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Daschle's Woman Problem

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

Former Senator Tom Daschle withdrew from consideration to be President Obama's Secretary of Heath and Human Services Tuesday afternoon because he had a woman problem.

The punditocracy is strongly suggesting that an editorial in the New York Times Tuesday morning was the determining factor. The Times' wrote: We believe that Mr. Daschle ought to step aside and let the president choose a less-blemished successor.

Tom Daschle did not withdraw because the New York Times didn't like the way he handled his taxes. Tom Daschle withdrew because of a woman.

Daschle is a Member of the CLUB. I mean THE CLUB. This is THE CLUB which grants its members unlimited numbers of do-overs (except if the Justice Department shows up with an indictment, then THE CLUB cannot remember your name).

Daschle was probably going to skate on the $140,000 in taxes and the interest he had to pony up because he hadn't understood that someone giving you a car and driver for your personal use is taxable as income.

The Senate would have confirmed him because (a) he was a former Member of the Senate; (b) he was the Democratic Leader of the Senate and (c) he was getting three or four mil a year as a "consultant" which is the life just about all current Members of the Senate want to lead when they leave The Club.

Also, Daschle wears those cool glasses which make him look really smart.

Unfortunately for Mr. Daschle there was a woman in his life that he didn't even know was in his life. Her name is Nancy Killefer. Ms. Killefer was a consultant with the über-management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company.

Follow me here.

Ms. Killefer had been appointed by Mr. Obama to be the Administration's "Chief Performance Officer" which is a new position. Her job, as near as I can tell, was supposed to be looking at what the Executive Branch was doing and looking for ways to make the Executive Branch do it better.

Yeah. Right.

Anyway, it came to light on Tuesday AM that according to the Washington Post:

In 2005, the District of Columbia filed a $946.69 tax lien on Killefer's $1.7 million home in the affluent Wesley Heights neighborhood of Northwest Washington "for failure to pay the unemployment compensation tax."

Nine hundred bucks. Killefer probably spent more than that at Bloomies after McKinsey bonus day.

Nevertheless, in short order Ms. Killefer withdrew from consideration as the Performance Babe joining the ranks of those other WOMEN who had to withdraw because of tax problems: Zoe Baird, Kimba Wood (Clinton picks for AG) and Linda Chavez (Bush 43 pick for Labor).

This is the rule in Washington: If you are a woman and haven't paid an amount of taxes which doesn't even include a comma, you are T.O.A.S.T.

If you are, however, the President of the New York Fed and couldn't sort out $25,000 worth of tax liabilities, well - that's just guy stuff. Boys will be boys and all that and you can still be confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury.

If you are a former Democratic Senate Leader and you owed more than $128,000 in back taxes, that's something of an issue, but certainly not, by itself, a disqualification.

There was no way, on the same day that a WOMAN named Nancy had to leave because of a $900 miss, that a MAN named Tom could be allowed to continue after screwing up his taxes by an amount which includes the words "one hundred" and "thousand."

The highly touted Obama Transition Team which caused the Washingon Press Corps to swoon over the quality of its picks now reads: Three gone (if you include Bill Richardson); one damaged (Timothy Geithner) and who-knows-what is yet to come.

I think Daschle would have made it, had it not been for a woman.

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