Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 3, 2009

DASCHLE'S DONE.... The lead headline on MSNBC's site reads, "Daschle withdraws his nomination for health and human services secretary." The Washington Post and New York Times have the same headline, but no details.

More soon.

First Update: Here's CNN's report:

Former Sen. Tom Daschle has asked President Obama to withdraw his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services, according to a written statement from the White House.

"This morning, Tom Daschle asked me to withdraw his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services," President Obama said in the statement. "I accept his decision with sadness and regret."

In his own statement, Daschle said he did not want to be a "distraction."

"If 30 years of exposure to the challenges inherent in our system has taught me anything, it has taught me that this work will require a leader who can operate with the full faith of Congress and the American people, and without distraction," Daschle said.

What's more, MSNBC noted that this fairly devastating editorial in the New York Times this morning, calling on Daschle's withdrawal, contributed to the decision.

Second Update: For the record, I'm a little surprised by the announcement, and thought, as of late yesterday, that all signs pointed to Daschle surviving the political controversy. That said, this also strikes me as a good news/bad news situation.

The good news is, the scope and seriousness of the questions surrounding Daschle had become both distracting and embarrassing. By cutting Daschle loose, the president is, albeit reluctantly, able to distance himself from the kind of political "business as usual" he's always opposed.

The bad news is, the United States really needs to tackle healthcare reform, sooner rather than later. Daschle was well positioned to help advance the White House agenda through Congress, and had already done quite a bit of work in advance of his expected confirmation. Now that the tax controversy has forced Daschle out, the administration has lost time and momentum on the issue, and the likelihood of an ambitious push this year is probably lower today that it was a week ago.

Third Update: It's way too early to know who might replace Daschle at HHS, but I've received quite a few emails about Howard Dean's availability. The former DNC chairman was, after all, a successful governor who pushed healthcare reforms through his legislature. That said, I still doubt Rahm Emanuel would welcome Dean into the administration with open arms.

Fourth Update: Igor Volsky raises a good point. Daschle was not only poised to head HHS, but also serve as the head of the newly-formed White House Office on Health Reform. The prior needed Senate confirmation, but the latter does not. Might Daschle withdraw from one job while taking the other? Would the eventual HHS nominee want the same dual-role Obama offered Daschle?

Steve Benen 12:54 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (72)

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Comments

Good. So why is Geithner still in there?

Posted by: g. powell on February 3, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

good riddance. . I suppose it's a victory of some sorts, transparency means more than a video blog and pretending to get advice from internet commentators. Obama's laying an egg though, first 100 days aren't looking too good and the kleptocrat defending media will be having a field day.

Posted by: grinning cat on February 3, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only progressive who is not disappointed in the withdrawal of Daschle's nomination?

He has seemed to be too much 'in the pocket' of the health care industry to be of real value in fighting for what I believe is needed - a single payer health care system.

Posted by: SadOldVet on February 3, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

No you aren't the only progressive that's not unhappy with Daschle stepping down. Between his wife's connections to the HMOs and his propensity to get rolled by Republicans, I didn't have confidence he could do the job.

Now it's time for Obama to correct the one glaring omission from his cabinet and guarantee a robust health care debate - and guarantee progressives have his back for that war:

HOWARD DEAN FOR HHS

Posted by: EdgewaterJoe on February 3, 2009 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

HOWARD DEAN FOR HHS

A-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-rgh!!! Please, no!

Posted by: Danp on February 3, 2009 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Good.

Posted by: Franklin on February 3, 2009 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Dean to the rescue!

Posted by: CDW on February 3, 2009 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Yay!

Now, Mr. President, nominate someone independent and CLEAN.

Posted by: PeakVT on February 3, 2009 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Killifer withdrew her name as OMB assistant/"performance czar," too.

Change We Can Believe In?

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 3, 2009 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'm relieved.

Posted by: in vino veritas on February 3, 2009 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. What is it that hasn't been reported yet that took down Daschle? Because everyone seemed willing to give him a pass on the unpaid tax issue. Do you suppose the stench of him trying to secure a post in the administration for his benefactor really was the final straw? I'm thinking there's more to come.

And yes, paging Dr. Dean for HHS!

Posted by: Jennifer on February 3, 2009 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Good. There are a large number of healthcare reformers who have no distracting issue that can lead HHS, why give the Republicans a hammer to bash healthcare reform with.

Defending Daschle's mistakes was not a battle worth fighting.

