for Count

New Hampshire Republican Judd Gregg put aside his acceptance of a position in the Obama Administration over his opposition to Administration policy on Stimulus and the politization of the upcoming Census.

It was a third major blow in two weeks for the still young administration that has already been stung by appointees bowing out over taxes and pending investigations. Of the major issues leading to the split the one that seemed to have the greatest impact is the administration's decision to move direct control of the 2010 census to the White House itself. Previous censuses have been administered by the Commerce secretary. This move has been seen as an effort to make the census achieve political, rather than enumerative, goals. It has produced outrage among Republicans.

According to the AFP article cited at the head of this article, Gregg's comments on the issue were not extensive.

"It has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me," Gregg said.
"We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy," he added.

News reports have not yet settled on who might be the administration's third nominee for the post.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at February 12, 2009 6:20 PM
Comment #275453

Y’all keep this up, and you might end up having a much less friendly nominee in that spot. Gregg should have known what he what he was getting into, what he was actively seeking out and campaigning for.

Unfortunately, y’all are trying to take a hardline bargaining position from a position of weakness. You could have had a Republican for Commerce Secretary. You could have had a centrist senator for HHS. And you could have had some reasonable concessions right off the bat with the stimulus bill.

Unfortunately, you folks have chosen to waste more of your soft influence on displays of hard power no longer sufficient to obstruct the opposition’s agenda.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 12, 2009 7:48 PM
Comment #275454


If I’m at the helm of a fast, unsinkable ship, and Captain Smith tells me to steer a certain course at flank speed though I believe doing so will put us into icebergs, what am I to do ethically? Judd Gregg chose not to steer the course. He gave his warnings, as he will continue to be able to do.

As it is, of course, hindsight tells us seeing the iceberg just early enough to brush by was what killed Titanic. Perhaps Republicans think it better to learn the most direct lesson possible and leave it to Captain Edward John Obama to steer us where he will.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at February 12, 2009 8:39 PM
Comment #275457

What if , Lee those Icebergs you are seeing are hallucinations? What if they are not icebergs but instead just sun reflecting off the surface of the water?
My hat is off to the Senator. He did the right thing. He did not have good intentions. Now we do not have to worry about his manipulations of the census. Further my hat is off to the Obama team for letting him know up front he would be doing the job as required by the the administration not what he considered to be the the job. After all he really wasn’t steering the ship he was just one of the deck hands.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 13, 2009 12:50 AM
Comment #275458

Lee Jamison-
You realize, don’t you, that this thing has been out there for months. To claim this as a triumph of foresight neglects the fact that Obama’s been talking about this since November and maybe even before. He was talking about it being costly, and telling peple it wasn’t all tax breaks.

You claim the Republicans are merely trying to steer us clear of danger.

Well? Where was this flurry of activity to formulate alternate plans back last year? Where was Gregg’s opposition when he was lobbying hard for a job with a President that everybody knew was going to be more liberal than anybody in years?

And where was this finely tuned sense of danger during the last few years? That’s what gets me. Republican’s in office, the Fundamentals of the economy are sound until the damn thing collapses. A Democrat gets in, and all of a sudden, y’all are running around like chickens with your heads cut off. And coincidentally enough, any plan that doesn’t strongly resemble what you folks had in mind back in the Bush days, like the tax cuts only package that the vast majorities of House and Senate Republicans voted for. A stimulus package that nobody but a resident of thinktank ivory tower resident could support.

As usual, the Republicans seem to be saying: “We tried things our way. Now that you’ve won because we did that, We want to try things our way once gain!”

And of course, during the election this expectation held up. McCain decided more deregulation was what was needed. Funny how all these different economic situations have the same solutions.

The titanic didn’t sink merely because of a few popped panels. It sunk because it’s steel was brittle, high sulfur crap, so a mere scrape popped open way too many rivets. Aren’t regulations a pain?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 13, 2009 1:01 AM
Comment #275463

What Eric said.

Posted by: ray at February 13, 2009 7:29 AM
Comment #275466

As much as I agree that the Republican policies are terrible, most Republicans are no more terrible people than we are. Republicans in Washington are currently more part of the problem than part of the solution, but that can change.

The trouble is, at the moment, that many Republicans see this as a transitional time where a swing of the pendulum can be slowed and then pushed the other way. What they fail to realize is, most of what they’ve done so far are the same things that got things changing against their favor in the first place. Additionally, if you view it in terms of critical mass, There’s very little they can do to quickly change things, because much of the tension that held things to their liking beforehand now works for the Democrats and against them. I mean, are people going to suddenly forget all that’s happened under the Republican’s watch in the last few decades?

