Thursday, February 12, 2009

What made Gregg go away?

So, Judd Gregg is out. Out of consideration as commerce secretary, because he apparently hadn't realized that President Obama was going to push Democratic ideas. Oddly, though, he has immediately ruled out running for re-election despite a rather healthy campaign balance approaching $900,000. This makes the Secretaryship seem to be a failed attempt at a retirement plan.

I wonder why Gregg is so shy about running for re-election. It seems a bit early to give up, especially with a a campaign account 15 times that of challenger Paul Hodes. It would be an off-year election under a Democratic president, and it certainly doesn't look as if the economy will improve anytime soon. So we can eliminate that Gregg was convinced that he was going to lose -- it's too early to tell, and this race was a toss-up at best right now. We can eliminate that Gregg wanted to get away from the DC game, considering that he was lobbying (intensely, if we can believe Obama's people) to stay in DC. So there's something out there that doesn't add up. Maybe Gregg like being powerful, but doesn't like being answerable to the electorate. Maybe he had some polling that showed him getting killed. Maybe his links to Abramoff are deeper than currently known. Whatever the cause, the Senate will probably be a better place in 2011 because of this decision.

As for the next person to take on the Curs├Ęd Secretaryship, I'd like to suggest that we nominate a Democrat. Crazy, I know. And again, rather than detouring the careers of future Senators such as Kathleen Sebilius, I'd suggest that we use talented Democrats who are not in elected office right now. I've kindly supplied a list of Democrats who lost office from 2008 to 2009, be it by choice or not. Best stuff in bold:

  • Nick Lampson: A Texas (read Southern) Democrat who got screwed by Tom DeLay's redistricting putsch. Give this man a job.
  • Tom Allen: A Maine Congressman who gave up his seat to try to take out Fauxmoderate Susan Collins, but failed. Give this man a job.
  • Albert Wynn (D-MD)...a corporate Democrat, but still a Democrat. It's awfully close to the effect of appointing a Republican.
  • Nancy Boyda (D-KS)...a people-powered candidate who won in a red district, but could not keep fighting the nature of her constituents.

In addition to retired yet great Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, retired Washington Governor (and one-time wave of the future) Gary Locke, and former DNC Chair Howard Dean, there are four more candidates that don't involve crippling the Democratic bench. Have at it.

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