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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Smith Dems Wonder if Sec. of Commerce Seat is Cursed as Second Nominee Drops Out

Republican Senator Judd Gregg, already doomed in life by having a double double-letter name, stepped down from consideration for Secretary of Commerce today. As the only Republican Cabinet nominee, Gregg represented one of President Obama's most clear demonstrations of bipartisanship in the transition process. However, these ideological differences seem to have proved fatal for the relationship. In his statement of withdrawal today, Gregg cited "irresolvable conflicts" between himself and the Obama administration.

Key factors in these "conflicts" centered around the details of the Obama-supported stimulus package and the Census, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Commerce. What is so dramatic about the Census, you ask? Apparently, Gregg has a record of supporting previous census-related legislation that results in the underrepresentation of minorities. The Census, which occurs once every ten years, provides important statistics used in all aspects of the government, meaning an inaccurate headcount for minorities could have pernicious and far-reaching implications.

In response to complaints on Gregg's census record, President Obama agreed to more strict White House regulation of the Census, which angered Republicans who felt this undermined Gregg. Words were exchanged from both sides of the aisle (some of my favorites were: "trust," "different set of views" and "politicization", which is just ungainly). And then, just like Gov. Richardson before him, Gregg withdrew himself from consideration.

So... is the seat cursed like the Defense Against the Dark Arts post in Harry Potter? (If so, did Voldemort do that too?!)

Who will be the next nominee? And how long will they last this time?

Stay tuned.

MME

Click here for more on the controversies around the Census

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