Earlier today Tom Daschle withdrew from consideration for Secretary of Health and Human Services ostensibly for not paying taxes of $140,000 or so in a timely manner.
Mr. Daschle apparently asked his accountant to check his taxes for accuracy about six months ago and the matter was brought to his attention then, meaning he sat on this information until after it was brought to the attention of the Congress. Then he filed amended returns, and in an act of phony contrition, he publicly apologized for his--what did he call it?--his mistake.
He also drew down say $5 million since leaving Congress as a lobbyist (who was not technically registered as a lobbyist) with part of that work in the health industry.
According to our new president, "If you are a lobbyist entering my administration, you will not be able to work on matters you lobbied on, or in the agencies you lobbied during the previous two years."
Mr. Daschle made the right decision to withdraw, or perhaps it was The White House which made the right decision by asking Mr. Daschle to withdraw.
But knowing how he spent his time since leaving Congress, how he earned his income and how much he claimed on his tax return, and how much tax he paid, Mr. Daschle made the wrong decision at the very start of this sordid affair by letting himself be considered for the Cabinet post.
From the presdient who promised CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN, we have politics as usual. Coming on the heels of the free pass granted Bill Lynn (a defense lobbyist), as deputy defense secretary, we are watching the man who campaigned on a platform which belittled business as usual struggle within his first weeks to live up to his own standards.
Obama didn't blink over Lynn's waiver. And he said tonight on NBC that he still thought Daschle was the best man for the job. Methinks Obama don't get it. Daschle was wrong to put himself forward, and Obama was wrong to push him for the Cabinet role.
Has hubris already taken hold?