This was not a good day for the new President. First, his own Democrats are squabbling between each other. Senator Harry Reid jumped the gun and announced there was a deal for the spending bill but didn't include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She hit the roof. Second, the Democrats delayed voting on the bill because they haven't had a chance to read it yet, which would be difficult since it's not printed yet.
Third, the economy is showing some signs that it is improving despite the spending bill not being passed yet bringing the question 'do we really need to spend $1.2 Trillion to get the economy rolling next year.
Fourth, Obama said that when the spending bill passes, Caterpillar will be hiring a portion of their laid off workers back. Unfortunately for him, the President of Caterpillar said it wasn't true.
Fifth, Obama's fourth cabinet nominee has decided to withdraw his name from nomination. Senator Judd Gregg decided that he wouldn't be part of the Obama administration after all. This has created a flurry of activity. Ten days ago, when Obama announced he was nominating Judd Gregg to be Commerce Secretary, Gregg immediately announced that he would recuse himself from the vote on the spending bill. Yet today, Robert Gibb the Press Secretary said that the writing was on the wall when Gregg said he'd recuse himself and not vote on the spending bill. This is ten days after that announcement. If Gibb is telling the truth, why did Obama bother to nominate him to begin with? If you'll remember, Gregg said that he'd already told Obama he would recuse himself from that vote.
Late last week, the White House announced that they were moving the responsibility for the Census from the Commerce Department to the White House. This would put Rahm Emmanuel in charge of the Census. This was a slap in the face to Judd Gregg. Several Democrats had complained about the nomination of Gregg because they didn't want a Republican in charge of the Census. This politicized the Census and by moving it to the White House, it further politicized the Census.
Democrats want to have an estimate of the people living in the United States. They tried this in 1990, but President George H. W. Bush was President, so that wouldn't work. They tried again in 2000, but the Republicans controlled the Congress and George W. Bush was just elected President. Now they want to try to institute estimates again in 2010. This is their best chance because they control both Houses of Congress and the White House right now. However, they have one problem and one potential problem.
Their first problem is the Constitution. The Constitution says "The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct." The Constitution requires an actual count, not an estimation. The second problem is only a potential problem, but a problem nevertheless. They may not control the Congress in 2010 especially with this massive pork included in this spending bill and the health care coordinator in it.
Watching the news tonight during the announcement of Senator Gregg's decision to remove himself from consideration Democrats that were interviewed were livid. Hillary Rosen and Roland Martin in particular. I believe that they are angry for several reasons. First, Senator Gregg has never lost an election. His taking the Commerce position, meant that a replacement had to be selected. Regardless of who the Governor of New Hampshire selected the seat would be in play next election. The Democrats would have a better chance with Gregg out, than they do with him in.
Second, it makes Obama look bad. This is, after all, the fourth nominee to withdraw from their nomination. Governor Bill Richardson had to withdraw from his nomination as Commerce Secretary because of a scandal he's involved in that is before a Grand Jury in New Mexico. Nancy Killefer withdrew because she hadn't paid some taxes. Tom Daschle removed his name from consideration for Health and Human Services Secretary because he didn't pay taxes. Another, Timothy Geithner, despite having not paid taxes, squeaked through with his nomination before all of these others came up.
Third, it appears that Judd Gregg was not a vetting problem. The Obama Administration had a problem with their vetting in all of the cases above, Richardson, Daschle, Killefer, and Geithner and may have yet another with their Labor nominee, Hilda Solis and also had a problem with Attorney General Eric Holder and possibly his deputy attorney general David Ogden. It appears that the Democrat partisans are upset that Gregg was clean as a whistle and decided to pull out due to policy reasons rather than having his own tax or legal problems as the Democrat nominees have had.
The Democrats, including Hillary Rosen and Roland Martin, have tried to say that Senator Gregg begged for the job of Commerce Secretary, but within half an hour of them accusing him of that it's come out that he didn't go after the job. The Democrats are imploding over this turn of events.
Fortunately, this adds one more no vote to the spending bill, but unfortunately, it doesn't take away from the 61 yes votes. There is hope, however. Many of the items that Senator Susan Collins and Senator Ben Nelson negotiated out of the spending bill have been put back in. So maybe, Collins and Senator Olympia Snowe will switch their votes back to No which would bring them back below 60 votes and kill the bill.
Your comments are welcome.