So, some guy I never heard of before, Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire (who was picked by Obama to be Commerce Secretary), has decided he's had enough of the play nice stuff with the Democrats already and has withdrawn his name from consideration. Gregg Ends Bid for Commerce Job.
Why, you may ask? Good question. The reasons appear to run the gamut. Gregg's stated reason is that he realized he wouldn't be a "good fit" with the Obama Administration. Of course, speculation covers everything from bad vetting process, to the fact that he objected to the stimulus bill to problems with census policies. Now, I wasn't involved in the process, but you mean to tell me that none of these matters were issues he might have been aware of before he agreed to the nomination?
The only excuse that hasn't been proffered, as far as I can tell, is that he wants to "spend more time with his family."
But, what do you expect from a man who demanded a promise from the Democratic Governor that his senate seat go to a Republican (which was agreed to) before he accepted? Gee, if this guy was a girl, you just know that she'd be labeled a prima dona for sure!
I tend to agree with the analysis of Steve Benen, who notes, in What Was Gregg Thinking?:
Indeed, the whole thing still seems quite odd a day later. Two weeks ago, Judd Gregg really wanted to be a U.S. senator. Last week, Gregg really wanted to be the Secretary of Commerce. And this week, Gregg really wants to be neither. Something doesn't add up here.Really. Really! As Benen explains:
But what remains unclear is what prompted Gregg to back away from a job he'd asked for just last week. The various explanations don't stand up well to scrutiny.Andrew Sullivan suggests that it's just more of the GOP being itself. Partisan to the bitter end. According to Sullivan, The GOP Has Declared War On Obama. However, I have to say, I disagree with him in one regard. With the dire financial situation the country is faced with (ignoring who caused it), I'd have to say -- they've declared war on America, not Obama.
* It was the stimulus package: Key among Gregg's "irresolvable conflicts" with President Obama was the White House's recovery initiative, which Gregg apparently can't support. But this doesn't make sense -- the stimulus package was already under consideration on the Hill when Gregg sought and accepted the cabinet invitation. Indeed, Gregg had publicly defended the president's policy. If the plan was a deal-breaker, he wouldn't have agreed to the job in the first place.
* It was the census policy: This isn't compelling either. Gregg told reporters yesterday that the census "was so insignificant that he would not even address it," calling it a "slight" matter. The census hullabaloo was something of a canard anyway.
* It was pressure from the GOP: Gregg was, to be sure, pressured by Republicans on the Hill not to help President Obama, and pressured even more from GOP activists in New Hampshire, who saw his cabinet move as a betrayal. But with Gregg retiring in 2010 anyway -- he said yesterday he would not seek re-election next year -- why would partisan pressure affect him so strongly?
* It was the result of bad vetting: Some in the media have begun blaming the White House for the breakdown, describing it as another problem with the vetting process. This also doesn't make sense -- there's no evidence that Gregg's departure has anything to do with new information that vetters had missed.* * * *It seems like there's part of this story we do not yet know.
Ron Chusid of Liberal Values concurs, The Republican War on Obama (and America). As he says in a follow up post, Andrew Sullivan’s War of Words Against The Republicans:
It is one thing to oppose specific acts by Obama on principle, but many of us believe that the Republicans are opposing Obama’s acts purely because they want Obama to fail for partisan reasons, regardless of the harm this might do to the country. They believe that voters have such a limited memory that if things are bad they will vote Republican in the future, forgetting that in so many cases it was Republican policies which got us into our current mess.They just hate our country if they can't get their own way.