President Obama, ever sensitive to the needs and wishes of the media and their audiences, has taken steps to avoid political boredom and inject some drama into his administration. It started with the sudden withdrawal of Bill Richardson as candidate for Secretary of Commerce. A pay-for-play problem. Then came Tim Geithner, who became Treasury Secretary despite failure to pay some income taxes when due. Meanwhile, the President was having cocktail and Super Bowl parties and otherwise courting Republicans to support a huge, controversial stimulus bill.
Further drama ensued when former Majority Leader Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination for health secretary because of tax problems involving a limousine lifestyle. Then came the latest surprise when Judd Gregg, a prominent Republican, withdrew his nomination as secretary of Commerce, upsetting the Team of Rivals nature of the Obama cabinet.
The Gregg withdrawal was sudden and surprising. Mr. Gregg apparently just realized that his views were in conlict with those of the administration. What was it about the Democratic platform and Obama's speeches did he not understand? It seems that, as in Casablanca, he was "shocked, shocked" that there were Democratic policies going on in the White House.
Some of the News
That may be True
GEITHNER TO EMBARK ON SPEAKING TOUR
Groundswell of Support Expected
President Obama is sending Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on a nationwide speaking tour to explain the bank bailout plan carefully crafted by Geithner and his team of experts. While there were some doubters, most who heard his initial speech on the Plan were impressed by the way he brought light and understanding to the immense detail that he had to present.
Just as the President has gone to the country to give the public confidence in his stimulus plan,
Mr. Geithner will be seeking citizen support for his Plan. It has not yet been decided whether to adopt the town hall style used by the President or to make a series of riveting speeches that will
raise the level of enthusiasm for the Plan.
In any event, it is expected that Secretary Geithner's tour will not only drum up additional grass roots support, but will also serve to entice private investors to join the government in acquiring some of the assets of the banks. As Mr. Geithner himself put it, "It's not enough to have the unqualified support of Wall Street; we want the American people to understand and have confidence in this comprehensive plan."
(end of Sub-Rosa news)
TO THE COTS
I've already noted that, in my opinion, the stimulus bill should have been written by the crack economics team in the White House and then forced through Congress. Now we have the House bill with too many easy targets for Republicans to attack and a compromise in the Senate that has let the Republicans water down the bill at the expense of the economic recovery.
Examples: cut in aid to states, a fast track economic help; too much in tax cuts, a weak economic help. And the total sum, already too small, has been reduced.
With Obama's bully pulpit eloquence, and with more spine in Congress, we should force the Republicans to demonstrate their intransigence and disregard for our economic distress. Vote for the best damn bill possible and make the Republicans do an actual filibuster.