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Cracks in the Cult of Competence?

In his campaign and during the transition Obama built a brand based in part on the people he chose for senior positions. Will recent events damage that image?

The twin decisions today by former Sen. Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer to remove their names from consideration for senior level posts in the Obama Administration represent the first significant test for a president who has enjoyed near-historic approval ratings to date.

During his primary and general election campaigns last year and in his transition to the presidency, Obama put a huge emphasis on competency -- the need to put the best people into high-level jobs regardless of past political disagreements or partisan differences.

It's why Obama's choice of Hillary Rodham Clinton for secretary of state was viewed by such a coup inside the White House and why there has been such a focus on finding Republicans -- the latest of which, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) was announced as commerce secretary this morning -- to serve in senior Cabinet roles.

Obama said it himself during an interview with Post reporters and editors days before he was sworn in as the nation's 44th president.

"I think if you look at the makeup of our Cabinet, as well as, you know key senior positions in the White House, I think they are characterized by extraordinary quality, extraordinary commitment to public service and they know how government works," said Obama of his picks.

It's that focus on competency -- we dubbed it the "cult of competence" in early December -- however that makes the revelations (and subsequent withdrawals) of Daschle and Killefer all the more dangerous for the president.

At the core of Obama's appeal is that the American people trust him to surround himself with smart people and to arrive at the right conclusions based on his conversations with those people. The Obama brand -- the most powerful brand in American politics -- is centered on that trust, that Obama is an outsider to the political process who is looking beyond traditional partisan interests to shake up the way things are done in Washington.

Polling affirms that appeal. The latest Gallup survey put Obama's job approval at a strong 66 percent and, on a variety of attributes, there was widespread satisfaction with how the president has handled himself. For example, more than three quarters (76 percent) of Americans expressed approval for Obama's "tightening ethics rules for Administration officials."

Does the focus on Daschle (and, to a lesser extent, Killefer and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner) change the way people view Obama?

No, argued Roy Temple, a senior Democratic strategist, who said the economic woes will overwhelm any and all other issues.

"The Daschle issue matters more in Washington than it does in the country," said Temple. "Voters are far more likely to be angered by GOP games interfering with the president's economic recovery, than they are by whether one of the President's nominees had a issue and had to step aside."

Jim Jordan, who managed Sen. John Kerry's (Mass.) presidential campaign in 2004, echoed that sentiment. He acknowledged that Obama had "lost a mentor and a key administration strategist" but added that the president "is nothing if not strong and adaptable and resilient, and, however regrettable, this just isn't any kind of crippling momentum killer."

We're not so sure. In the short term, it's hard to see how Daschle's failure to pay back taxes will distract the American public from the daily drumbeat of bad economic news.

But -- and this is a big but -- when looking longer term it's not so difficult to see how this could be seen as a crack in the Obama image.

"The president and his appointees need to lead by example," said Chris LaCivita, a veteran Republican operative. "Having your top appointees not paying their taxes is not the type of leadership or change any American can believe in."

So much of Obama's appeal is tied into the idea that he has the judgment needed to navigate an incredibly complex domestic and international situation. If public confidence in Obama withers, his clear mandate from the 2008 election will fade as well.

Today is not a sign that the erosion has begun but it does suggest the perils ever-present in the presidency.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 3, 2009; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  The Cabinet , White House  
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This is the problem with American politics. The Republican Party is out for blood, and takes no prisoners. The Democrats live in a fantasy land, pretending that everyone is filled with a selfless zeal for public service.

"For the past thirty-odd years, American politics has been the equivalent of watching Dick Cavett locked in a cage with a rabid wolverine. Dick thinks he's going to have tea and a delightful conversation, while the wolverine's sole goal is to tear out Dick's throat."

What fool believes this?

Are the transgressions of Daschle and Geithner acceptable because they felt bad for the poor as they cheated the US treasury?

Good intentions and lofty rhetoric are wonderfull but they are always overrode by actions. What these people do trumps what the say.

Posted by: saw1 | February 8, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Cult of Competence? Where? Hillary Clinton?, the great lying statesman who is a psychotic drama queen with zero experience other than meeting a few leaders? and of course dodging gunfire in Bonia. That's the best Obama can do? Come on he was politically extorted to give her that positon. She has no experience and no demonstrative ability whatsoever in that field. There were several former foreign policy politicians far more capable and experienced for the job.

So far this administration is a clown act run by a guy who thinks the only thing that matters is name recognotion and doesn't have a clue as to waht competence is. He's never seen it or been around. except for the couppt criminals that hang out in IChicago. , the home of the gteat Blago baby governor.

What disaster in waiting.

I guess the Wapo is just another withering corrupt newspaper desperate to keep ots fanbase.

Very sad. The WaPo has basically turned into one of those Hollywood star worshipping rags at the grocery store checkout counter. Competing with the National Enquirer for readers? It outscooped you several times recently.

Die wityh Dignity. Stop being a scandal sheet rag.

Posted by: KRittenmyer | February 5, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the most competent people are those well outside of the political arena - less biased, apolitical and free thinkers!!

Why do we always go back to dyed in the wool traditionalists with seedy-greedy partisan backgrounds and PAC ties?? Am I crazy?

Posted by: newbeeboy | February 4, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Chris said: "Today is not a sign that the erosion has begun but it does suggest the perils ever-present in the presidency."

And you figure this how? What's astonishing to dispassionate observers is how shamelessly (& condescendingly) the press gives this man patronizing unlimited passes no other politician gets.

Mere months ago the meme immediately parroted en masse by the establishment press & lefty bloggers was that McCain's failure to fully vet Palin in a two-week time frame reflected poorly on his judgement & therefore raised legitimate questions about his competency for office.

Here we have failure to vet after failure to vet over a two-MONTH+ time frame in addition to the failure to heed properly performed vetting many times over & there's not a single tsk-tsk from the sycophantic press corps how this reflects poorly on Obama's judgement.

Obama KNEW about all the tax cheating & sleazy self-dealing by Daschle & Geithner, not to mention everybody else in his Rogue's Gallery of a cabinet, yet he made the executive decision to nominate these two-bit crooks for his "most ethical administration in history" anyway and is mysteriously given a pass by his fawning acolytes in the media for it.

Question for you Chris: Obama's very raison d'etre as a candidate was his stated desire to remake the government so "intelligence failures which led to Iraq will never be allowed to happen again". What are all these appointment debacles if not massive "intelligence failures" themselves? The dude can't seem to even get a decent bead on his friends & allies right under his arrogantly sanctimonious nose, & yet he's somehow going to rehabilitate & strengthen the efficacy of US intelligence among our enemies in farflung hellholes around the world?

