Politics and Media Headlines 2/4/09
by Caro, Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:40:10 PM EST
Obama: 'I screwed up' in Daschle withdrawal (MSNBC)
President Barack Obama on Tuesday abruptly abandoned his nomination fight for Tom Daschle and a second major appointee who failed to pay all their taxes, telling NBC News: "I screwed up."
Unintentional responsibility (by J -SOM at Liberal Rapture)
Daschle certainly has muddied the waters. "Obama told NBC `I'm frustrated with myself' for unintentionally sending a message that there are `two sets of rules' for paying taxes, `one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks.'" Daschle was always a bad choice. The guy is the insider's insider. I am willing to give Obama a grudging pass on this one. His acceptance of responsibility, while weak, is at least an attempt. I'm not sure Obama could actually take full responsibility when he's wrong. It is not in his character... The man is strangely fearful of being disliked. (Which makes it all the more fun to dislike him.) This is true of most politicians. In BHO's case it does seem almost pathological.
I think fear of being disliked was Bill Clinton's biggest drawback, too.--Caro
MORE MORE MORE
More On Daschle (by Hilzoy at Political Animal, The Washington Monthly, thanks to Susie at Suburban Guerilla)
This was a tough one. Obama is close to Daschle. Daschle has helped him in a lot of ways since he got to the Senate... The fact that lobbyists, like bankers and CEOs, too often take extraordinary privilege for granted, and that Daschle moved in their world, explains a lot. It's also why, in my opinion, he had to go. It was plainly a very hard call for Obama. But in some ways, that made it all the more important.
The ways of Washington (First Read, MSNBC)
When Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in Springfield, IL, here's what he said: "I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change." The irony? The folks that have caused him the most trouble in the last two years have old Washington hands like Jim Johnson, Bill Richardson, and Tom Daschle. If President Obama listened to his own rhetoric, he would have avoided all three embarrassments. He's been making the case of changing the ways Washington did business, and NOT relying on old Washington hands is one of the ways to avoid old mistakes.
Contradictions and lobbyists: (by Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler)
It never made sense to thunder against lobbyists quite as loudly as Obama did--with Tom Daschle virtually running his campaign. For ourselves, we have no particular negative views about Daschle--and no, he wasn't technically a lobbyist. But he was plainly everything but--and his wife, Linda Daschle, had long been one of Washington's biggest lobbyists. Our question: Did it really make sense to thunder about this breed, with Daschle playing such a key role in Obama's campaign? This posture always struck us as a bit silly. But do you remember that fateful Netroots convention in 2007? When Hillary Clinton refused to make the stirring promises made by her rival (about accepting donations from lobbyists), she was assailed for her vile, thoughtless words--and everyone pretended to think that Obama's high-minded claims made absolute sense...
This is part of why we sometimes called the Dem nomination fight a "Cordelia campaign." As with King Lear's one truthful daughter: In several episodes in the Dem primary, the person who wouldn't offer BS got widely slimed for such conduct. By way of contrast, the guy who did seem to be BSing slightly got praised for his high-minded ways.
Tom Daschle and the Populist Revolt (by Robert Reich)
Tom Daschle's surprise withdrawal [Tuesday] shocked most Washington insiders... So what happened? My guess is that official Washington underestimated the public's pique at what appeared to be the old ways of Washington. Hill staffers tell me that many offices have been inundated with telephone calls, emails, letters and faxes expressing concern (to put it mildly) about Daschle -- not only his failure to pay back taxes but his relationships with major players in the health care industry and rich consulting contracts with the private sector since leaving the Senate, and even the fact that he was given a car and driver by one of them.
What's going on here? Maybe official Washington, much like most of Wall Street, is still not quite getting it. Typical Americans are hurting very badly right now. They resent people who appear to be living high off a system dominated by insiders with the right connections. They've become increasingly suspicious of the conflicts of interest, cozy relationships, and payoffs that seem to pervade not only official Washington but our biggest banks and corporations. In short, many Americans who have worked hard, saved as much as they can, bought a home, obeyed the law, and paid every cent of taxes that were due are beginning to feel like chumps.
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