The irony is the whole thing could have been avoided if the White House had spent more time focusing on the optics of Tax-gate than merely hoping it would go away. Now, the administration has boxed itself in with new, stricter parameters on what’s acceptable behavior and what isn’t, a nd all decided by someone other than the commander-in-chief. Worse still, how many other nominees are out there who could potentially compound the situation because they didn’t own up to basic problems that even a studious intern would red-flag?
These aren’t posts for the Foreign Ag Service, folks. These are the highest echelons of power. Americans expected to enter a new era of change, and with that, hope and optimism that runs straight from the Oval Office. How can we expect Mr. Obama to stay focused and positive and on message when those around him are looking for exceptions, or worse, hoping we look the other way? I’d expect these sorts of shenanigans from a President Clinton (Hillary, that is), but America voted for better. And they deserve that “better.” What is most disturbing is how many of his nominees are facing the same issue. One would think after Bill Richardson's sudden withdrawal of his name when nominated last year, that the vetting process would have become much stricter and firm in the questions being asked. It is becoming quite apparent that President's Obama's vetting process isn't working and heads need to roll sooner and not later. This President can ill afford another nomination fiasco at this stage in his less than 30 days administration.
With all that said, I’m not sure the president made the wisest move in promising “the most ethical administration ever”. Sure, a nation of laws demands and deserves no one to be above them, but no one knows how high that bar should be. Where is the metric of acceptable and unacceptable? And who sets the standard? The point here is, even if Mr. Daschle had skated close to the line, but never crossed it, it would have reflected poorly on the Obama Brand.
The best indication of dumbing down Mr. Obama’s integrity came when he awkwardly paused on the Daschle nomination. Leadership is revealed when individuals recognize mistakes and move to fix them quickly. Instead, the president tried to explain his way out of this conundrum, or at least let the Beltway punditocracy20do it for him. In Washington, when you’re explaining, you’re losing. I don’t suspect he’ll make that mistake again.