Anne E. Kornblut and Michael D. Shear,"Gregg Withdraws As Commerce Pick". February 13
William "Too Young For Vietnam, Too Old To Die" Kristol, "Why Gregg Withdrew". February 13
OR, Assuming it necessary to shape the news for twelve-year-olds, is it also necessary to insult their intelligence while you're at it? Part MCDLXI.
Kornblut and Shear:
Sen. Judd Gregg withdrew yesterday as the nominee for commerce secretary, dealing a fresh blow to President Obama's quest to fill out his Cabinet and dramatically undercutting his efforts to forge a new bipartisanship in the capital.
The departure of Mr. Gregg is the latest setback to a White House that has struggled to fill several top positions and to fulfill Mr. Obama’s pledge of building a bipartisan administration. He is the third prospective cabinet secretary — the second for the Commerce Department — to remove his name from consideration.
One effect of this story will be to exacerbate the sense among Republicans that, after all the happy talk during the transition, the Obama administration has taken on a surprisingly political and partisan cast. Republicans on the Hill with whom I’ve spoken are in a sense relieved; they were worried that clever “post-partisan” or bipartisan tactics by Obama could split and weaken an already uncertain and demoralized GOP. But if it is true that Rahm Emanuel chooses to behave like Karl Rove on steroids, then Republican unity and fighting spirit will be pretty easy to maintain.
Good Reader, suppose for a moment that you are a paid observer of the domestic political scene. Let us further imagine that you are savvy enough--this, despite your position, is, perhaps surprisingly, not a given!--to recognize that 2YungBill56 texts not Opinion From The Right Side Of The Spectrum but the pure, unfiltered, and (obviously) unedited current PR BS of the Right-Republican Ruling Class. That, in fact, to offer opinion from any further out on the Lying Fascist Small Animal Torturer Scale the modern newspaper would have to risk finding an 800-word copy containing 740 racial epithets had inadvertently been posted online, though with any luck only paid subscribers would have seen it.
Let's ask, then, if even in that demi-paradisical land where Too Young Bill Kristol is the single public voice of Hayek-quoting pirates, whether he yet wouldn't be enough to tip you off to something? Assuming you needed tipping?
Put it another way: imagine you cover the "arts", and that last week the A&R department of some "major" record company being kept afloat by the rapidly subsiding waves of Reaganite international acquisitiveness, interlocking directorates, and possible extortion and money laundering rackets announced the signing of, say, Zaftig Jessica Simpson to a long-term deal worth millions. Let's say that this week she announces she's pissed because she found out she wasn't allowed to produce her own records, and the company rejected her life-long dream of recording all six Bach cello suites on wah-wah guitar. So she's retiring from show business to pursue a career as a massage therapist, or garage-door repairman, or a Literacy crusader.
And you blame the company? Zeleny:
“I’m a fiscal conservative, as everybody knows, a fairly strong one,” Mr. Gregg told reporters at a news conference in the Capitol. “And it just became clear to me that it would be very difficult, day in and day out, to serve in this cabinet or any cabinet.”
“It was my mistake, obviously, to say yes,” he added.
But the political fallout is left to the White House, which now has a string of appointees who have stepped aside over vetting problems, unpaid taxes or philosophical differences with Mr. Obama. Since the president took office last month, not a week has passed without the White House responding to a personnel crisis.
Sennightly Personnel Crises! And this on top of December's Brown Shoes With A Blue Suit Fiasco! And the International Asking for Mint Jelly for His Lamb Chops Flap! Damn, it's a good thing we're not all Going Broke or Dying in ill-conceived foreign adventures or anything. Goddam Ship might capsize.
Look, here's a guy who already negotiated away the rights of his own state's governor; that--like Tom Daschle's ten-minute conversion from Crusading Bipartisan Poltroon to Chauffered Government Lard Guzzler--should have been enough for the Obama Crew, but maybe they're busy looking for whatever Screw it is got loose. Okay, too much to ask. Ten days later he decides maybe he didn't think things out clearly. And this is a blow to President Obama's Promise of Post-Partisanship? No. It's another example that you need to lock the cages when you put Republicans up at night, or they'll get out and defecate all over the halls. Again.
Jesus Christ, the fucking cover story is either unbelievable, or Gregg is too fucking looney to be asked to make change, let alone supervise someone else doing it. Choose one. Politicalization of the Census? Fine. But let's not act as if that isn't charged every decade by whomever is out of power, quite possibly with some validity; and let's not act like nobody in town remembers Tom DeLay. Obama nominates a Republican for Commerce; the nominee, and the rest of his party, apparently believe this makes Secretary Gregg President of the 2010 Census? Th' Fuck?
Exhibit A, of course, is that Kristol graf with the Rahm Wouldn't Return My Calls: How One Republican's Whatever They Have Where Normal People Have Hearts Was Broken routine. The Republican party--at least what's left of it in Washington--is in revolt, because, like some junkie Pop Star, there's always a certain segment of the Press to cheer it on however badly it behaves; because it got away with staging that House revolt "on principle"; because it perceives weakness; because that's all it can do while painted into that corner. Nothing wrong with that; I wish the Democrats would have done so over the last thirty years. But if you believe bipartisanship is some objective good, then this is a question of blame, and you ought to assign it instead of announcing who's leading at the 1/16th pole. If you don't believe in it then call his sanity into question for trying it instead of treating it like a failed product roll-out. If "bipartisanship" is in trouble it's because of bad advice, faulty vision (inexplicably so), or the hopeless naïveté of the President, or else it's a fiendishly clever ruse designed to pay dividends in 2012. He could give it all up tomorrow and start running against the Republicans as hopeless obstructionists. If he did so, had he already done so, they'd be screaming bloody murder about the betrayal of his principles. Young Bill lets us in on the astonishing news that they never believed in it in the first place and felt threatened if it should work. You'd think maybe the Press could catch up with that at some point. Not to mention the President.