Posted by: The Other Ed on February 3, 2009 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Good.

I don't like Geithner either, but it was a completely different case — and he took care of it years before, not as a reaction to scrutiny.

Here's what bugs the shit out of me: Obama, famously, sent out a 66-page job application for these people that laid down the law pretty squarely. And yet Richardson, Daschele, Geithner and Killifer all got to the point where it was the press, not the administration, who found them out.

Assholes. It seems Democrats come prewired for self-destruction. And it's too important that they do better for them to fuck up in the stupidest ways possible.

Posted by: Jay B. on February 3, 2009 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Killifer withdrew her name as OMB assistant/"performance czar," too.

Change We Can Believe In?
Posted by: SocraticGadfly

The corruption and incompetence are always there. The test is on what you do when you expose it.

Posted by: red state mike on February 3, 2009 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Good riddance.

Things like laws and taxes obviously don't apply to the nation's elites.

I have to say it has been a very disappointing two weeks since Obama took office. In my opinion, it appears he has already forgotten about the ordinary millions who voted him last November and who do obey and respect the law and do pay their taxes. People I believe were voting for in the last election substantive and dramatic change.

I guess the old adage is now especially true for Obama "the more things change, the more they stay the same".

Pity. Yet another bumbling and naive Administration. Maybe, Rahm Emmanuel wasn't a good choice for White House Chief of Staff after all.

I'm so tired of all these so called "smart" and
"brilliant" people with enormous egos who have so screwed everything up.

Posted by: Medlex on February 3, 2009 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Change We Can Believe In?

Concern-trolling we can believe in?

Posted by: The Whining Chorus on February 3, 2009 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Jay B., but even beyond the application and vetting for the cabinet these are very high level career politicians and/or government officials. They KNOW this kind of scrutiny is a real possibility. They KNOW the consequences of failure to pay taxes. So even if you want to ignore the moral/ethical implications, JEBUS guys (and lady), WTF were you thinking? Its not like you're republicans and can expect the press to ignore it.

Posted by: kahner on February 3, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, the change is that these at these tax cheats are being caught by the vetters and (eventually) shown the door.

The great thing is that all these taxes are now paid, and they get nothing for it. :)

Posted by: Franklin on February 3, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

I don't like Geithner either, but it was a completely different case — and he took care of it years before, not as a reaction to scrutiny Jay B.

No. Geithner paid his taxes "days before Obama tapped him to head Treasury."

Posted by: Danp on February 3, 2009 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Jay B., but even beyond the application and vetting for the cabinet these are very high level career politicians and/or government officials. They KNOW this kind of scrutiny is a real possibility. They KNOW the consequences of failure to pay taxes. So even if you want to ignore the moral/ethical implications, JEBUS guys (and lady), WTF were you thinking? Its not like you're republicans and can expect the press to ignore it.

Posted by: kahner on February 3, 2009 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Emanuel needs to suck it in, and accept that Dean is probably the best choice now.

Posted by: Mathew on February 3, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

What the hell happened to that much vaunted vetting system? What happened to no drama?

Amateur hour.

Posted by: Helena Montana on February 3, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

I was far more upset at Geithner - tax problems but in charge of the IRS??? Not paying taxes on 1099 income??? That's a no brainer.

Daschle proves his integrity by not only removing himself as a distraction to Obama, but by having paid more taxes than he needed to re this car & driver. (And face it, how many of us would have thought this was something that we'd have to pay taxes on, rather than as a gift, as Daschle did?) All of you who are happy at this withdrawal should listen to the words of former Sen. Breaux, just on MSNBC, to the effect, this is a blow for everyone who needs help with health care issues, which is most of us.

I would like to throw out another name to Dean's: former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, also a physician, and has worked tirelessly since leaving office (after completing his two terms) on Oregon's healthcare system.

Posted by: Oregonian on February 3, 2009 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

J.C. on a licky-stick!!!!@#@#@#!##@

Maybe Rahm can't "get his arms around" Dean because their busy with a reach-around on the republicans. Sorry, but I refuse to believe that there's only one block to a Dean cabinet position. Just don't buy it. Give RE some credit, he'll work with the cabinet they have, not the one he wants. Besides, I believe his work is suppose to be focused on the unruly Dem's in Congress.
Someone will pick up the pieces after Daschle's demise, Dean or no-Dean. The sky is not falling!

