Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Obama's Cabinet

The big news of the day: Tom Daschle has withdrawn his nomination to be health secretary because of his failure to pay over $100,000 in income taxes. Nancy Killefer, who was to oversee the performance of government programs for Obama also withdrew because of tax issues (the woman supposed to be identifying waste failed to pay unemployment taxes on her two nannies - which she required to look after her two teenagers).

There's a third tax cheat who should also go: Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner. Is it too much to ask that the person in charge of the IRS actually pays his own taxes?

As Larry Kudlow notes, Daschle said he wouldn't have been able to reform the nation’s health-care system “with the full faith of Congress and the American people.” Does Geithner have the full faith of the American people to reform our financial system? He was approved by the Senate despite opposition from 31 senators.

All this is just the latest embarrassment for the Obama administration. We still don't know all the details of Rahm Emanuel's dealings with Blagojevich. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had to withdraw his nomination to head the commerce department because of an FBI investigation into his dealings with a California financial services firm that was awarded a lucrative contract from the New Mexico Finance Authority after donating to political committees linked to the governor.

Hillary Clinton's nomination to Secretary of State looks completely non-controversial compared to all these upstanding citizens, despite alarming conflicts of interest. Out of the hundreds of millions donated to President Clinton's foundation, foreign governments have donated $46 million. People don't donate that kind of money without expectations of influence (granted they thought they were currying favor with a future President Hillary Clinton, not Secretary of State Clinton). Not that the Clintons have a history of helping unsavory characters when money or elections are on the line (cough! Mark Rich! cough! FALN terrorists!)

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