Obama’s fledgling administration flounders, but one Republican has handed the president a small – but badly needed – victory.
The Wall Street Journal questions New Hampshire GOP Sen. Judd Gregg‘s acceptance of Commerce Department secretary in a pithy editorial this morning. I had been asking myself some of the same questions, namely, why would he accept this post?
Sure, you get to part of the presidential administration – of the most liberal member of the opposite party. Where’s the fun in that? Even independent-minded heads of the powerful cabinet agencies – which Commerce is not – ultimately are beholden to the president and his agenda.
Gregg made a deal with his state’s Democratic Governor John Lynch to appoint a Republican to the vacant seat. But his replacement – Bonnie Newman, Gregg’s former Chief of Staff – has pledged not to run for a full term in 2010, leaving an open seat even more vulnerable to Democrats. Newman is also a moderate, having supported Lynch in previous races.
I am tired of Republicans abandoning responsibility to pursue self-interest: Dennis Hastert resigning mid-term after losing the speakership, making way for a Democrat pick-up in a special election; Trent Lott resigning one year into a six year term to cash in as a lobbyist; Ted Stevens refusing to bow out of a Senate race after he knew an impending indictment would threaten his ability to win the race; and Larry Craig, in an act of pure self-delusion, openly considering running for re-election after the foot-tapping incident.
Maybe Gregg has some sincere, selfless reasons for accepting President Obama‘s nomination. But the result is the same as many of the aforementioned cases: Democrats win, Republicans lose.