Posted by: bodacious on February 3, 2009 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Good. Now I anxiously await to find out what Republican will be nominated to take his place.

Posted by: doubtful on February 3, 2009 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's really disappointing that Obama doesn't seem to care about tax evasion.

Ram can go skull fuck a kitten. He's not worthy to fucking live on the same god damn continent as Howard Dean.

Posted by: MNPundit on February 3, 2009 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think they would give Daschle the Office of Health Reform post if they pulled him for HHS. For one, I think they could have pushed him through for both if they were really committed to him (they did it for Geithner). So if they aren't heavily committed, why have him in the administration at all in light of this problem. Two, pulling him is basically be admitting that his tax problem was really a serious ethical breach they don't want to address. So it would look pretty hypocritical to turn then just put him in a critical post that happens to not require confirmation hearings.

Posted by: kahner on February 3, 2009 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Add me to the list of people calling for Obama to name Howard Dean as HHS Secretary.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, there appears to be friction between Howard and members of Team Obama (maybe Obama himself). Possibly because Howard is not always considered a "team" player (a good thing IMHO).

It doesn't matter. If Obama can appoint the likes of Gates and Gregg to cabinet positions, there shouldn't be any reason not to appoint Dean.

Personally, I trust the guy (and he doesn't have the mountain of lobbyist baggage Daschle was carrying).

Obama, it's time to do the right thing for the people who got you into office.

Posted by: bdop4 on February 3, 2009 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Good riddance. Intentional or a mistake, it has the appearance of impropriety. There are other qualified people in this country to take that position.

Posted by: st on February 3, 2009 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, your update to the post to make this sound like a bed or roses reads like a pile of horseshit. Obama fucked up bigtime with Daschle, his mug has been all over the place for the past month and he was supposed to be the point man for healthcare. His withdrawal is a disaster as was his appointment.

Posted by: grinning cat on February 3, 2009 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

The White House announcement also said that Daschle would not have the White House post at the Office on Health Reform. So he's out there, too.

I agree -- we need Dr. Dean.

Posted by: Molly Weasley on February 3, 2009 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Time to keep Rahm from bullying about. Try Dean and tell Rahm to swallow and smile.

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on February 3, 2009 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Care to elaborate, Danp?

Dean got health care reform going as governor of Vermont while balancing 11 straight budgets (though not required to do so under Vermont law)

He's a doctor and his wife remains in practice. They know the evils of insurance better than most people.

What are we missing?

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on February 3, 2009 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

What really bugs me is not the tax mistakes. It is the fact that our tax laws are so f***ing complicated that anyone-ANYONE-can get caught up in something like this.

The real failure here is our tax laws, not the nominees who have failed to become member of the Obama cabinet for errors in paying their taxes.

Posted by: independent thinker on February 3, 2009 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Dean would be an awful choice from a political process perspective. This is not electoral politics; this is the space between business and politics.

HHS is not what Dean-for-HHS boosters think it is. DemfromCT at Kos had an excellent summary the other day.

Posted by: Frank C. on February 3, 2009 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

All of you who are happy at this withdrawal should listen to the words of former Sen. Breaux, just on MSNBC, to the effect, this is a blow for everyone who needs help with health care issues, which is most of us. -Oregonian

Or, instead of taking the word of another member of that oh-so-exclusive club, the Senate, perhaps read Greenwald and Taibbi and learn the truth about how Daschle never would have advanced health care reform in any meaningful way.

He dodged his taxes; we dodged a bullet.

Posted by: doubtful on February 3, 2009 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

All I can say is thank heavens we're not in the process of approving Hillary's cabinet choices.

Posted by: MissMudd on February 3, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I am starting to feel very disappointed in the number of high level appointees in this new adminstration (that supposedly had this vaunted vetting process), that are having this sort of embarassing problem. I am very very pissed off at Daschle, Geitner and now Kellifer. What, are paying your taxes just for us little people?

I dont want any more of these mokes hanging around. I dont want Daschle on any committee doing anything. Just go away and hang your head in shame. As for Obama being disappointed...well, I think that he should be VERY disappointed in these people --VERY ---

Posted by: Elie on February 3, 2009 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

toowearyforoutrage - If I had a strong argument rather than a visceral reaction, I would have made it. I will say, however, that I think his handling of the FL/MI fiasco in the primaries made the party seem disorganized and unfair. I would also have liked him to tell the Superdelegates to withhold endorsements until after the primaries and caucuses, since it would have been a complete fiasco if they were perceived as overrulling the voters.

