I keep starting blog posts, only to have news break and change my plans. I was going to write about the election in Israel, then Qadaffi got elected head of the African Union...so I was going to write on that, but I had a late night last night, so this morning I decided to to go back to Israel. Then I heard that Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services. So, now I feel compelled to comment on Barack Obama's amazing crumbling cabinet. (We'll do Israel tomorrow or later tonight).
If you haven't noticed, our new President is being repeatedly embarrassed by his cabinet choices. First, Commerce Secretary-designate Bill Richardson dropped out after becoming involved in a grand jury investigation. Then, we found out that Attorney General-designate Eric Holder was heavily involved in Bill Clinton's dubious, last minute pardon of fugitive Marc Rich. Then, we heard that there were tax problems surrounding, of all people, TREASURY Secretary-designate Tim Giethner. THEN, Obama created the new position Chief Performance Officer to monitor government spending, only to see nominee Nancy Killefer withdraw today over tax issues. And finally, Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination to lead the HHS Department, which happens to be one of the biggest departments in the federal government.
I haven't been been able to do too much research yet, but so far it looks like the Obama Administration is suffering more embarrassments than any incoming administration in recent memory. It's not uncommon for one Cabinet nominee to bite the dust in confirmation. For instance, George W. Bush lost his first choice for Labor Secretary, Linda Chavez, and George H.W. Bush lost his first choice for Defense Secretary, John Tower. However, losing two is pretty bad, especially when it is compounded by the withdrawal of a high profile non-cabinet officer (Killefer) and major ethical concerns holding up the confirmation of two other cabinet secretaries (Geithner and Holder).
In all frankness, I think that the incoming administration has displayed a rather appalling lack of vetting skills, and they are rightly being embarrassed. I also think that the Daschle situation may have been the last straw for the mainstream media...because if today's coverage on CNN is any indication , the honeymoon may have been officially cancelled.