After promising to change the ethics of Washington, in substance and in perception, President Obama nominated three cabinet officers who had tax and other “business as usual” baggage. One got through – Mr Geithner the treasury department secretary. The most spectacular in terms of capability has so much on his plate that should have prevented him from being put up for consideration that one wonders if he hid the ball on Obama from the very beginning. It is difficult to accept that his being the bag man for a lobbying firm without bothering to register as a lobbyist, and that he was representing the industry he would now have been dealing with as a regulator of sorts could have been missed by capable Obama staff.
Is this crisis of confidence now diffused by the withdrawal of Daschle? President Obama may have worn out his cushion on ethical credibility if he puts up more ineligible nominees. Is there no one at his ear whispering that he is not immune from his own pronouncements about how great he is going to be on transparency? If so, that would be a shame.
More difficult than those barriers to success, however, are the now obvious game playing agendas of his own and his opposition parties. There are more than enough people populating both groups who have some doctrinaire agenda to put forward that they believe more important than solving any problems.
How long will the young and enthusiastic stay with him if this persists? The youthful disenchanted turn on you and eat you alive. That will be a bonfire of epic proportions, and this could quickly turn into a one term phenomenon rather than the fulfillment of any dream. Another very fine man learned that lesson in recent history – Jimmy Carter.
In any event, at this rate the situation will not take long to sort itself out. Either credibility will reassert itself immediately or support will drop fast. You can only get so far down the road on the notion that what was there before you was really terrible. That got him elected, but it won’t make him re-electable. He will age fast this year. The lobbyists he promised to marginalize are crawling all over his stimulus package.
Having to work on unspeakable crisis circumstances with your own “allies” undermining your potential for success, as well as your declared opposition is the stuff of martyrdom.