Posted by: Danp on February 3, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

My first thought when I heard about this was: put Daschle in the department, not needing confirmation, and in a not-so-public position. He can still help get healthcare reform through.

Just think if this whole situation took place in the Bush administration: the Rs and Bush would have just pushed the nomination through, the candidate would have been self-righteous, etc. Obama has clearly set a high standard for his administration. But it's too bad Daschle didn't come clean right at first to spare Obama the headache.

Posted by: Oregonian on February 3, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not really a big proponent of Dean for many reasons.
1) He's just not that great on TV. Sounds shallow, I know, but health care reform is gonna be a big sales job fighting a battle to the death against the insurance industry. We need someone who can make make the rounds on news and talk shows and I don't think that Dean's particularly good at it. And this is from someone who supported him for president and agrees with him on pretty much every issue I can think of.
2) Its gonna be a legislative negotiations and I don't think most people on Capital Hill like Dean.
That being said however, I could get behind a Dean appointment just because he remains an outsider voice. He's remained pretty independent and I think would be willing to tell Rahm or anyone else to fuck off. And of course I think he's right on the policy and generally smart and qualified. In any case, I don't think he'll be picked.

Posted by: kahner on February 3, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

doubtful - I'll read those articles, thanks.

Posted by: Oregonian on February 3, 2009 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Dean seems like he would be a good choice, but maybe not. The thing that really annoys me is the notion that RE has some sort of veto power over the nomination. Who gives a crap if the CoS doesn't like the person? If Rahm is really that sensitive, then he's in the wrong job.
As far as real healthcare reform, it's not gonna happen anyway if Obama nominates another insider who's cozy with the insurance industry.
Until we get someone who's not afraid to say "F-U" to the private insurers, nothing will really change.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on February 3, 2009 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

"I still doubt Rahm Emanuel would welcome Dean into the administration with open arms"

So "Secretary of Outsourcing" Judd Gregg becomes Obama's Commerce guy, and everyone's okay with it?

Oh, but Dean, whoa, noooo. Rahm Emanuel might keep his arms crossed.

Who exactly won the election? Can someone remind me please?

Posted by: Ohioan on February 3, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I say George Mitchell. I have never more a more dramatic political self sacrifice than his efforts for health reform in 1996 during which he decided not to run for re-election to concentrate on the struggle in the senate *and* turned down a seat on the supreme court.

Obama just has to find another masochist saint to be his envoy to the middle east.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on February 3, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

How about a trade? Kaine to HHS, Dean back to the DNC.

Or Dingle at HHS? He's been advocating national health care for decades.

Posted by: PeakVT on February 3, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

not to pick on medlex (at 1:21, because there are strains of this thought through the entire thread:

I have to say it has been a very disappointing two weeks since Obama took office. In my opinion, it appears he has already forgotten about the ordinary millions who voted him last November and who do obey and respect the law and do pay their taxes. People I believe were voting for in the last election substantive and dramatic change.

This is either naive, unfair, or riddled with selective memory. This "ordinary millions" who put their hope in Obama, who thought they understood what he meant by "change" -- and who now claim to be disappointed -- were they not paying any attention at all?

Tom Daschle was one of the people who convinced Obama he should run and could win. Tom Daschle was instrumental in keeping HRC from running away with the superdelegate count early. Daschle has been the foremost person in Obama's unofficial "kitchen cabinet" literally since the campaign began. None of this was a secret. Did you all just choose not to notice? Forget? Think Obama had the type of character that he would use Daschle and then just dump him once elected? (like that would speak any more highly of Obama than what he has done by nominating Daschle).

While none of this tax stuff was known, the fact that he was the consumate insider, a lobbyist, a weak, Senate-as-Country-Club, business-as-usual centrist, a millionaire - all of this was well known (or easily discoverable to those only recently engaged in politics). And he wasn't even close to the only person like that in Obama's circle.

To be very, very clear: this is not meant as a slam on Obama. This is meant as a slam on the purity police that are shocked, shocked! to just now find that Obama - who just won the biggest political challenge there is - hangs with politicians. How can you be disappointed the person you elected hangs with the people he hung with all campaign? (indeed, without Daschle there likely is no President Obama for you to be disappointed in. presumably you'd still be more disappointed were it President McCain.)

