02.01.2009 0

Editorial: Another One Bites the Dust

  • On: 02/16/2009 09:44:30
  • In: Barack Obama
  • And now, another one’s gone.

    Judd Gregg can now be added to the woulda-coulda-shoulda-been list of failed Barack Obama cabinet appointees that seems to lengthen by the day. However, the departure of Mr. Gregg—the President’s choice to be the next Commerce Secretary—is markedly different from others who have recently shared a similar fate.

    Unlike President Obama’s other failed cabinet nominees, Senator Gregg is not corrupt, is no tax evader, and remains ethically untainted. Rather than being a political stinker himself—like Bill Richardson, Nancy Killefer, Tom Daschle, etc.—it appears Mr. Gregg caught a whiff of a different stench and politely excused himself. In his own words regarding the withdrawal:

    “However, 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. Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.”

    Although Mr. Gregg—a Republican—certainly has his political reservations about to the President’s ‘stimulus’ package, it was the clash over the Census that likely triggered moral and ethical objections from the New Hampshire Senator.

    The trouble here began to brew when reports surfaced last week that the Obama Administration would require the still-unnamed Census Bureau director to “report directly” to the White House rather than the Commerce Department (as is required by the U.S. code). Although Obama officials later toned down the rhetoric by rephrasing it as “working closely with” the President, the controversy is no less evident.

    As ALG News had previously reported, it is all too obvious that Barack Obama is trying to wrest control over the politically sensitive Census process. With that authority in the President’s court and Rahm Emanuel in a decision-making position, the list of opportunities for political malfeasance is long and troubling. In brief, the Census determines number of electoral votes allocated per state, how many representatives each state has, the doling out of federal money to specific government programs throughout the country, redistricting and more.

    In essence, the potential for fraud is endless.

    By pulling out of the Obama Administration, Mr. Gregg clearly did the right thing. How could anyone—especially someone belonging to the opposition party—be part-and-parcel of what could be the biggest political scandal of this era? As Karl Rove articulates:

    “What Judd Gregg showed today is that he’s not willing to swap his integrity for a place in the Cabinet. When the administration insisted on gutting Commerce Department supervision of the Census and putting it under direct White House political control, it stung Gregg…

    “His withdrawal is a loss for the Obama administration. It is welcome news for the country that there are still people in politics who put principle above personal advancement.”

    Expectedly, Mr. Obama’s people are trying to make this embarrassing snafu all about Senator Gregg. Even those on the left have picked up on this. As Democratic pollster and author Douglas E. Schoen remarked:

    “It is also clear now how politicized the Census Bureau and its work have become.
    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’s delicate efforts to foist the blame on Gregg for vacillation and changing his mind are likely to be ineffective and perhaps counterproductive to administration efforts to win Republican support for its agenda.”

    Looking back, it is now clear that Mr. Gregg’s polite excusal, unfortunately, may have been a little too polite. Having unearthed something as serious as the possible political manipulation of the Census, he is duty-bound to investigate it further. And having been in the very thick of it himself, no one is better suited to fight this fight and sound the national alarm than him.

    President Obama and Rahm Emanuel cannot be let off that easy. With Senator Gregg no longer reporting to President Obama, he is now free to report to the American people.

    Mr. Gregg already did what’s best for the country by severing himself from an increasingly villainous Obama administration. Now he must take it one step further and see to it that the Obama Administration political operatives do not sever any remaining allegiance—if any ever existed in the first place—they still had to the American people.


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