Puhleeze. Call us when you stop believing in the tooth fairy, Obots.

Posted by: leilani_texas | February 4, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The crack is about to split wide open. President Obama has made a major mistake and put America's families at risk by selecting David Ogden to become Deputy Attorney General.

David Ogden is a hired gun from Playboy and the ACLU. Ogden's record is nothing short of obscene. He has represented Playboy Enterprises in multiple cases, Penthouse Magazine, the ACLU, and the LARGEST DISTRIBUTOR OF HARD-CORE PORNOGRAPHY VIDEOS.

He has opposed filters on library computers protecting children from Internet smut, and successfully defended the right of pornographers to produce material with underage children.

David Ogden has collected checks from Playboy and Penthouse to fight any attempts to establish filters on federally-funded public libraries. Ogden even sued the federal government in an attempt to publish Braille versions of Playboy magazine -- at taxpayer expense.

As a lawyer in private practice, Ogden has argued for an unlimited abortion license and has urged courts to treat traditional definitions of marriage as a social prejudice.

President Obama, shame on you. Shame on any Senator who votes for his child pornography supporting nominee for deputy attorney general.

Posted by: BothSides | February 4, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

DrainYou –

I hope there are funds for anger management in the “stimulus”. Speaking of Katrina, what do you tink about BHO’s response to the storms and KY and elsewhere.

Posted by: leapin | February 4, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

....."I’ve got to own up to my mistake. Ultimately, it's important for this administration to send a message that there aren't two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes,".....

Wow, so refreshing to have an "incompetent" in the White House, not like Bush who was right about everything all the time. NOT!

Keep it up pugs. Billions for banks and Wall street with no oversight...OK.... Billions for infrastructure and education...lets drag our feet some more.....

and the band played on.

Posted by: StoptheSpin | February 4, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"But -- and this is a big but -- when looking longer term it's not so difficult to see how this could be seen as a crack in the Obama image."

What exactly does this mean? It's a "nothing statement" -- it's so convoluted that it means mothing.

Come on, Chris. You can do better than this.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | February 4, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

what all this really says is Daschle had a tax problem. Likely he hid this from the vetting people.

Then the media gets in. There are so many new outlets all competing for viewership. How do I get my mug on tv. I'll make my story have an edge to it. I'll make you think there is intrigue in everything that happens. I will make you fearful, so I can further influence you. This will make my story have greater appeal to the editor so I get more headlines/camera time.

Strip away all the baloney and this Daschle story comes down to Daschle not properly reporting income and getting caught.

This is the story. If not for some media types trying to posit themselves as the voice of truth the same result would happen. Daschle is tainted and cannot serve. But that makes the story too short and I don't get as much camera time/headline space. We have all witnessed this on Fox, CNN, MSNBC you pick your favorite. Don't get caught up in what they are telling you, instead analyze the reporter. It is really all about them.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | February 4, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

As an activist Dem I was not an early admirer of Sen Obama's candidacy. And I would not enjoy the company of Sen Daschle or his K Street wife.

These ethics matters will only matter--if the new Admin.--like its corrupt predecessor--continues the policy of bottomless taxpayer bailout of big-name financial institutions married to the lunatic 'derivatives market.'

Those Quadrillions of $$ of 'toxic,' i.e. imaginary "assets" that money center banks want to unload--can never be bailed out in any case, by any government committed to democratic norms.

I trust that Pres. Obama and a majority of his economic advisors are committed to democratic norms--not Wall Street profit margins.

Posted by: bjerryberg | February 4, 2009 3:26 AM | Report abuse

My, my, a little less competence than we expected?

So the measure of competence is when you run up $5 TRILLION in deficits in 8 years, about $17,000 for every man, woman and child; have the DIA hide Habbush and Michael Shipster facts to falsify an NIE that justifies invading a country, burn through $12 billion a month for 5 years and send 4,000 brave Americans to their deaths, destroy 12 million US jobs while shifting $4 trillion in value to the top 1000 households in the country?

I didn't even get to loss of habeas corpus, illegal eavesdropping, torture, destroying salmon habitat for political game, election fraud, firing US attorneys for political gain and an inability to tell the truth about what OUR GOVERNMENT is doing in our name.

Just checking. I think we have a long, long way to go.

Posted by: boscobobb | February 4, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

--"The fun is just beginning with Obambi. The corruption of Daschle, Geithner, Richardson, et. al is just a political show. Just wait until Iran tests him, Mexico implodes or some real crisis occurs...

Posted by: pgr88 | February 3, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse "--

I suppose men of good conscience may disagree, but I don't think I'm alone in thinking we're up to our *ss in a 'real crisis' right now.

Posted by: DonJasper | February 4, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: DrainYou | February 4, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats are SO wrong. Tax issues are exactly what Americans care about. Every regular person knows what would happen if they didn't pay over $140,000 due the government. Most of us don't make that much in a year...or two.

Posted by: susied1 | February 4, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

The word is "competence".

Everyone said how smart this guy is and how smart his pals are.

Richardson - federal investigation - corruption.
Geithner - major tax problem
Daschle - major major tax problem
Killefer - tax problems

If Obama and crew are so competent then how did they miss all this.

As Pres Obama just said "I ain't a dumb guy I just done a dumb thing".


Posted by: krankyman | February 4, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

It's been a long time since I've heard these words from any politican, much less from a President:

"I'm here on television saying I screwed up, and that's part of the era of responsibility. It's not never making mistakes; it's owning up to them and trying to make sure you never repeat them and that's what we intend to do" - Prez Obama

When the nation watched horrified while the Department of Homeland Security fumbled painfully in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Michael Chertoff blamed it on phantom headlines, George Bush assured Brownie he was 'doing a heckuva job,' and right-wing pundits eagerly acquitted the Whitehouse by trying to lay the whole mess at the feet of the victims and any democrat within 1000 miles. When George Bush and his merry band of neoclowns stampeded a panicked nation into an ill-conceived war against Iraq and rolled snake-eyes on catching bin Laden it was all because of 'bad intel' and blown all out of proportion by biased, 'liberal reporters' feeding the progressive pathology of 'Bush Derangement Syndrome.'

On and on it went like a runaway freight train. The economic meltdown was brought on by the unbridled greed of middle class wage earners; politicization of the Justice Department was an artifact of an overzealous congressional witch hunt; Sarah Palin was a superbly qualified candidate unfairly slimed by savage bloggers. If excuses were arseholes, the conservative beast would be studded with ugly sphincters oozing an endless stream of foul crap from head to toe.

I'd prefer a President who is flawless. But after eight years of conservative 'blame gaming,' endless Republican evasion and stone walling, and crazed wingnut finger pointing, I'd have settle for one that can construct coherent sentences and tell the truth at the same time. I'll happily support a President with enough basic respect for We the People to look us in the eye and own up. We'd almost forgotten what honesty looks like. It looks like change.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 3, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

B2O2 - "...put together a cabinet..." What do you mean? AThis crew are noting more than a doomed assembly of free trade, outsourcing, Wall Street and big corporate connected, self serving SWINE. We are ill served by these failures. Obama needs to get back to his roots, keep his campaign promises to us. We want this free trade nonsense ended. This country cannot afford to allow companies to out source jobs and displace U.S. workers with guest workers. Did you know that the banks that received all of that bailout money got special permission to hire 37,000 H1-B workers? Computer programmers and database managers. Why on earth are they allowed to do this when millions of American computer programmers and database experts are unemployed? Worse, the Commerce Dept. has a 3/31 deadline for 165,000 MORE H1-B visas!!! I simply cannot fathom why a President would even consider allowing that to go through. Gather a 20 or so unemployed engineers, programmers, and database administrators together and hold a press conference where, by executive order, you announce an end to the H1-B visa, the L-1 visa and every other guest worker visa. Announce that you are proactively ending all H1-B visas in 60 days. Announce, at the same time, proposed legislation to add punitive taxes and tariffs on U.S. companies and U.S. based multinationals that outsource any job. Force these economic traitors to share the pain.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 3, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

How on Earth would anyone have thought he was "competent" to begin with? That's an awfully large presupposition.

His one true accomplishment has been getting elected President -- no small feat to be sure, but even that 'accomplishment' is diminished by the fact that 90% of his supporters voted for him ONLY because he is .5 Kenyan. He's a community organizer for ACORN for God's sake. That's it, nothing more on the resume.

The only thing we now know for sure is that everyone he thinks highly of is either a tax cheat, an influence peddler, a terrorist, or a black power black liberation fundamentalist.

Posted by: PattiORiley | February 3, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Total wasted vote, or shouldn't have even voted...Within three days, he re-instated the fascist CIA rendition program..All pullouts from Iraq and Afghanistan look to be just lip-service to sucker the American people..Retains Gates and chooses old Clintonites for office..His Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel is AIPAC, IDF, probably still an Israeli citizen (like Chertoff), and his father was founding Mossad (like Chertoff's mom)..Rahm cracks his knuckles in Obama's ear aggressively to show who's REALLY in charge, and Obama cowers..Obama is just a puppet for the Warmachine banks, facilitating the Rape and Demise of America,

Posted by: frak | February 3, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse


Chris: Please read the transcript of Rachel Maddow's remarks last night about the Daschle contretemps.

In a phrase: Much ado about... not much. It's the molehill mountain of the day, that's all.

Now... when will one of of the brave crusaders for truth and justice among the WHPC ask Gibbs what Obama plans to do about pervasive surveillance of the public -- and virtually ALL journalists -- that appears to be the "baseline" program for THIS:

OR (if link is corrupted):

Posted by: scrivener50 | February 3, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

The time to have really scrutinized the difference between the Messiah's words and his actions was BEFORE the election, Chris. Now you're trying to appear unbiased by throwing nerf ball critiques like this one.

Forget it Chris. You can't undo months of articles that read like they were written by a gushing teenage girl writing about her pop rock hero.

Posted by: grohlik | February 3, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you should read more. Obama's Gallup approval rating is 63% not 66% and that is down 19 points in two weeks. His cabinet selections that you and Andrea Mitchell swoon over has turned out to be a complete train wreck. We have a tax cheat as head of the IRS for cripes sake.

Posted by: robtr | February 3, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

WRONG: Gallup indicated that on Jan 26 Obama had a job approval rating of 67%. On Feb 3 (that would be today) his approval rating is 66%. Essentially no change and about 40 percent higher than Bush's approval ratinbg. Check if you want accurate information. You must be listening to Rush Limbaugh for your information.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | February 3, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Okay kids, kids, Chris too... when you put together a cabinet faster than anyone in modern times, you have to expect a few speed bumps. If you want lightning-fast and perfect aim every time, go rent a Bruce Lee movie. The rest of us, here in the real world, are cutting Obama some slack. He's still got a great team, and faster than anyone in recent memory. Things are on a decent track.

Posted by: B2O2 | February 3, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I take issue with what "matters." What "matters" to me, for me, is that we place ethical and competent people in positions of public trust. Daschle failed utterly in that regard. Shame on you, O.

When the rhetoric hits the the rubber of the road something will give . . . usually. Here, Obama learned a lesson, but we are still scratching our heads with Timmy.

Posted by: tmmort1 | February 3, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

What does Obama think he is doing? Trying to appoint the best qualified people to do the people's work. My goodness! Why doesn't he follow the example of Bush and select political hacks and yes men to run these departments? And hacks like you Chris try to tear down this good man who the American people selected to lead us for the next four years. Anyone who has ever been involved in selecting people for key jobs understands that it is really hard to find a perfect person.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | February 3, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

"The Daschle issue matters more in Washington than it does in the country," said Temple.

Where does that opinion come from?? I'm not in Washington and it matters to me - a lot.

Ultimately, we need people we can trust in making decisions. Daschle's issues are examples of incompetence or dishonesty. Neither are helpful in establishing trust.

Obama admits he made a mistake. To stand by Daschle because the man is so important to an important job that he can overlook that man's gross error (intentional or not) in a time when fiscal responsibility is so important to the country is a slap in the face and mind boggling.

John Q. Public can not be less important than Mr. Daschle. The public can not be less important than one powerful person. Thankfully, Mr. Obama finally understood that. Perhaps a bit late, as his tax plagued candidate got in to lead the IRS, but he understands the mixed messages.

Posted by: AnAmerican2 | February 3, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

The fun is just beginning with Obambi. The corruption of Daschle, Geithner, Richardson, et. al is just a political show. Just wait until Iran tests him, Mexico implodes or some real crisis occurs...

Posted by: pgr88 | February 3, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you should read more. Obama's Gallup approval rating is 63% not 66% and that is down 19 points in two weeks. His cabinet selections that you and Andrea Mitchell swoon over has turned out to be a complete train wreck. We have a tax cheat as head of the IRS for cripes sake.

Posted by: robtr | February 3, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Look: we elected a human being, not a deity.

Oh no, you elected a "messiah" remember???

Posted by: blevins20061 | February 3, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Tonight I watched the President of the United States look America in the eye and say "I screwed up". He took responsibility for the decision rather than blaming someone else or the toxic atmosphere in Washington. How refreshing! In 8 years, George Bush never took responsibility for anything despite some of the most monumental mistakes in our nation's history. Obama is a true leader and he displayed it in this situation. My respect for him increased by how he handled this situation.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | February 3, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Question for the Washington Post:

Why does Chris Cillizza's blog drivel get such a prominent position on the front page of your website? What has happened to the Post?

Posted by: mpl2 | February 3, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

As usual Chris, you don't get it. People love this president and they hate the previous one who was corrupt and incompetent. A couple of misfires on nominations won't change that no matter how much the conservative media bleets about it. So stop bleeting and do your job.

Posted by: havok26 | February 3, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Obama seemed tired sitting in front of those kids. You could see him contemplate himself being in over his head. Never having managed anything or anybody, he seems remote and hopeless, and recognizes the disarray descending upon him.

Four more years.

Posted by: georgejones5 | February 3, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

jimz1-It's not a neat and tidy system, but at least it appears to be working now that Bush is gone.
Oh really- based on what?

Posted by: 12oreo | February 3, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

The older I get, the gladder I am that I've comprehended WHY this song was written.. It's all the warning we'll ever need.

If Hillary had only fought back with this as her theme song:

There's nothing in the street
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are out-phased, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Is now parting on the right
And their beards have all grown longer overnight

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday

Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again.............

........Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss.
(Only trendier)

You elected a politician.
His goal was to get the job.
Not to get the job done.

Life is hard, and then you vote.


Posted by: gala1 | February 3, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

to people waiting for help in vain atop Lower Ninth Ward rooftoops

The same ones that were TOLD, WARNED, and ordered to GET OUT?? Those people?

Posted by: blevins20061 | February 3, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Look: we elected a human being, not a deity.

Oh NO! we elected a "messiah"...remember?

Posted by: blevins20061 | February 3, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

So Chris, are you intending to ask about "cracks in the cult of competence" every time something Obama has done goes wrong? Because it ain't an easy job and a lot will go wrong over any presidency. You just sound like you've been waiting for a chance to ask this question. Why isn't there a cult of competence for the press so we could point out an occasional misstep? Instead you guys are more like G.W. Bush's presidency - cult of incompetency.

Posted by: bgormley1 | February 3, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

"But -- and this is a big but -- when looking longer term it's not so difficult to see how this could be seen as a crack in the Obama image.

"The president and his appointees need to lead by example," said Chris LaCivita, a veteran Republican operative. "Having your top appointees not paying their taxes is not the type of leadership or change any American can believe in." "

This is so stupid! He .... DID NOT GET IN! The non payer of taxes is NOT - n.o.t - part of the Obama administration.

This is good.

This says we want our people to PAY taxes.

Posted by: sugarstreet | February 3, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

It's not a neat and tidy system, but at least it appears to be working now that Bush is gone.

Posted by: JimZ1 | February 3, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Two claps for hackery. Look, I think that everyone should pay their taxes, and no one should be held to a different standard, but let's please get real. These "regular" Americans that people keep talking about have trouble with their taxes too, which is one of the main reasons that people loathe the IRS--the regulations are too complicated for most to understand and even if you hire an accountant, they can still overlook mistakes. This is a fact.

That being said, I think that Geithner and Dashle made stupid mistakes--but can people cut it out with the hyperbole.

Posted by: inspired3 | February 3, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Still waiting for Obama to do something? Oh yeah. That's right. He's been in office a whole two weeks? Whewwwww! What a slacker!

Posted by: peanutgallery1 | February 3, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

The gradual erosion of the carefully crafted brand of The ONE is taking place. His logo, his lofty empty mantra, the flashy smile and head fake, the Office of the President Elect, his Euro tour, prepubescent media infatuation, his Hollywood star, Change, Hope, blah blah blah is all now a thing of the past.

His marketing created facade and packaging is becoming ineffective. A brand is a tough thing to maintain when the contents in the box are spoiled.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 3, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Cracks in his competency? Oh for Pete's sake! Slow day in the news room?

Posted by: peanutgallery1 | February 3, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what the fuss is about. So far as I can tell, this President has handled this by putting his cards on the table, in sharp contrast to the mumblings about "Executive Privilege" which typified his predecessor.

He makes occasional mistakes? He's not perfect? Look: we elected a human being, not a deity. At least he's trying to preserve the Constitution, in contrast to his predecessor who established the Concentration Camp at Guantanamo to put it OUT OF REACH of American law! Do youi want that back?

Posted by: avi31547 | February 3, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Cracks in his competency? Oh for Pete's sake! High drama!!!!!

Posted by: peanutgallery1 | February 3, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm still waiting for Obama to actually DO something.

Sure, he's given a lot of smart buddies jobs in Washington. But so far, all he's done is pluck low hanging fruit. Executive Order to close Gitmo "someday?" Check. U.S. $$ for foreignor's abortions? Check. "Tough" Anti-Lobbyist rules, with holes large enough to drive a truck through? Check. Three or more waivers already issued? Check.

Gaffer in Chief's support of "Buy American" provision in porkulus bill? Check. But WAIT! Canada, EU, rest of world COMPLAIN. Obama: "Sound Retreat! Circle the wagons, women and free traders in the middle!"

I don't think his model will work. That is the chin stroking, hear every side from all the bright people university professor model. He knows he is WAY over his head. But intuition won't help him pick the best course from the brain trust.

I forsee a chaotic White House, with everyone rushing to get through the door to the Oval office. Gibbs, charming on the campaign plane, is coming off as an amateur who is not well informed. It won't be long before the press turns hostile, the leaking starts, and the old Washington game is back in town!

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | February 3, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

monitor1, when people didn't pay their taxes in the past, and are caught out now, that means the culture of corruption was in the past. How can one have a culture of corruption in 15 days, please don't be ridiculous.

Posted by: realadult | February 3, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Jim Jordan and Roy Temple are WAY out of touch with at least some of the people who voted for Obama. Or, is it they're so smart and everybody else is so dumb? Geithner and Daschle; this ain't good. They BOTH need to go. Then, to allow the House Democrats to put the kitchen sink in what should be the cleanest bill to ever come out of the Congress seems to indicate there is still no adult supervision. To give the Republicans just what they were looking for from the Democrats...I hope there are some radical changes in the Senate version of the stimulus or this is going straight to hell.

Posted by: edismae | February 3, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Aw geez! the liberals are going to eat themselves again. Just like with Carter. They're going to flagellate themselves over minor issues. With their over-weening conscious and their need for moral purity, they're going to surrender themselves to the sociopaths of the GOP and the hateful ignorance of the american people.

Stand up. Be proud. You never tortured anyone. You never waged a senseless war of aggression based on lies. Put things in perspective. So a couple cabinet picks have tax issues. Big friggin whoop! Stick to your guns and carry on.

Posted by: kurthunt | February 3, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

the nominations are forgivable. the stimulus bill is not. crack the whip on congress because you're about to lose a lot of the middling folks who got you there.

Posted by: Waffle1 | February 3, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

This is getting old. Why does Obama only come forwards and "take responsibility" every time after it is already over? This happened with Rev. Wright, happened with Illinois governor scandal and now this one. If Obama really is sincere instead of just uttering some empty words, he should follow up on his statement that "there is only one set of rule for paying tax" and fire Geithner. Otherwise this is just another politician PR damage control.

Posted by: wangAustin | February 3, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

It seems that Dems, like Republicans, also dislike paying taxes. Except they take the evasion route! Dems have their tax and undocumented domestic worker scandals like Republicans have their hidden gay sexual proclivities scandals.

Posted by: AsperGirl | February 3, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Obama TOLD you from Day One that all he was going to tell you was what you wanted to hear.

That was how and why he got elected.

You were the ones who insisted that this was all down to some sort of race issue, competence was merely a far second irrelevancy and that a tres cool trendy junior senator with only a couple of months in Congress was preferable to candidates who had a lot more savvy and experience.

You also deliberately ignored the evidence that Obama is sulkily absolutely not a team player and far more prone to thinking its all about Obama as a first priority no matter what is at stake as a second.

So much for change. So much for hope.
You just discovered Obama is a politician. Life is hard, and then you vote.

And now you are surprised ...........


Posted by: gala1 | February 3, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Time to check the tax status of all the superrich elitists on the staff who ever had a nanny. Maybe they'll learn one day that it matters to the rest of the country?

Posted by: kravitzkravitz | February 3, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Week 3 and counting

Shameful, Arrogant, Greedy

Killefer - Resigns efficiency czar post for not paying taxes
Brother George Obama - Drug arrest
Dashle - overlooks $100,000 tax liability
Rangel - writes tax laws but doesn't pay taxes
Blago - senator for sale
Dodd - writes mortgage law gets sweetheart rates
Richardson - Pay to Play New Mexico
Hillary - live off $250 million of potentates wealth
Emmanuel - Chicago machinist
Barama - Free House from Rezko
Franks - oversees fannie may while living with its CEO
Michelle - $300,000 puff PR job with Blago Hospital District
Geithner - Head of IRS failed to pay taxes for four years
Caroline - illegal housekeeper, payroll taxes unpaid
Holder - pliant enabler of Pardons

Posted by: georgejones5 | February 3, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

That White House spokesman, Gibbs, really comes across as a dufus. I am sure he is not, but that is the perception. He should take on some background position, where he is not in front of the public.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | February 3, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

What happened to "ready on Day One"?!

It's like we don't even have a President. The Democrats central issue still seems to be...dissing Republicans!

This is why many in the press have started calling BHO the "Vapor President" !!

Posted by: jabailo | February 3, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

America is listening to the President (Obama) take reponsibility for a choice he made. How refreshing to have an honorable man leading our Country...Unlike the last two dodge artists...

A lot of people were (rightly) upset abotu Daschle, but I love that my President is man enough to come before us and say "yeah, I really screwed that one up" instead of ignoring the problem or acting like he's infallible. It's like the Rezko situation when he came out and said "yeah that was a boneheaded thing to do."

Prez Obama's taking responsibility, and I bet he won't make the same mistake again. Frankly, I find it refreshing, and it's easier to "forgive" when he just comes right out and admits he made a mistake and apologizes. He has a pattern of not hiding away when the going gets tough, remember the Rev. Wright stuff? He went on every network (even crazy Seany Hannity) and sat through interviews about it when it shouldn't have even been an issue.

I think we need a little time to adjust to having adults in charge again.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 3, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse


Is the trillion dollar stimulus Bill Job Creation program a reflection of competence or an absolute hoax? Is one side - the majority - of the Senate playing the same old politics again with our money and obscuring the facts?

After reading the below you will be PO'd about the job creation aspects of the stimulus package. Write your Senator and ask that they help change the plan making employment available to Americans only. Why are we spending half a trillion to create 2.5 million jobs when we could have 1.5 million jobs for nothing?

Why don't the majority in COngess - the Dems - end guestworkler programs? Becasue Bill Gates won't pay them anymore and the guest workers won't vote for them?

The current guest worker programs could furnish Americans with 1.5 million jobs a year yet the Democrats refuse to restrict those PC BS programs for sake of Americans.

Is this change you can belive in when the Dems sacrifice Americans for PC BS and future votes? It's politics as usual and "Saving American jobs" is just Democrat BS talking points.

Read the following from Roy Beck. It'll raise your blood pressure.

"So far you haven't seen the stats in the mainstream media. You haven't
heard national politicians talking about them. But now an extensive
nationwide educational campaign on cable TV will expose Americans to two
outrageous government statistics

And the 2 banned statistics are . . . .

2.5 million Americans lost jobs in 2008.

The federal government brought in 1.5 million new foreign workers to
take jobs in 2008.

On February 2, 2009, NumbersUSA with the Coalition for the Future
American Worker launched the "elevator ad."

Please watch it and take the suggested actions.

Without your actions, I have no doubt that the federal government will
continue its shameful conduct of running an immigration system that
throws hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work.

NumbersUSA has been doing everything in its power the last three months
to persuade the nation's political leaders and media leaders to address
this incongruous policy.

of newspaper interviews, always emphasizing the fact that our system is
set up to bring in an average of 138,000 new foreign workers each month
unless Congress and Pres. Obama make a change.

To date, I am not aware of a single newspaper that has dared to put that
statistic in a story.

In fact, NumbersUSA members have sent us examples of where they have
submitted letters to the editor using the number. But the newspaper
will change 138,000 to "thousands" before printing.

Friends, "138,000 a month" is an inconvenient truth that apparently is
too incendiary to be allowed for public viewing. Neither will the
mainstream media or national politicians utter the aggregate
(rounded-down) number of "1.5 million foreign workers brought in every

Posted by: Patriot12 | February 3, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

If Obie is an "ethical" President then why doesn't "Dash With the Cash", get indicted for tax evasion, just like any ordinary taxpayer... No doubt the IRS will take my explanation of its a simple mistake for a few 100 thousand ....

Posted by: steve4 | February 3, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Obama had better return to keeping his campaign promises or he and this country are in REAl trouble. He promised to at least end the worst excesses of free trade - job outsourcing and the H1-B visa. Instead of keeping that promise, he has staffed his cabinet with some of the very people who sponsored this mess. Instead of cozying up to a bunch of CEO's, he should surround himself with unemployed computer programmers and engineers and announce that he is freezing all H1-B visas and proposing legislation to end all of those issued within 90 days. Instead of screwing around with bankers and Wall Street traitors, he needs to propose taxes and fees on outsourced goods and services that will genuinely punish the companies doing this, make it so painful that they will move those jobs back here.

Without these steps, I fear that he and the Democratic Party will go the way of Bush and the GOP... but in a fraction of the time. The great unwashed public is getting furious right now and this country will become all but ungovernable in the near future. A stimulus package to create the infrastructure for the future is great, but we need protectionist legislation right now!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 3, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

"Barack Obama promises to hold appointees to higher standards.

Barack Obama DOES hold appointees to higher standards, and as a consequence two high-profile nominees withdraw their candidacies.

And this is supposed to HURT his presidency?

First its 3 tax cheats
lol, he didn't pull the nominations..
Geitner was approved because obama believes that a tax cheat, one of the creators of TARP, and a liar is above the standards applied to you and I.

Daschle's nomination wasn't pulled by Obama.. Daschle could NOT get the votes to be confirmed.

ANd the female candidate?
SHe was dropped faster than the males- why?

Posted by: newagent99 | February 3, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

NEw EQ poll:If you voted for Obama,are you happy with his early performance?


262 (87%)


26 (8%)

Too Early to tell!

12 (4%)


Posted by: epsotto | February 3, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

The tax evasion scandals that are ensnaring high level Democratic nominees to the Obama administration are starting to have a familiar ring to them. Culture of corruption anyone?

Posted by: monitor1 | February 3, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Either Obama knew about Daschle's tax problems and decided to nominate him anyway (risky and disturbing), or Obama's vetting staff only uncovered these problems after the nomination (inept).

Neither of these situations make the administration look very "competent". I'm an Obama supporter, but he really screwed the pooch on this one.

Posted by: smc91 | February 3, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight:

Barack Obama promises to hold appointees to higher standards.

Barack Obama DOES hold appointees to higher standards, and as a consequence two high-profile nominees withdraw their candidacies.

And this is supposed to HURT his presidency?

Why? He promised principles and transparency, and on this at least he seems to be delivering, if not perfection than at least far better than his predecessors. I have to wonder how many appointees of George W. Bush ever had to face such scrutiny.

Posted by: Anglia123 | February 3, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Is the drooling, fawning media now turning their backs on their Annointed One, the Lord Obama? Surely not!

Posted by: Phil6 | February 3, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

No big deal.... This happens with virtually every change of administration; all have had their share of cabinet candidates that went sour because of one or another failure in vetting the individual. After the inordinate euphoria of the "hope and change" campaign days, perhaps some of these simply human mistakes will finally clue people into the fact that this guy is, in the end game, just another politician... and an inexperienced one at that.

Posted by: EddietheInfidel | February 3, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

These tax problems are obviously an embarrassment for Obama, but it was refreshing to hear him admit that he made a mistake. When was the last time that we heard that from our President?

Posted by: jimestw | February 3, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

From AP --

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama on Tuesday abandoned his nomination fight for Tom Daschle and a second high-profile appointee who failed to pay all their taxes, fearing ugly confirmation battles that would undercut his claims to ethical high ground and cripple his presidency in just its second week. "I screwed up," Obama declared.

"It's important for this administration to send a message that there aren't two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes," Obama said in one of a series of interviews with TV anchors.

"I'm frustrated with myself, with our team. ... I'm here on television saying I screwed up," Obama said on NBC's "Nightly News with Brian Williams." He repeated virtually the same words in several other interviews.

Posted by: svreader | February 3, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Stop writing completely rubbish, just b/c you don't know what else to write about.

Posted by: watersandwind | February 3, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by a Hillarian: "Now, he is back to where he started, thinking President Obama is a Chicago pol, just like Blago. Oh, and we both care TREMENDOUSLY about the tax issues. We do not feel that there should be one set of rules for people in the Obama Administration, while another set of rules applies to everyone else. Unfortunately for us all, this is politics as usual."

These are the personal problems of Obama appointees that, though known to them, were not disclosed to Obama during the vetting. BHO can hardly be blamed for their problems.

No good faith BHO supporter faults O for what Daschle or the others did. It's legitimate to get mad at Daschle or Killefer but not to get angry at BHO. It is false reporting to say these are important issues; they aren't--appointees withdraw their names for personal reasons ALL THE TIME. This is DC insider stuff and no one really cares. Ask your cousin in Missoula if she even knows who Daschle is or how to spell Daschle. And what the heck is a Nancy Killefer?

Come on, this is not news by any standard. And it clearly does not reflect on Obama one way or the other.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 3, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Obama told NBC “I’ve got to own up to my mistake. Ultimately, it’s important for this administration to send a message that there aren’t two sets of rules, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes.”

Fine. Tell Geithner to pack his bags.

Posted by: NEWSOUTH1 | February 3, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

The twin decisions today are a direct result of the high standards set by the President.

Posted by: FromtheRaft | February 3, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Thank God for the Democrats. It has taken them two weeks, but they now have the entire news media agreeing with Joe Biden that despite what their opponents said in the campaign, yes it IS patriotic to pay your due taxes!

Posted by: WorriedRetiree | February 3, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

No, this is not a poor reflection on Obama. He is not the individual who did not pay taxes. Whether Daschle and the others failed to pay on purpose is their own problem. Obama's tax paying is not being questioned.

And, yes, Obama is still about change. He has already admitted that he regrets these missteps (Bush would never have admitted there were any missteps), he has urged the questionable candidates to withdraw their names (you don't really think they decided on their own, do you?). Anybody remember how Bush and Cheney addressed questions about their own administration's problems? They either denied there was ever a problem, covered it up, or said "So what!!" Now, that's a change I can support. I still believe Obama has the character, the intellect, and the drive to move this country in a new and better direction.

Posted by: MMB42 | February 3, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

As I read through these comments, I only want to respond to the ones that say Americans do not care about the tax problems of Daschle, Geitner, et al. These people could not be more wrong. We do indeed care. My boss is a staunch Republican who has been against President Obama throughout the primary and general elections. We talk politics all the time. I am an Independent, just do you know. Even my boss was impressed for the first week or so of the new administration. Now, he is back to where he started, thinking President Obama is a Chicago pol, just like Blago. Oh, and we both care TREMENDOUSLY about the tax issues. We do not feel that there should be one set of rules for people in the Obama Administration, while another set of rules applies to everyone else. Unfortunately for us all, this is politics as usual. I, for one, simply cannot stomach people in high profile positions in government skirting the tax man, while I worry endlessly about every single thing on my tax returns. That is my two cents, and that is probably about what it is worth.

Posted by: HillaryClintonSuppoter | February 3, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

The events of this week present a remarkable opportunity for the President Obama to appoint someone who has clinical, executive, legislative, political and consensus building experience and talent to transform health care in this country in a bipartisan, sustainable way.John Kitzhaber has been living and breathing the health reform almost three decades. There is no one in the country that has a more thoughtful and more experienced approach to pragmatic health care reform and expanded coverage than Kitz. At a time when everyone is concerned about conflicts of interest, it’s especially noteworthy that John has spent the last decade at grass roots organization rather than cashing in on his political success in state legislature leadership and as Governor of Oregon.

Posted by: jdwhite | February 3, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

"Does the focus on Daschle (and, to a lesser extent, Killefer and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner) change the way people view Obama? No, argued Roy Temple"


Roy, I can assure you, it does affect Obama out here in the public. The level of anger out here about not two but yet three elites not paying their taxes is palpable. And the perception that Obama is not been true to his word about lobbyists can and has hurt him. I for one have been fuming about his appointment of Daschle. Regardless of how "nice" Tom is he is an influence peddler. Furthermore, in my eyes it has hurt the reputations of the senators defending him, like Kerry and Schumer and Conrad. As a democrat I am now wanting to replace these old fossils because they don't get it. The world has changed, people are paying attention and we refuse to put up with anymore shenanigans.

Thank goodness Daschle left because now Obama has a second chance to show he really is about doing business different. Tom saved Obama from a public relations disaster by leaving. When you lose the confidence of the american people they don't bother to show up and vote for you again.

Posted by: sandnsmith | February 3, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

you can put lipstick on a pig.....

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | February 3, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

If this is an example of how the FBI does background check on federal appointees then it's time for Obama to demand the resignation of the director.

Posted by: jbowen431 | February 3, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

realizing that articles titles are important it is also important that the article contains defining information to remove doubts. this is an obvious fluke since obama is not guilty of tax evasion and both spouses paid their taxes, how can someone elses issues have a negative effect on obama in the eyes of the american public. those he selected have the problems and obama cannot be blamed for the personal problems of those that he thinks highly enough of to offer them a post to aid the country. the individuals know they have drama and should turn down the offers from the onset.

Posted by: thevoodoodoll | February 3, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

What we have here is: (a) a not too uncommon tough adjustment to a big new job; and (b) far too much self-confidence and not enough toughness. Time for the president to put on the armour and come out swinging.

Posted by: muleman | February 3, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Let me assure you that there are a lot of us who do not view a failure to pay taxes by Obama's appointees as an adverse reflection of Obama's competence. These failures are their own!

Posted by: Givemeabreak5 | February 3, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, so you can hack the man. And he can still dunk over you all night.


Posted by: pressF1 | February 3, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

You media types gave Bush 7 years before you even started questioning his abysmal judgement. Obama gets less than a month. Ridiculous.
Nice try at revising history, no Bush was slammed even before he took the oath of office. I remember John Stewart commenting on the gift Bush was to him after he was just voted in. Look at how Obama's face is everywhere, like he is the Messiah. Bush never got that kind of Rock Star treatment.

Posted by: cbk1 | February 3, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Paying taxes?

ANYONE who doesn't pay their taxes should be in jail.

What about all of the "BAILED-OUT" companies who had OFFSHORE HAVENS to avoid paying?




Posted by: TOMHERE | February 3, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Love the outrage of these tax cheats and how they are the President's fault. They lied to him and got caught. Do you really think they volunteered to resign? At last President Obama is upfront and taking the hard questions and saying he made a mistake. Bush still hasn't made a mistake or taken the blame for all he did.

Posted by: rlj1 | February 3, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Nothing to Worry About....Lincoln screwed up so many times finally he had to get something right. Same with the Special One. He will trot out the usual suspects and some will stick to the wall while others will go back to boot licking and lobbying ripping off the American optimistic....This is change you can believe in...ala Jimmy Carter and Bert Lance and Billy Boy.....

Posted by: markone | February 3, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Give me an F'in break with this nonsense. Cilizza is fast approaching his buddy Milbank as the biggest hack in washington.

Posted by: monk4hall | February 3, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

You media types gave Bush 7 years before you even started questioning his abysmal judgement. Obama gets less than a month. Ridiculous.

Posted by: barbnc | February 3, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, if these events begin the process of managing expectations for the man, he'll be a better president for it. Too many liberals, including the hollywood types, have thrust BO in an unwinnable position with expectations that simply could not possibly be met.

Posted by: FH123 | February 3, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

jobs plus health care plus a pension plus affordable housing

Posted by: blakesouthwood | February 3, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Thia ia comment another reader made to an article over at the NYT. Its so good that it deserves a re-post...

This is the problem with American politics. The Republican Party is out for blood, and takes no prisoners. The Democrats live in a fantasy land, pretending that everyone is filled with a selfless zeal for public service.

For the past thirty-odd years, American politics has been the equivalent of watching Dick Cavett locked in a cage with a rabid wolverine. Dick thinks he's going to have tea and a delightful conversation, while the wolverine's sole goal is to tear out Dick's throat.

And THAT'S why American politics is the bloody mess that it is today."

