President Barack Obama has indeed made history. His selections for his Cabinet and other top government offices make a mockery of his much publicized campaign promises to give us "the most sweeping ethics reform in history" and to "close the revolving door" to lobbyists.
Some historians confer the ignominious appellation of most corrupt on President U.S. Grant of the 1870s, some on President Warren G. Harding's Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s, some even on President Bill Clinton. We'll leave it to historians to judge where Obama ranks after evaluating his appointments.
Five of Obama's major nominees are mired in political embarrassment. Three withdrew their names from consideration, one sneaked through confirmation because senators were still intoxicated with the Obama honeymoon, and Obama plans to use a waiver so the Senate will approve the fifth.
Funny thing, Americans don't seem to like it when government officials evade the taxes that the rest of us pay, especially when they evade more taxes than most Americans' entire tax bill. Apparently, that doesn't seem to bother Obama.
After South Dakota's voters defeated Tom Daschle for re-election in 2004, he pocketed some $5 million advising clients how to seek influence with the government while, at the same time, technically avoiding the label of lobbyist. Then, he failed to pay $146,000 in taxes on that handsome income.
Meanwhile, Daschle became what The Washington Post said was one of Obama's "closest and earliest political allies." So Obama selected Daschle to run the huge Department of Health and Human Services, where he would oversee the health-care companies that had been paying him so generously. Obama planned for HHS Secretary Daschle to play a dual role with an additional perch called the White House Office of Health Reform, where he would coordinate the federal takeover of the entire U.S. medical system.
Even after it became publicly known that Daschle had failed to pay all his income taxes, Obama defiantly declared that he was "absolutely" standing by Daschle. Obama urged Daschle to continue his campaign for confirmation by an obedient Democratic Senate majority.
It was not until Obama's biggest cheerleaders, the big-city newspapers (which Bernard Goldberg says have a "slobbering love affair" with Obama) criticized this notorious lapse in ethics that Daschle withdrew.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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