For the Obama administration, Mr. Gregg’s withdrawal represents another bump at a particularly unhelpful time. Mr. Gregg said yesterday that he had told the White House several days ago of his decision. If so, you have to wonder why the administration did not take better control of the situation, instead of waiting for the news to detonate and then issuing a statement that looked peeved and churlish as it insisted that Mr. Gregg had come calling for the job, and not the reverse.
Well, so what if he did, thinking the White House would behave honorably and not pull the Census rug out from the Dept. of Commerce?
From a couple of sources around Capitol Hill, I’ve gotten the sense that the effort by Rahm Emanuel to strip the Census from Gregg was just the final straw and not the prime motivator behind his decision. It rendered Gregg even more of a political eunuch than the lockout on the stimulus plan, and underscored the fact that even as a Cabinet member, he would not have inside status with the Obama administration. Gregg would get trotted out as the Bipartisan Pony when Obama needed a beard. Some of us predicted just that when he accepted the position, and Gregg found out the hard way that he never should have done so.
I expect that there will be more peeved churlishness coming from the White House now that the “stimulus” bill passed 246-183, with no Republican votes.
After all, who can possibly find anything wrong with the bill?