No. They’re not. No more than the public forgot the turmoil of the 60’s and 70’s on the Democrat’s watch. The Republicans in Washington have been counting on people having short memories for so long, they almost expect to be able to be persuasiv on certain matters.

But they blew their credibility and blew their chance to get policy issues right, rather than politically orthodox.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 13, 2009 8:31 AM
Comment #275469

I understand how you’re outraged that the census could be done to achieve political goals. I’ve got more bad news for you. After the census, redistricting might be done for political purposes too.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at February 13, 2009 8:58 AM
Comment #275476

j2t2 wrote; “He did not have good intentions. Now we do not have to worry about his manipulations of the census.”

That’s is about the best example of political spinning I have read since the days of the master spinmeister…Bill Clinton.

Let’s just examine this briefly. “He did not have good intentions” so he withdrew.

Could we conversely say; He did have good intentions so he took the post knowing that he would not agree and work against the administration?

As usual, a liberal will argue black is white and white is black. I am waiting for the headline quoting Pelosi, Reid, and PO…

Democrats announce tax cuts by reducing the rate of increase in new taxes

Posted by: Jim M at February 13, 2009 12:04 PM
Comment #275481

Jim M I am surprised that you would consider this spin. What would you think of someone who threw their name in the hat and then backed out afterwards? Either they have something to hide or they discovered that there was no payoff for taking the job.
Myself I give him the benefit of doubt by not being tainted by scandal so that leaves intentions that did not match with the bosses. Seems once he found out the census wasn’t going to be in his sphere of influence he bolted.

“It comes as something of a surprise, because the truth, you know, Mr. Gregg approached us with interest and seemed enthusiastic,” Obama said in an interview with the Springfield (Ill.) Journal-Register. “But ultimately, I think, we’re going to just keep on making efforts to build the kind of bipartisan consensus around important issues that I think the American people are looking for.”

Posted by: j2t2 at February 13, 2009 4:08 PM
Comment #275482

“the administration’s third nominee for the post”, or possibly 4th, if you count Penny Pritzker as the first. Why so much trouble getting a ocmmerce sec? Perhaps because our commerce is based on the purchase of junk, and people are sticking to necessities.

from Dictionary dot com:

y’all Chiefly Southern U.S.
Variant of you-all. See Regional Note at you-all.

you-all Chiefly Southern U.S.
You. Used in addressing two or more people or referring to two or more people, one of whom is addressed.
The single most famous feature of Southern United States dialects is the pronoun y’all, sometimes heard in its variant you-all. You-all functions with perfect grammatical regularity as a second person plural pronoun, taking its own possessive you-all’s (or less frequently, your-all’s, where both parts of the word are inflected for possession): You-all’s voices sound alike. Southerners do not, as is sometimes believed, use you-all or y’all for both singular and plural you. A single person may only be addressed as you-all if the speaker implies in the reference other persons not present…

Posted by: ohrealy at February 13, 2009 4:12 PM
Comment #275494

Happy Valentines Day Watchblog!

Posted by: Rodney Brown at February 13, 2009 11:13 PM
Comment #275498

Imagine that! Democrats might try to redistrict in their favor! Horrors! Republicans like Tom Delay would never consider such atrocious behavior.

Posted by: gergle at February 14, 2009 8:28 AM
Comment #275510

I lived in NH and met Gregg a couple of times. You can talk all you want about the politics of it all, but it is just a matter of personal integrity.

Gregg couldn’t support what he believes is a bad policy in the stimulus. He couldn’t support what he saw as a power grab to manipulate the census.

I wish more politicians had that kind of integrity, whether or not you think he is right in his assessments of the situation. It is refreshing that a man turns down power rather than support policies he thinks are wrong.

Posted by: Christine at February 14, 2009 11:23 AM
Comment #275511
He couldn’t support what he saw as a power grab to manipulate the census.

Of course, he’s pissed because HE couldn’t manipulate the census.

Posted by: womanmarine at February 14, 2009 11:26 AM
Comment #275516

Integrity? Judd Gregg should not have been surprised that the most openly liberal and big-government president in thirty years would be pushing a package like that which came out of Congress. To suddenly notice that, after about a month and a half of seeing it unroll…

That seems to me, if the Stimulus package is against his principles, an awful long time for him to take in working this opinion out for himself. It also seems to me that even before then, Gregg’s purity didn’t seem important to him. I mean, he was actively campaigning for this position in an administration where the compromise of his philosophy, especially in the face of the recent crisises, was almost certain.

