It would be disastrous for a Republican President to have a first two weeks like those experienced by the Obama Administration. After promising the highest possible ethical standards, the President’s nomination process has become a political circus, with one after another of his nominees having tax problems. Even Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner — the man who will be handling the nation’s finances — tried to defraud the American treasury while he was an executive at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He not only failed to pay taxes on his income while employed by the IMF, he used the statute of limitations to avoid the problem until he wanted to become Secretary of the Treasury. Ironically, former Senator Tom Daschle, who ran an advertisement during the 1980s campaigns about driving himself to work in an old car, had to drop out of consideration for Secretary of Health and Human Services because of what The Washington Post called a $146,000 tax problem related to a chauffeured automobile provided by a rich patron.
Moreover, Obama took a double hit on Tuesday when, in addition to Daschle, his nominee to be the first chief performance officer for the federal government, Nancy Killefer, had to withdraw her candidacy due to tax issues relating to her handling of unemployment compensation taxes for her household help. And, after pledging to make the White House a lobbyist-free zone, the Obama Administration is acknowledging that they will need to “make exceptions” to the pledge.
Then there are a series of actions that are hurting the new President’s credibility. There are reports that Obama conducted negotiations with al Qaeda for several months before he was elected as the 44th President of the United States. He supposedly conducted “discreet” talks with Iran and Syria. According to some foreign policy experts, those overtures — along with the President’s executive order to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay within a year and Obama’s commitment to leave Iraq within 16 months — have created an impression among Muslim nations of a new American tentativeness that might embolden terrorists to take advantage of what they perceive as weakness.