February 13, 2009

Gregg Aftermath I

According to the Motley Fool;

Third time’s a charm? That’s what President Obama is hoping for after another one of his cabinet picks didn’t pan out. This time it was Senator Judd Gregg, nominated for the crucial Secretary of Commerce. His nomination came after New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson withdrew as a result of an investigation into improper business dealings.

Senator Gregg’s reason for bailing?:

"We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy. Obviously the president requires a team that is fully supportive of all his initiatives." -Judd Gregg, N.H. Republican Senator

Gregg cited “irresolvable conflicts” over the stimulus package and the Census. Gregg was to be a calming influence and a counterweight to the more liberal members of Obama’s cabinet. Let’s just hope that his withdrawal was an isolated incident and not the result of an intolerable, partisan or far-too-left-leaning administration.

There's a lot of fallout from this. It affects Gregg, it affects Obama and it affects the Turncoat 3 (Specter, Collins and Snow).

The most obvious impact is to Gregg himself. Jim Geraghty at National Review refers to him as now being the one of most powerful people in Washington. While Larry Kudlow thinks he should run for President. Let's not get carried away. Let's not forget that even considering the post was probably not a good idea to begin with. Let's not forget that Gregg, while solid isn't even a guaranteed lock for his seat in 2010.

Either Gregg to begin with was interested in furthering his own career, or if he is as solid on his principles as Kudlow believes to be the case, then he's a bit naive to think that he would be able to make a difference in an Obama administration. Either way, there is a trait that isn't what we need to see in the White House (self-serving or naive). [Insert ironic note here]

All that said, Gregg, did the right thing and it quite is impressive that he did. I applaud his fortitude and courage for stepping back from what was clearly a bad option, particularly in the way he did it - with integrity and for sound, principled reasons. He now has the honor of returning to his Senate seat and fighting for conservative principles in the most effective way possible. And for that he also deserves our appreciation as conservatives.

He will likely have helped his own chances in New Hampshire's 2010 election, being independent enough to both try to reach out and then stand up and be counted when he saw the degeneration of the position and the negative impacts of the stinkulus bill he could not bring himself to stomach. The impact to Gregg is another Senate term. It doesn't mean a run at the Presidency and it doesn't mean more power within the GOP.

He is the hero of the moment, but he only did what he should have done. He deserves our respect for standing up, but to get more, he still has to show more. That's not to say he won't become a more prominent figure - he will have more attention now, and he can use that to make more fiscally conservative arguments. If he does that, maybe a shot at the Presidency is not beyond the realm of possibility.

UPDATE: Gregg has stated he won't seek re-election in 2010. I for one wouldn't count on that statement. I think he'll return.

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