30 January, 2009


This could get highly entertaining:
Both Roll Call and the Huffington Post are reporting that President Obama is thinking of nominating Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) to be secretary of Commerce. There'd be a special significance to this move, if indeed the president does make it: New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, who'd appoint Gregg's replacement, is a Democrat. He could appoint a fellow Democrat to replace Gregg, which would -- assuming Al Franken is declared the victor of his race when the legal battle over that seat is finished -- give the party 60 seats in the Senate, a theoretically filibuster-proof majority.
Well, filibuster-proof is a bit of a stretch, but the terrified screams from the Cons would be almost as satisfying.

From what little I gleaned in a few moments' worth of research, Sen. Gregg is your basic don't-tax and don't-spend Con:
  • Risk-takers like Wal-Mart create jobs. (Oct 2004)
  • Voted NO on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted YES on reforming bankruptcy to include means-testing & restrictions. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted YES on restricting rules on personal bankruptcy. (Jul 2001)
  • Rated 78% by the US COC, indicating a pro-business voting record. (Dec 2003)
Considering the... ah... prestige of the Commerce Secretary position, it's hard to see how Gregg would turn that glory down:

As the Obama administration heads into the last day of its first working week, exactly nobody is poised at the edge of their seat wondering who the next Commerce Secretary will be. The reason is that nobody cares about the Department of Commerce. The only important sub-cabinet job—the head of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration—has already been filled by Jane Lubchenco (an excellent choice).

Jonathan Zasloff suggests doing away with the department altogether:

In the run-up to the 2012 Election, President Obama should propose abolishing the department. It would be his equivalent of Bill Clinton’s support of school uniforms and V-Chip: small, symbolic gestures that send a sort of cultural signal. You can trust the Democrats to run the government frugally.

He might just go for it, though. The political winds howling through New England mean his prospects for re-election may not be all that rosy. He'd at least get bragging rights being in a Cabinet position. And he could play at fostering commerce, which it's rumored Cons care about, although their policies rather put the kibbosh on commerce being successful in this country for a good many years more. (Kinda hard to have commerce when the economy's in shambles, innit?)

Break out the popcorn, my darlings. I'm sure the reaction from the right to the renewed specter of a filibuster-proof Dem majority shall be enormously entertaining.

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