By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
Finally someone in the Obama administration registered a mite of good sense about all these flawed cabinet appointments. Whether Tom Daschle withdrew on his own or was asked to get out, he was a disastrous pick in the first place. Earning $200,000 from a lobbying firm working for health care companies one year, and then policing them as HHS Secretary the next? What kind of liquor were those folks drinking when they appointed him?
And that's to say nothing of his mammoth tax problems: owing back taxes of more than $140,000 for use of a limo and driver. Yeah, this is sure the kind of change we need! And what about President Obama's railing against lobbying and Washington business as usual? His cabinet nominees seem to ignore that theme completely.
If you need to get even more annoyed, read on:
WASHINGTON (Reuters)—The withdrawal of President Barack Obama's choice to lead both the Department of Health and Human Services and a new White House Office on Health Reform could set back plans to revamp the U.S. healthcare system.
Here are some possible implications of Tom Daschle's withdrawal, prompted by questions over his taxes:
- Obama had made affordable healthcare coverage a cornerstone of his election campaign, and many saw the appointment of Daschle, a former leading senator, as a strength for negotiating with Congress. Obama will have to find another nominee with the skills to win consensus among lawmakers.
- With no clear leader on the issue, efforts to launch changes in health care may be delayed. The White House insisted Daschle's withdrawal would not slow U.S. health reform, but Obama will be challenged to find another candidate with the same background. Besides his Congressional experiences, Daschle is author of a book, "Critical: What We can Do About the Health-Care Crisis, in which he argues the United States cannot neglect the issue any longer because it weakens U.S. competitiveness.