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The Faces-of-the-Week in Washington

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The names of the two guys who are the Faces-of-the-Week in Washington are Michael Steele and Tom Daschle.

Let's take Michael Steele first, because he's the good guy and the good news.

On Friday the Republican National Committee, a group of 168 people who are largely the National Commiteeman, Committeewoman and State Chair of each state plus representatives from the Territories and the District of Columbia.

When your party owns the White House, the President (or his Political Director) more or less tells the RNC (or in the present case, the DNC) who he or she would very much like to see as the Chairman of their National Committee.

Thus, when President Obama decided that he wanted Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to be Chairman of the DNC, the members of the committee dutifully did what the President wanted.

Without the White House, the RNC members were free - for the first time in eight years, to pick anyone they wanted. The five people who qualified for the ballot were all qualified to be Chairman.

On the sixth ballot the members of the committee picked Michael Steele.

Michael Steele has been a Republican County GOP chair. He was Maryland State GOP chair. He was elected Lt. Governor of Maryland (the first African-American to win state-wide office there) then ran, unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.

After the Senate race (during which African-Americans threw Oreo cookies at him, but no hate-crime charges were filed) Steele agreed to serve as the chairman of an organization near and dear to my heart: GOPAC.

Michael Steele is the new face of the Republican Party and, having come through local and state politics, he is exactly the right guy to rebuild the GOP county-by-county, state-by-state.

That's the good news for the GOP.

The bad news for the Democrats is Tom Daschle.

Daschle is a former Senator, former Senate Majority, current nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Daschle is the second Cabinet Nominee who apparently didn't read, or lied on, that questionnaire the Obama Transition Team said everyone had to complete. For those who may have been absent the day we talked about this, Question 63 reads, in an amended form:

Please provide any other information that could be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the President Elect.

Obviously, not paying your taxes doesn't count as a source of embarrassment if you make enough money.

Remember the guy who is now our Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner? In spite of being a senior official at the International Monetary Fund and the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, didn't understand that if you are an independent contractor you have to pay both your share of FICA and the employer's share - because you ARE your employer.

Tom Daschle didn't pay all of his taxes, either. In fact, according to ABC News and the LA Times, Daschle failed to pay more than $128,000 in taxes starting in 2005 when he was making over $1 million a year as a consultant.

Mullpal Jenny Backus, who is acting as Daschle's spokesman in this deal, said the "tax errors were the result of simple mistakes."

Most of the thing has to do with paying taxes on a limo service that his client provided but didn't bill him for. Private use is taxable as income. Daschle also is paying about $6,000 additional taxes for charitable deductions he claimed but which - assuming he actually paid the money - were not to a tax-exempt organization.

We were told the Senate HAD to confirm Geithner because he was the only guy who understood how to help unravel the problems that the lying, cheating, bonus-paying dopes who run Wall Street had gotten us all into.

Bill Krystal said on Fox News Sunday yesterday that Geithner might have been the only person available to take over Treasury, but it is hard to see why the United States Senate should turn a blind eye on Daschle's tax dodging.

A lot of people could run HHS. Or, no one could run HHS and the United States would be none the worse for the vacancy.

This is exactly why people who live outside the 49 square miles which is Washington, DC distrust everyone who works within the District: They operate on the theory that the rules are for everyone else, not for those who are, or have been, a Member of the Club.

So, the two new faces in the news last week. One, a very good one for Republicans. The other, a tired, business-as-usual face for the Democrats.

The GOP wins the week.

Note on the Superbowl. At one point in the game Al Michaels said that the Cardinals (who had gone to a no-huddle offense) were "playing with Alacrity" as if Alacrity had just shown up at the stadium. I never did find out what position he played.

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