Ladies and gentlemen, your next Obama appointment – the actual position doesn’t matter, since he already has the talking points down pat:
February 2: America wakes up to the news that Tom Daschle didn’t pay $140K of his taxes, and for some reason that may cause trouble with his nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services. This comes on the heels of Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner’s tax controversy.
It all sounds so familiar…
Hillary Clinton’s husband accepted donations from foreign interests (again!) which could create a conflict of interest in her work as America’s chief diplomat (and are rewriting ethics laws). Yet her nomination as Secretary of State was overwhelmingly approved this afternoon.
Timothy Geithner looks to be headed for the same success in his bid to be Treasury Secretary – despite a track record which shows he is at worst a tax cheat and at best careless about details.
Politically speaking, the Republicans were right to give Clinton a pass – to hold up her nomination would have cast the image of a party fighting the same battles it did in 1998. But polls suggest Senate Republicans should think again about a second rubber stamp to Geithner – the American people are dead even on whether or not he should be approved.
Fiscal policy is going to be a critical battleground over the next two years, and Geithner’s confirmation hearings offer Republicans a way to score an early victory – and, equally important, a chance to demonstrate that Team Obama does not own a monopoly on the concept of transparent, open government.
President Bush’s original pick for Secretary of Labor, Linda Chavez, had to withdraw her nomination when it was revealed that she hired an illegal immigrant to help around the house.
Timothy Geithner, President-elect Obama’s Treasury Secretary-designee, was found to have the same issue plus a possible $42,000 unpaid tax bill (never a good qualification for running the IRS). Luckily for Geithner, he has a much better PR team that apparently draws inspiration from Steve Martin, circa 1978:
“You can be a millionaire and never pay taxes!… First, get a million dollars. Now you say, ‘Steve, what do I say when the tax man comes to my door and says, “You have never paid taxes”?’ Two simple words. Two simple words in the English language: I forgot.”