THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: Updates To Previous Posts
† Is Daschle’s Nomination DOA?: Yes. Despite’s Tom Daschle’s connections and the Senate’s clubby atmosphere, the nominee concluded that his tax problems, conflict of interest issues and his behind-the-scenes lobbying to tap his employer Leo Hindery - who provided the use of a car and chauffeur that Daschle “forgot” to include as income on his taxes – as Commerce Secretary made it impossible for him to “operate with the full faith of Congress and the American people” in leading healthcare reform.
The credibility gap became a yawning chasm for Daschle, who inveighed against (video) tax chiselers on the floor of the Senate in 1998 (“tax cheaters cheat us all and the I.R.S. should enforce our laws to the letter”) and forced Linda Chavez to withdraw her nomination as head the Department of Labor by threatening to filibuster her confirmation hearing (“There should be no question the person who is in charge of enforcing … laws respects those laws.”)
As columnist Jonah Goldberg puts it:
When moralizing conservatives get caught, say, cheating on their wives or challenging stall mates to robust Greco-Roman wrestling in airport bathrooms, liberals justifiably howl at the hypocrisy of it all (even though conservative moralizing has no teeth, while the IRS has agents with guns). When liberals fail to pay taxes - the wellspring of a just society - it's merely, to borrow an old phrase from Daschle, "sad and disappointing," but ultimately not that big a deal.
“Cheating on your taxes is not that big a deal” is not a message the Obama administration wants to send out just as millions of Americans are toting up – or frantically looking for – receipts and filling out worksheets that require them to “enter the amount from Form 1040 line 9b, enter the smaller of line 15 or 16 of Schedule D, add lines 2 and 3 …” Even folks as "honest" as Timothy Geithner and Tom Daschle may be tempted to skip all those forms and worksheets because they are impossible to figure out.
And when – not if – you make a mistake, the IRS doesn’t give you the presumption of innocence that an accused criminal gets. You get a letter informing you that the IRS judged you guilty of underpaying your taxes and imposed punishment in the form of interest and penalties. Period.
Perhaps most galling, Daschle exemplified the “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” way of doing business in D.C. that Obama promised to reform, and Repub strategist Greg Mueller is spot-on with this observation:
By withdrawing, Tom Daschle may have helped President Obama stop the bleeding from an array of embarrassing high-level personnel decisions by the new administration. …
There must be concern among Obama's political champions that compounding embarrassments related to alleged bribery and tax evasion are not at all the "change we can believe in" but, rather, all too similar to the scandal surrounding Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois governor who was impeached and removed from office. Candidate Obama promised a new day in Washington, but so far President Obama's new Washington looks a lot like old Chicago politics.
Editorial Note: Remember when Obama grandiosely proclaimed – as is his wont – that his election meant that “we've got a unique opportunity to reboot America's image around the world”? Well, after a string of cabinet nominations that hung and one that crashed, the Los Angeles Times notes: “In only his second week in office, Barack Obama is punching the restart button on his presidency.” BTW: “Reboot” and “restart” are synonymous, for all practical purposes.
† Every Bubble Bursts Eventually: In a news analysis, The Associated Press makes the stunning (to his besotted worshipers, second item) observation that “Obama may be more ordinary than some admirers would like to admit. He will surely struggle, over the coming weeks and months, with the economy, health care, military matters and Congress, much as other presidents have.” Translation: Nothing ever changes in Washington. More from AP:
Two weeks into his presidency, Barack Obama proved that even a clearly gifted politician cannot escape the gravitational pull of Washington forces that have humbled many of his predecessors. …
An old story, with new actors, played out Tuesday: A new president's team imperfectly vetted top nominees. The nominees, it turns out, had not paid taxes for household help or other services when they were private citizens. The news media and political adversaries bored in. And rather than spend more valuable time and political capital defending the appointees, the administration dropped them and moved on.
† Your Butt Will Look Good In These Jeans: In the February 9th issue of New York Magazine, designer Isabel Toledo – who outfitted Michelle Obama for the swearing in ceremony - is asked whether the two women had met. They had, just one time, and Toledo tactfully describes her first impression:
“I hugged her and thought ‘Let me see … what size?’ She’s got an amazing torso and long, beautiful arms. She’s like a spider.”
Toledo chose not to be blunt about Mrs. Obama having large hips, thighs and buttocks. But rather than be dishonest or fawning, the designer subtly made her point by comparing Mrs. Obama’s figure to an insect that tends to have skinny arms and a bulbous lower body.
Mrs. Obama’s husband, on the other hand, was not as delicate when he was shown a current photo of singer Jessica Simpson on the cover of US Weekly, reports NewsBusters: "Apparently, President Barack Obama thought that Jessica Simpson's weight was something he needed to make fun of during his pre-Super Bowl interview with Matt Lauer on NBC Sunday. … As he viewed the cover, Obama decided to smack the singer down for [being] 'in a weight battle.'"
To be fair, Obama was reading the magazine’s cover line “Inside Jess’ WEIGHT BATTLE.” However, Obama’s joke was both lame - he should have left the obvious unsaid - and beneath his stature as president.
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, Say It Aint So Roger, Andy, Jason …): “Two sources familiar with the investigation” tell The Washington Post that Roger Clemens's DNA has been linked to blood in syringes that his personal trainer, Brian McNamee, says he used to inject the former star pitcher with steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs:
The DNA results, which are preliminary and subject to verification tests, could prove critical if prosecutors seek an indictment of Clemens on charges that he lied about the use of steroids, according to the sources.
Clemens told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last year that he has never taken performance-enhancing drugs. Testifying at the same hearing, the pitcher's former personal trainer ... said he injected Clemens nearly 40 times with steroids and human growth hormone from 1998 to 2001.
McNamee's attorneys have said their client gave federal investigators syringes, gauze pads and other items that he claimed he used to inject Clemens. He stored the items in a FedEx box in his basement.
Clemens’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, contends that McNamee “fabricated” the evidence.
† Updates To Previous Posts (second item, ICE Goes After Fugitive Aliens (Finally): Americans for Legal Immigration PAC filed an arrest request with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and publicly demanded that President Barack Obama deport his aunt, Zeituni Onyango, an illegal immigrant who was living in a public housing project in Boston, reports WCVB-TV (Channel 5-Boston). Onyango, who now lives with relatives in OH, says she will fight the deportation order handed down by an immigration judge four years ago. "President Obama has promised the American public that his administration will honor the principles of open government, the Constitution and the Rule of Law. Obama must either deport his aunt or destroy his own credibility by showing her favoritism,” said ALIPAC president William Gheen.
† Updates To Previous Posts (last item, Another Cockamamie Lib Idea Fails The Real World Test): Oakland County Family Judge Linda Hallmark is allowing Teri Martin, a Michigan woman who abandoned her adopted teenage son in NE under that state's since-amended safe-haven law, to return home to her husband three younger children – provided she gets counseling, reports The Associated Press. The boy, who is now in foster care, will be allowed to visit the family as well.