President Obama is somewhat chagrined over Tom Daschle’s withdrawal of his candidacy for Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary. In interviews with various MSM news outlets Obama stuck with a theme that seemed to admit that he had made some errors in judgment when it came to selecting his Cabinet Secretaries.
Here’s what President Obama said to FOX News on the issue,
I consider this a mistake on my part, one that I intend to fix and correct and make sure that we’re not screwing up again. Ultimately I have to take responsibility for a process that resulted in us not having a (Health and Human Services) secretary at a time when people need relief on their health care costs.
So this is a mistake — probably not the first one I’m going to be making in this office, but what I’m absolutely committed to doing is fixing it.
Interesting words from President Obama; I’m sure they’ll resonate well with both his followers and numerous other people. I think Americans in general will favor a President who admits to making mistakes in something reasonably close to plain speech. Eight years under President George W. Bush left people with a craving for such things – possibly rightfully so.
But one – if one is possessed of reason – has to wonder about the sincerity of the President’s admission of fallibility. Tom Daschle’s imbroglio with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is hardly a lone occurrence of personal wrongdoing – or seeming wrongdoing – on the part of Obama’s picks for high office.
New Mexico’s Governor, Bill Richardson chose to recuse himself from consideration for the Cabinet position of Secretary of Commerce due to being the target of an ongoing federal investigation into his alleged corruption.
Gov. Richardson may or may not be guilty of any crimes, but he was certainly guilty of stupidity in his business dealings as Governor.
Nancy Killefer, Obama choice for the new Cabinet post of Chief Performance Officer (CPO), withdrew herself from consideration for the position for similar – though far more minor in monetary amount – failures to properly pay her taxes.
Mrs. Killefer had failed to pay employment taxes on her household help consisting of two nannies and a personal assistant.
Obama’s Treasury Secretary, also had significant issues with properly paying his taxes. President Obama continued to endorse Geithner though, and in spite of the issues, he was confirmed as the US Treasury Secretary by a vote of 60–34 in US Senate on January 26, 2009.
Geithner didn’t withdraw himself, managed to get confirmed in his new office, and is now the principal economic adviser to President Obama.
Richardson – strike one; Killefer – strike two; Daschle – strike three; Geithner – should have been strike four?
Just how much credence can people lend to President Obama’s public admission of being mistaken, or his promise to correct it in the future? He has only apologized for choosing Daschle, one of three of his Cabinet picks that have turned up with significant legal issues hanging like skeletons in their closets. Obama’s continued support of Geithner certainly weakens his apparent verisimilitude in this matter.
Ultimately, I campaigned on changing Washington and bottom-up politics, and I don’t want to send a message to the American people that there are two sets of standards — one for powerful people and one for ordinary folks who are working every day and paying their taxes.
— President Obama
Interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper
Nice words. But words are cheap, and it’s actions that matter. So far – IMHO – President Obama’s actions in these matters suggest that he has misspoken himself. Perhaps he meant to say that he was going to create “bottoms up” politics – as in “heads down, bottoms up – assume the position!” If so, he should earmark some of his stimulus package for buying the American taxpayers all a drink first – at the very least.