First draft: commerce conundrum

February 13, 2009

How many people does President Barack Obama have to nominate before he finally gets a Commerce Secretary? He himself doesnt seem to know — he even suggested reaching back in time and tapping Abraham Lincoln for the job.

But for live candidates, so far it’s two and counting. One close ally (Bill Richardson), one RepublicaUSA/n who seemed — initially —  willing to work with the Democratic president (Judd Gregg). At least until yesterday when he changed his mind.

That left Obama, who was visiting the land of Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, on Thursday, to muse that the 16th president might be sitting somewhere “maybe wondering if someone might call him up and ask him to be commerce secretary.”

Failing that, who’s next? And when will Obama finally complete his cabinet?

These questions will be swirling around as the president waits for the Congress to pass a $789 billion economic stimulus package. Obama wants lawmakers to pass the bill before the end of the Presidents’ Day holiday so he can quickly sign it into law. The votes should be around noon in the House and in the early evening in the Senate.

The bill — a compromise between House and Senate versions — is expected to pass in both chambers. The big question is how many Republicans will vote for it? In the first round, no Republicans in the House voted for it while only three moderate Republican Senators voted to pass the stimulus package.

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon — here’s a warning from Khartoum, where Muslim clerics have urged Sudanese youngsters to boycott the romantic holiday, saying it’s a Western institution that could lead couples astray.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

– Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Gregg announces he’s withdrawing as Obama’s Commerce Secretary nominee)


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The beginning of this administration leaves a lot to be desired. Granted, the campaign was a well oiled wheel (supported by the media to ensure serious questions didn’t get reported). However, campaigning and governing are very different things.

So far, the administration looks to be taking each day by the seat of the pants (ie winging it). They really don’t look like they know what they are doing. Obama’s cabinet appointments lack the proper vetting process (where is the outcry?), he is working against the public to pass a spending plan 63 percent of the nation does not want (as well as many economists, investors and businesses) in its present form, a vice president who says things which Obama clearly dislikes, and the list goes on.

I don’t blame Gregg for backing out. He would be joining a hornets nest. Since when does a president take the census program from the Commerce department and give it to the White House Chief of Staff (Raum Emmanuel)? This is a travesty and there should be an outcry because it is being done with nefarious intentions to sway the election process. Just think if any republican did this.
This is true fascism in the making. It always happens with progressive liberal democrat administrations (See Wilson, FDR and Johnson). We will be the ones to suffer in the end when our freedoms are taken away in the middle of the night.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Obama appoints Republican Gregg and Gregg backs out because of policy differences. I guess that makes Gregg a Republican’t. Now we see who is willing to put aside differences and work with the opposition.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

you are only as good as the company you keep,that is why there were eyebrows raised when obama,s friends started coming out of the woodwork.gregg has built up a reputation of integrity,over many years,he obviously must have sat and listened to the socialist agenda being discussed, and realized what in earth am i hanging with this crowd for.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Conservatives believe they are an oppressed minority. They even believed it when they were running the whole country. But now that they are actually in the minority, their worldview shattered by ideological failure, their sense of oppression and victimization are more important to them than ever.

But they are also looking to keep the census issue on the table for specific political purposes. They want to discredit it as part of their long-term project to discredit all of our electoral systems. When the demographics are against you and you have no new ideas with which to attract new voters, you have to rely more and more upon manipulation of the system. You know that’s their plan when you start hearing conservatives accusing the Obama administration of nefarious intentions to sway the election process.

The protests against putting a hard core right winger like Gregg in charge of the census were well founded and the Obama administration was right to take it out of his hands.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

hi tc, eric has his moderate hat on again,do think it is because he is seeing his decreasing liberal mantra,”let freedom ring”become more bankrupt as the socialists take a greater strangle hold of the democratic party?chaves is an example of what socialists think of free speech.bring on the” media control bill”eric ok?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive