Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Too bad Daschle didn’t pay his taxes

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Perhaps. At any rate, Madison Powers has an interesting article on the HHS challenge Congressional Quarterly:

When President’s Obama’s nomination of former Sen. Tom Daschle for secretary of Health and Human Services fell apart, most observers were at a loss to think of who might fill the void. Some obvious names came to mind because of their knowledge of the health care system, but many were dismissed from the realm of serious speculation because they were seen as inadequate for the daunting political task at hand.

The Daschle nomination seemed a truly inspired choice. He is the consummate Washington insider with a Rolodex (Blackberry, actually) as well-stocked as any in town. He has unparalleled knowledge of all aspects of the legislative process. He’s even co-authored a book on health care overhaul.

A lesser known fact about Daschle is that he was one of the very few members of Congress who managed to get a major staffer a place at the table within the Clinton administration’s health care task force. He has first-hand understanding of what went wrong in the process that involved almost 500 people but lacked serious consultation with the key members of the legislative branch.

Ultimately, it was Daschle’s choice to follow the trend of insiders cashing in on their years of public service that did him in. The tax issue was the wedge — but the final blow to his nomination was the emerging portrait of his participation in the shadowy world of consultants and advisers whose activities are ill-defined and unregulated either by the professional norms of lawyers or the legal transparency requirements of lobbyists.

Initially, the idea of someone from beyond Washington, a governor perhaps, seemed attractive to outside observers, and if reports are accurate, appealing to the administration as well. Nonetheless, Daschle’s fall from grace was a stark reminder of how much is lost by not selecting someone skilled in the legislative sausage-making process.

One name among the list of governors to surface a week ago was greeted with instantaneous grass-roots opposition. …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

13 February 2009 at 10:04 am

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