Much like the public bought St. Ronnie's "you can have it all, including tax cuts, with no defecits," the public has similarly unrealistic expectations for Obama. Yes, cleaner government is better. Yes, paying taxes is preferable. But turning on Obama on a dime in moral outrage over something anyone thinking clearly could see coming two years ago is neither helpful to the cause nor terrible credible.

Posted by: zeitgeist on February 3, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Now that the tax controversy has forced Daschle out..."

I think the tax thing didn't undo him ultimately. His insidery relationship with the health care industry was far, far more troublesome. The guy who lent him the car was just one of those questionable relationships, and I think the tax flap merely served as illumination for the larger problem.

Posted by: Roq on February 3, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

There is something very suspicious about this stuff from the Republicans of cutting taxes and Democratic nominee’s getting caught up in not paying taxes.

The Republican mantra of cutting taxes even after the Bush years does not make sense. The revenue base of more than twenty eight States is falling short to the point of breaching public safety. The huge example is California, Illinois, New York, now many say Texas. So what is happening?

Obama is either being neutral or is flushing out what could be the long time Republican controlled tax legislation formed long ago. Obama not being in this Congress can and may very well be able to point out long over due sneaky ways The Republican party invested time and material to develop what could be said as nothing more than Legislative booby traps for their advantage. If this is so please President Obama take it to the limit with this people Democratic or Republican. Please get your new Attorney General on message “Enough” and let em have it.

Something is drifting into the open, and it looks like tax booby traps that can be ignored and or exercised when it is a benefit. These politicians are experts in the tax code, knowing who, what when and how one might be able to get caught up tax schemes. This is exampled as giving jobs after expired service seems to draw peculiar IRS problems for some and not other. Or if you’re a Democrat and use turbo tax your likely to get caught in a tax review. Is the IRS loaded with bias not to address and correct these issues are for the most part is another poor operation of our government. Is the IRS loaded with Republican Operatives with leagance only to destroy the Democrats?

Ladies and Gentleman of America I am tired of this tax crap. I have been harassed for months and years for a mistake I had made some time ago when using turbo tax. It was about eight hundred dollar. I was so up set and furious about the whole thing because at time I lost my job and very little money pay it back but eventually I did.

Were as we the people if to endorse a tax program, such as turbo tax, allow those mistake found to be correctable as simple mistakes and void any and all mistakes as due taxes. Look at it this way, We the People, are just protecting our selves from our dumb Representatives.

This tax stuff is out of control too, especially with that Pay to Play stuff too. For me the Governor Blagojevich Impeachment a terrific example of a level of corruption that is totally kept off the cable networks. The corruption change was significantly part of a bond rating distraction dealing with banking and loans.

This is a report about a year ago form Universities in Texas, Tennessee, and Missouri that suggested there is more corruption in the world than in the U.S. For me that is a laugh and a joke. This report typifies what that academic’s appear to complicit in all this stuff and its not liberal. Check it out only about two years old.

http://www.fma.org/Orlando/Papers/Political_integrity_2007-01-16.pdf


Posted by: Megalomania on February 3, 2009 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

"this fairly devastating editorial in the New York Times this morning, calling on Daschle's withdrawal, contributed to the decision."

Wonder what Daschle ever did to the NYT? He has voted for every opportunity to bomb Arabs that has presented itself - what more could they want?

Posted by: flubber on February 3, 2009 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Absolutely YES on Howard Dean ... the man is a trailblazer, totally qualified politically (and being an MD is great), has reformed big unwieldly things before (the Democractic Party), is a genius, and has been sorely ignored so far, is the one 100% stupid thing I can think the Obama Administration has done. (Rick Warren? Yuck, but may have opened a door that needed opening, hard as that is to believe.) Oh, and did I mention: Dean has, ah, what Colbert calls cohones. Much needed. This guy can stand up to Rahm, and Rahm aint always right. In fact he was wrong, big time, on hating 50-state stragegy.

Posted by: SF on February 3, 2009 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly likely not to be the last.

By they time some has the experience/time served to be considered for a cabinet level position many have skirted the tax (and other) rules in an effort to pay as little in taxes as possible. Sure that is what most Americans do but most Americans don't have really expensive tax attorneys and accountants to not only keep people legal but at the same time do as much as they can to allow their clients pay as little as possible. This crosses the political spectrum - we are seeing it now because a Democrat is at the top.

I almost have more problem with the fact that these people knew it was going to be an issue and didn't disclose it.

