Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Obaminet: Daschle

I didn't really like Daschle when he was a Senate Majority (and then Minority) leader, but I was looking forward to his presence in the Obaminet. Then tax issues were raised--which really put him on par with Timothy Geithner, and I didn't think it would derail it. But then his speaking engagements began to be an issue, and I was torn. I still believe he would have been the best man for the job of creating health care, but as Matthew Yglesias pointed out, it would have pitted Obama's promise of health care against Obama's promise to clean up Washington. And as Lawrence Lessig points out in his Change Congress campaign, it is not enough to get rid of undue influence--we must also clean out the appearance of undue influence. Whether or not Daschle actually made different positions due to his speaking engagements is not the issue--it is bad enough that such implications could exist. Government is to be structured without trust.

I wish Obama was stricter about not putting forward these candidates with taint in the first place, but he hasn't been attempting to shield them (although it sounds like if Daschle hadn't withdrawn he would have defended him). Careful, President Obama.

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