I think either Gregg was troubled over the association with Abramoff, or by a party that’s been mercilessly intolerant of compromising with the Democrats.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 14, 2009 12:40 PM
Comment #275523

Steve D,

Thanks for the link about Koonce. Oops there goes the integrity pose. Maybe if he says he has wide stance, no one will think he’s corrupt. I hear that posturung worked out well in Colorado.

Posted by: gergle at February 14, 2009 3:01 PM
Comment #275551


Abramoff? That’s a several old-news reach.

The simple explanation, that Gregg did not not think he could work in the Obama administration given his policy disagreements, it most likely the right one.

There is no reason to believe anything else. You can criticize him for not making up his mind sooner, if you have to criticize.

Perhaps you think it impossible to disagree with the new spending bill or the WH census management on principle. But clearly both Republicans and Democrats sometimes has legitmate policy disagreements and sometimes they act on them.

Posted by: Christine at February 15, 2009 9:23 AM
Comment #275557

There are a lot of assumptions flying around here. Look, if he was doing deals with Abramoff, the distinction you might make between him and everybody else blurs somewhat. As for the assumption that he can disagree for his own reasons?

I’ll grant that, but the circumstances of his disagreement still speak to its character. If he makes like Wiley Coyote and runs several yards off the road of conservative purity before scrambling back on to it, that’s considerably different than if he takes the turn and avoids entertaining the appointment seriously in the first place. I think if he failed to underestimate anybody’s partisanship, it was that of his own party.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 15, 2009 2:38 PM
Comment #275561

Strike that: just “underestimated”, not “failed to underestimate”.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 15, 2009 3:03 PM
Comment #275566


“circumstances of his disagreement still speak to its character.”

actually they do. the tax problems of some of po.s other nominees are much worse than a man who decides to withdraw his nomination because he can’t stomach the reckless policies of the administration he will be forced to deal with. he could have very easily looked the other way in the name of taking care of his own lust for power. nothing builds more public confidence than tres. sec. that can’t even keep his own taxes straight.

Posted by: dbs at February 15, 2009 4:04 PM
Comment #275577

“the tax problems of some of po.s other nominees are much worse than a man who decides to withdraw his nomination because he can’t stomach the reckless policies of the administration he will be forced to deal with.”

dbs Didn’t Gregg go after this appointment early on, only to then drop out once it was made known the census would not be under his control? It is hard to believe the stimulus bill had anything to do with his withdrawing himself for consideration as the bill was well along when his name came up the second time. Seems to me he is using the 15 seconds of fame to vent about the bill but as to the real reason… who knows. But does this mans actions instill any more confidence in the man than the tax problems of some of the other nominees? This is just one of many “insurgent” actions promised by the Talibanist within the repub party. He din’t show any honor nor intelligence just a marauding insurgent taking a cheap shot at the US.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 15, 2009 6:22 PM
Comment #275585


“dbs Didn’t Gregg go after this appointment early on, only to then drop out once it was made known the census would not be under his control?”

i suppose thats one way to spin it.

Posted by: dbs at February 16, 2009 8:35 AM
Comment #275594

Daugherty writes; “Judd Gregg should not have been surprised that the most openly liberal and big-government president in thirty years would be pushing a package like that which came out of Congress.”

I would disagree and give PO the honor of being the most openly liberal big-government president in the history of the nation.

Perhaps Mr. Gregg actually thought that Mr. Obams meant what he said about being open to all views and wanting a cabinet that would tell him what they actually thought rather than what he wanted to hear.

As I am sure some of PO’s other appointments have already, or will soon understand, this president is a unity of one. Go along to get along or get out. There is no room in this presidency for disagreement or individual thought. It will be PO all the way down the slope to destruction and he will take the party with him. I sincerely doubt than many of his original cabinet will be with him two years from now when PO’s “chickens” come home to roost.

Posted by: Jim M at February 16, 2009 11:13 AM
Comment #275598

The Republicans should not accept policy making positions from Obama.

The Republican politicians should take a lesson from the Democratic politicians, raise retorical hell about what the Republicans are doing while cooperating legislatively. That is the path that will return Republicans to power. They should do what the Democrats did to them, give the Democrats the rope to hang themselves and they will.