Posted by: ET on February 3, 2009 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with doubtful, we dodged a bullet with the Daschle debacle. The article sited (Greenwald and Taibbi)states "It's probably impossible for Obama to fill his cabinet with individuals entirely free of Beltway filth -- it's extremely rare to get anywhere near that system without being infected by it -- but Daschle oozes Beltway slime from every pore." Let's hope the next selection is a little less filthy....

Posted by: whichwitch on February 3, 2009 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Jim DeMint on This Week, commented on Daschle's tax oversight that "Tom Daschle doesn't mind raising your taxes, because liberals never pay 'em anyway."

Add to that the contradiction between Daschle's campaign ad (professing to be so penny-pinching that he still drove an old beater car) and accepting exorbitant car service as gifts (from a benefactor, for which he paid no taxes) --- and Tom Daschle becomes the Limousine Liberal personified.

I thought he was marginally on the side of minor reforms. But given the above and that Daschle earned $5.8 million to do .. what? --- it seems clear a Secretary of HHS Daschle would've been an unmitigated disaster. How was he not totally compromised?

Posted by: johnsturgeon on February 3, 2009 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

This is great news. Glenn Greenwald slightly overstated things when he called Daschle a whore. Unfortunately, Obama was indebted to him for many reasons and was too much mired in the Washington World to see that the secretary must NOT be a Washington insider, that there is much more to the job than spreadsheets and reading Health Affairs.

All stakeholders will have to give up a lot- we’ll need idealism from doctors, nurses and hospitals and a little bit of communitarianism from patients- we can't -not you, not me- get every monoclonal antibody that "might help" if we are dying of metastatic cancer. Doctors need to feel a pressure from their peers to act for the good of the community, not to put money above all else, as must have occurred when the doc or docs implanted 8 embryos into the womb of Ms. Suleman who has six children and no husband. Maybe she’ll make enough money from TV, books etc to support the kids but the chances are high that many of those tiny babies will end up in special education with a much truncated adult life. Healthcare reform must come because its lack is aggravating our grave economic crisis.

Split up those jobs that Daschle was to hold; I’m a diehard Deaniac but I say why not Mayo Clinic CEO Denis Cortese? He has executive experience that Dean lacks, he is not on Rahm’s shit list, and he knows how to manage a medical business which Dean does not. You need executive skill and a bit of C. Everett Koop.

Tom Ridge might also be OK; the secretary or the very important CMS chief should be an MD or RN- you don’t realize how bad the morale of US physicians and nurses is today and how discouraged we are about help from state governments for us or our patients. Color me hopeful and write to whitehouse.gov.


Posted by: erewhon on February 3, 2009 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

More on John Kitzhaber, former 2-term Oregon governor (and whom Obama should consider for HHS):

"He practiced emergency medicine in Roseburg, Oregon for 13 years [before running for office]. As Senate President, Kitzhaber was recognized nationally for authoring the Oregon Health Plan, which was designed to extend health care coverage to more Oregonians. He was credited both with crafting the plan itself and for bringing together diverse interest groups to pass the law, which took effect in February 1994."

As governor: "He oversaw the expansion of the Oregon Health Plan, which eventually reduced the rate of uninsured Oregon children from 21% to 8%. Kitzhaber also introduced the Oregon Children's Plan, which was designed to identify and assist at-risk children and their families. The plan sought to focus resources on front-end prevention and treatment instead of after-the-fact intervention.

"Upon leaving nearly 25 years of public service in January 2003, Kitzhaber was named president of the Estes Park Institute, a Colorado-based education organization for community hospital and healthcare leaders."

More here:
http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/governors/Kitzhaber/bio.htm
(If you read this, please note that paid political hack Bill Sizemore, referenced as an opponent to Kitzhaber, is reviled in Oregon. ALL of Sizemore's ballot initiatives failed in November.)

Posted by: Oregonian on February 3, 2009 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

He has executive experience that Dean lacks... -erewhon

You mean Governor Dean, right? Sigh.

Posted by: doubtful on February 3, 2009 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

...he knows how to manage a medical business which Dean does not. -erehwon

Seriously, can't let this go.

You mean, the medical practice Dean ran doesn't count? What about the executive experience of being head of the DNC?

Are you sure you're talking about the same Howard Dean?

Posted by: doubtful on February 3, 2009 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

It appears we could almost balance the budget with unpaid taxes of congressmen. They should ALL be audited. Damn, this makes me MAD!

