Why has Tom Daschle been paid over $4.5 million in the four years since losing his Senate seat (not to mention his wife’s lucrative career as a lobbyist)? Because it is believed – correctly – that Tom Daschle can get you government contracts; or spare you from government regulation; or get the government to regulate your competitors.
This influence peddling is going to get worse – much worse – under the Obama regime. You can’t double the Federal government’s discretionary spending in one “stimulus” bill, and propose to nationalize health care (as Mr. Daschle wants to do), nationalize the auto industry (as has just about been done), nationalize the banks (already nationalized in all but name, with the President yesterday announcing plans to dictate their lending policies), and think people aren’t going to flock to Washington and pay big bucks to the Tom Daschles of the world to help them get their share of the loot.
These are not unintended consequences of the policies of big government. They are the essence of big government. The cash floating around Washington and being lavished on the Tom Daschles of the world is exactly what Democrats have longed for – money follows power.
Should Daschle’s nomination be rejected? Well, can you imagine a Republican being confirmed after “forgetting” to pay over $125,000 in taxes? Why should the people put up with it, especially from a man who, as Grover Norquist points out, has steadfastly fought to keep taxes high on others.
But I think Daschle should be confirmed. It is appropriate that Daschle – one of Washington’s top influence peddlers – should be saved precisely because he has influence. Then he, along with Mr. Geithner, can serve as a constant reminder to the American people of what this administration’s policies are really all about – rewarding Democrats and Democratic constituencies with other people’s money – and as a constant reminder that in this adminstration, one built on the notion of a massive expansion of government power, having influence with government is what it is all about.
Play by the rules? In the burgeoning world of big government, rules are for suckers. And Tom Daschle is no sucker. Stimulating, isn’t it?