Posted by: jlw at February 16, 2009 1:01 PM
Comment #275654


lets hope if the, and when the republicans regain control they don’t forget why they were put there in the first place, and keep thier act clean. although any politician keeping is act clean is a virtual imposibility.

Posted by: dbs at February 17, 2009 9:36 AM
Comment #275668

Jim M-
He said he would be open to those views, not a doormat. Obama, unlike Grover Norquist, does not believe that date rape constitutes true bipartisanship. He’s got as clear a mandate for his policies as any president has had since Reagan, and he’s a goal oriented man. Now Obama made plenty of concessions to start with, putting tax cuts in a plan that originally had none. But he will not defeat the purpose of his own legislation to make your party happy. You could get away with that with Clinton because you had the majority in both houses. Now we do. Don’t get confused, while you’re talking about bipartisanship, about who gets to set the agenda now, and just how lucky you are that Obama isn’t looking just to cut you guys out.

As for Obama’s politics? Please. Just take a look at the economic policies of the Democrats from FDR to LBJ. Those are are the most liberal this country has seen.

They should take a lesson from Democrats of today, not yesteryear. There’s compromise, then there’s compromise. The Republicans should learn to be pragmatists and dealmakers.

It’s not impossible, but the politicians have to believe that they are more likely than not to get caught if they screw around. Fear is what keeps the powerful clean, and what a Democracy imposes on its leaders.

As for tax problems? Give me a break. They’re not going to prison for tax evasion. One of them even voluntarily sought out potential problems with his accountant, and found out about them. Gregg, though, seems to have a connection with Jack Abramoff, so we can put that chatter about purity to rest.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 17, 2009 2:01 PM
Comment #275670


“Fear is what keeps the powerful clean, and what a Democracy imposes on its leaders.”

well it doesn’t seem to be working well here. all you have to do is watch the news, read a newspaper, or surf the internet. it’s funny how you seek to diminish the wrong doing, or distinct possibility thereof when it comes to obama and the democrats. yet somehow you find something unsavory about someone who resigns a nomination when you have nothing but speculation, and hope that he’s done something wrong simply because of party affiliation. i’ll say it again so try to understand, geithner either knowingly underpayed his taxes, or if you perfer didn’t realize he had underpaid them. either way you cut it he’s not fit to serve in his current position. whether it’s because he’s crooked, or because he’s aloof. the choice is up to you as to which you prefer to go with.

the democrats are already showing they have no interest in keeping thier promises of transparent gov’t otherwise they would have allowed the public to see the text of the stimulus bill before ramming it through congress. how does @35 million dollars for pelosis’ district for salt marsh mouse habitat presevation stimulate the economy,and thats just for starters. mark my words this congress and administration is already well down the road to disaster.

“and just how lucky you are that Obama isn’t looking just to cut you guys out.”

already happened stephen. the only time democrats are interested in reaching across the aisle is when they’re in the minority, or they need a couple of cloture votes to stop a fillibuster. if they continue down this path it won’t be long before they are in the minority again. it happened to clinton, and it can definitely happen to obama.

“As for Obama’s politics? Please. Just take a look at the economic policies of the Democrats from FDR to LBJ. Those are are the most liberal this country has seen.”

sorry bud these are nothing to be proud of. two presidents who created some of the largest gov’t entitlement programs in history. the latter created several generations of people who are completely dependant on gov’t handouts, and completely worthless when it comes to being contributing members of society. that in my book is a colossal policy failure.

Posted by: dbs at February 17, 2009 4:24 PM
Comment #275688

Stephen D.: In case you didn’t notice, most of the Democrats of today are the Democrats of yesteryears. When they produce their corporate energy policy, their corporate agriculture policy, their corporate foreign policy and their corporate universal healthcare plan as well as their corporate bank bailout plan, they reveil who their true masters are and it is not you or me. Well, I guess it could be you if you think the corporations have all the answers. I presume that a few progressive ideas thrown into the mix will make the pill easier to swallow.

Posted by: jlw at February 18, 2009 12:20 PM
Comment #275689

Daugherty writes; “Gregg, though, seems to have a connection with Jack Abramoff, so we can put that chatter about purity to rest.”

This statement sums up how some liberals obtain their opinions. He writes the word “seems” and then follows with a conclusion about “purity”. This giant leap of illogical thought “seems” to be written by someone who can’t connect dots, but rather is just now learning to use crayons.

Posted by: Jim M at February 18, 2009 12:27 PM
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