Judd Gregg Made the Right Choice

Updated with a graphic supplied by Josh_Painter

In the statement he released upon withdrawing from consideration for the position of Secretary of Commerce in President Obama’s administration (covered as the news broke by Erick), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) cited the $800 billion “stimulus” bill currently being shoved down America’s throat without review, transparency, or oversight, as well as the administration’s politicization of the census, as “irreconcilable differences” that would have made it impossible for him to support the president as a member of the Cabinet should.

Gregg, who has not officially resigned his seat in the Senate, made the right decision in ultimately rejecting the President’s offer to be a token Republican in a cabinet position that was being stripped of its highest-profile responsibility. After New Mexico governor Bill Richardson resigned under a cloud of corruption (something which, if tax nonpayment is included, has touched far too many of President Obama’s nominees to date), Gregg’s departure means President Obama is left hoping that the third time is the charm when it comes to filling the position of Secretary of Commerce.

The media and Democratic spokespersons will likely spin this withdrawal as a selfishly partisan move by Sen. Gregg, particularly in light of his honesty about his differences in ideology and policy with the President — despite the fact it is President Obama, not Gregg, who has the unblemished history of working exclusively on one side of the aisle.

In truth, this was the right final move by a Senator who should never have accepted President Obama’s offer in the first place. Now that this is behind him, perhaps Gregg will be able to once again focus all of his efforts on his Senatorial duties — including making every effort to stop the incredibly irresponsible $800 billion borrow-and-spend bill currently being considered in Congress.

However, despite Erick’s optimism (“Maybe now he’ll be pissed off enough to start punching the Democrats”), the following passage from his statement has me a bit concerned:

As we move forward, I expect there will be many issues and initiatives where I can and will work to assure the success of the President’s proposals. This will certainly be a goal of mine.

As sick as I am of Senatorial comity, I have to hope that’s just what that was — unless, even better, it’s a commitment to support President Obama if and when he ever makes a common-sense, rational, beneficial proposal (in other words, a conservative one). I don’t see the latter having a chance to happen in the first place, though.

Update: The text of Gregg’s statement is below:

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, February 12, 2009

Senator Gregg Statement on His Withdrawal for Consideration of U.S. Commerce Secretary

Sen. Gregg stated, “I want to thank the President for nominating me to serve in his Cabinet as Secretary of Commerce.  This was a great honor, and I had felt that I could bring some views and ideas that would assist him in governing during this difficult time. I especially admire his willingness to reach across the aisle.

“However, it has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me.  Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns.  We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.

“Obviously the President requires a team that is fully supportive of all his initiatives.

“I greatly admire President Obama and know our country will benefit from his leadership, but at this time I must withdraw my name from consideration for this position.

“As we move forward, I expect there will be many issues and initiatives where I can and will work to assure the success of the President’s proposals.  This will certainly be a goal of mine.

“Kathy and I also want to specifically thank Governor Lynch and Bonnie Newman for their friendship and assistance during this period.  In addition we wish to thank all the people, especially in New Hampshire, who have been so kind and generous in their supportive comments.

“As a further matter of clarification, nothing about the vetting process played any role in this decision.  I will continue to represent the people of New Hampshire in the United States Senate.”