Posted by: Helen on February 3, 2009 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

I have a hard time believing that that Dean's wife would want to come to Washington should the offer for HHS come to her husband. She has her own private practice in Vermont and seems too down-to-earth and real, and just plain nice, to want to change her life to get into the social mix in DC.

Posted by: sparrow on February 3, 2009 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

f*** Rahm Emanuel. that little zionist pos.

HOWARD DEAN

HOWARD DEAN

HOWARD DEAN

Dr. Dean should have been the FIRST Choice.

Posted by: F*** rahm emanuel on February 3, 2009 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Dean.

Posted by: Haik Bedrosian on February 3, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

It is about damn time that Daschle withdrew...what did he think he was doing accepting the nomination in the first place knowing he had this issue in his background...if not a crook he is at least TOO STUPID to have the position and it already reflects badly on Obama...not what we need just now. If you did not see the performance of our "FOLLOW THE BRIGHT SHINY OBJECT" press during today's briefing (could make you toss your lunch) suffice it to say that Gibbs did a terrific job avoiding saying to them...YOU'VE GOT TO BE F**KING KIDDING!...

Posted by: Dancer on February 3, 2009 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Who the hell cares what Rahm Emmanuel thinks any way? I thought Obama was in charge. Dean isn't as polished or diplomatic as Daschle, but maybe that's what we need to shake things up.

Posted by: larry marek on February 3, 2009 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I think it is good that Daschle's gone. Too bad he did not pull the plug last week so Obama did not go to bat for him yesterday. At least the bleeding stops. I think major health care reform is needed and the only way we can pay for it is to go single payer. Obama has never been keen on single payer and it is a dead horse in this economy--we can not have all those health insurance sales people and claims deniers losing jobs. If I was truly cynical, I would say that Daschle was a set up from the get go. Now if Obama does not do health care reform this year he can point to Daschle's problems as the reason. Given what we have going on in the economy in general and what is going on in foreign affairs including Afgahnistan, I simply do not believe that there will be the money, energy or political capital for anything other than the most incremental reform of the health care system.

Posted by: terry on February 3, 2009 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

There are plenty of other DLC sellouts for Obama to choose from.

Posted by: Brojo on February 3, 2009 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Good! He was a tax cheat. Now get someone decent for the post. Everyone knows that is Howard Dean!

Posted by: candideinnc on February 3, 2009 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, in discussing the Daschle withdrawal, just said, "We've put a standard of ethics and accountability that's unseen and unmatched by any previous administration in our country's history." But Obama has already installed a Treasury Secretary who is a tax evader, and Obama stood "absolutely" behind Daschle until just a few moments ago.

This administration is shaping up to be the most corrupt and dishonest one in this country's history.

[this kind of trolling will not be tolerated and this is your only warning -- mod.]

Posted by: Henrietta G. Tavish on February 3, 2009 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

This administration is shaping up to be the most corrupt and dishonest one in this country's history.

Really?
you're a parody troll, right?

All three of the folks with tax problems could have made it through and became key players in this Administration and it wouldn't even be in the top 5 in corruption and dishonesty. For starters, none of this alleged corruption and dishonesty happened in the administration. Compare and contrast to, oh, i dunno, the Nixon, Reagan and Bush II administraitons. And while tax problems are surely not good, they don't involve subversion of the Constitution the country was founded on, they don't cost lives, they don't turn the government into a side project of a party central committee. . . you get the idea.

Good use of histrionics, though. A little hard to dance to; I give it a 47.

Posted by: zeitgeist on February 3, 2009 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Hilarity ensues.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/4450211/Barack-Obama-nominees-forced-to-quit-over-taxes.html

"As well as the specific tax issue, Mr Daschle was attracting a wave of criticism for having earned some $5 million in the four years since he was voted out of the Senate. There was also hilarity about an old campaign advertisement in which he boasted about driving a beaten-up 1971 Pontiac rather than the "BMWs and limos" favoured by other politicians."

Posted by: Luther on February 3, 2009 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Every indication is they are not going to let Dr. Dean anywhere near health care.

Posted by: Brojo on February 3, 2009 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt Dean is even on a short list – and with good reason. Great governor, my second favorite candidate, the best DNC chair evah, all round good guy, but he is not the type of being who can best pull off Obama’s health care mission. Wrong disposition, wrong skill set.

Posted by: Keith G on February 3, 2009 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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