Ah, at least one does.
— John, Redmond, WA

Posted by: svreader | February 3, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Since 2006 when the Democrats took over congress things have been getting worse. It seems everyone (except the one Republican Greg) that is associated with Obama has terrible ethics. I hope this is not the change Obama intends to bring to America. The trillion dollar pork bill for Democrat donors will not get us out of the Democrat congress caused depression.

Posted by: cbk1 | February 3, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Are you HIGH? After what Bush and the Republicans have done to this country, you think this takes the "sheen" off of Obama?
First of all since when is someone else's tax mistake his? Secondly, he already made a point of saying "I screwed up", which he didn't have to do. Did we ever hear Bush take responsibility for anything? Nope, and you always had the parrots in the background saying all of his decisions were the right one, seems to me the media carried his buckets of water for years too! Maybe we should investigate every member of Congress and the Senate and see if their Taxes are all in order!

Posted by: sfilutze | February 3, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Daschle created NCCAM, after having found bee honey an effective cure for his allergies. NCCAM now funds studies of St. John's wort, echinacea, and milk thistle; lest you think this a joke: Good riddance to quackery's best friend.

Posted by: Martial | February 3, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for speaking for me, Roy Temple, but no, I'm more upset by the fact that several, not one, of the president's nominees have had "issues." I voted for Obama; it is not his fault that these people have failed to pay their taxes, but it does make me wonder about his ability to choose. Or maybe it just makes me wonder about the quality of people there are too choose from in the first place.

Posted by: itsme1 | February 3, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

At least Obama's corrupt appointees are competent and WITHDREW when it became obvious continuing would do more harm. Too bad the same can't be said for all the corrupt criminal morons that made up the Bush Criminal Enterprise.

Posted by: VeloStrummer | February 3, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Hurl, will they ever quit licking their newborn, Hurl...please lets read some meaningful news instead of this constant ratings hype. They are all dirty politicians

Posted by: skip1937 | February 3, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

The team assembled by BHO remains the most talented since the Administration of John F. Kennedy, maybe since FDR: Larry Summers, Ken Salazar, Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano, Linda Douglass, David Axelrod, and on and on.

Look, no one outside the Beltway cares that Daschle and some others nominated by BHO failed to fully disclose their personal problems during the vetting process. These bumps in the road are not unusual for a president putting together a management team, in fact they are common, see Zoe Baird, Kimba Wood.

The more important story today is BHO's nomination of Senator Judd Gregg for Commerce Secretary, an ultra conservative who will immunize BHO from partisan attacks from the lunatic right in the GOP (Rush, Maglagang, Hannity, etc.). Judd will be an important bridge to the GOP during BHO's fights for health care, the environment, ending the war, and the BHO jobs package. Judd's also lucky: he won 800,000 in the lottery.

The Daschle issue is just another media-created controversy ala Rev. Wright, Bill Ayres, fistbumps, and emails from unknown starlet Scarlett Johansen.

Folks in places like Akron, Norfolk, Charlotte, Omaha, Fort Collins, and Indianapolis couldn't give a hoot about Daschle's withdrawal for consideration for the Commerce job. Do you really think families in Pittsburgh or Scranton are talking about Daschle's problems over their meatloaf and mashed potatoes? Give me a break. Who cares?

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 3, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Obama's competence was always purely hype. His only executive experience was as the chief executive responsible for distributing $50 million intended to help reform education in Chicago. Obama gave that money to community organizers. It didn't help children in school, but it made Obama a lot of friends among 'organizers' who could help him campaign.

Posted by: mgsorens | February 3, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

It just hit me: I resent that people like Daschle and the corporate leeches have servants.

I'm trying to struggle through parenting, working, being a husband, and taking care of elderly parents and in-laws, and these slime balls are rich and corrupt enough to have people wait on them. And I understand that Daschle and his family jetted off on a great vacation. What is a "vacation"?

Posted by: cthehill | February 3, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Obama had better get used to the fact that Republicans are going to play hardball and do everything they can to destroy this administration. The loss of Tom Daschle is probably the end of his plan for universal health care - we may get universal health insurance Republican style. The tax issue was not the real reason Daschle is out it's one up for Republican power play. They didn't want him back after they worked so hard to get him out and they've succeeded. Obama needs to grow up fast.

Posted by: txajohnson | February 3, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Tax revelations, subsequent withdrawals could take sheen off Obama's public appeal.


COULD? How about DOES.

Posted by: bandmom22 | February 3, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

More stupid meaningless articles followed by hate filled ignorant posters most of whom reflect a right-wing hate filled uber minority of Americans who are on the verge of extinction. America does not have time for this gossip nonsense. The post has been asleep for 8 years now all of a sudden they are on the case. Unfortunately, the case involves a lot of hype, drama, and infotainment.

Posted by: Dessalines | February 3, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I had been mostly pleased with Mr. Obama's rhetoric, but his inexperience as an executive and leader are showing.

However, Barack can regain my support by showint leadership on the stimulus bill. Mr. Obama should remove all the non-stimulus spending. While they maybe wonderful liberal ideas, this country needs fiscal restraint and sacrifice.

I don't want my grandchildren burden with Trillions in debt so that I can get a $10 per week middle-class tax cut.

Posted by: jdcw | February 3, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

It’s not a hit to the "Cult of Competence" as much as to "Change We Can Believe In". So far, the President has not seemed inclined to rock the boat. His Cabinet picks have been conventional - with conventional ethics. He’s kow-towed to the Republicans in the name of non-partisanship, eschewed any kind of prosecutions of Bush Admin malfeasance, and generally aimed for the 50 yard line in all things. None of this seems particularly change-inducing.

Posted by: Itzajob | February 3, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Cillizza, as usual can only print gossip-- the fact is nobody outside of the beltway cares whether or not Daschle withdrew, and all this conservative bed-wetting over a few nominees who withdrew is really just sour grapes over the GOP getting such a horrendous beatdown in the November elections.

Nobody really cares Cillizza- go back to journalism school and try to write something with some substance. My 15-year old niece could do what you do.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 3, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

"The president of all Americans (whether they like it or not) has beennear perfect in his picks."

I think this proves my point. Except for the Chief of Staff who is still hiding from the press, the numerous tax cheats who have been exposed, the complete lying about having former lobbyist in his administration and the appointment of completely unqualified people to positions of importance like the CIA and State then why yes it has been a veritable orgasmic two weeks.

But keep swilling that kool-aid!

Posted by: LogicalSC | February 3, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Where did this notion that Obama and his people are some how supreme beings where competency is concern?

Let’s get a reality check here: Obama and Co lack in-depth experience in governance; and experience is a prerequisite to competency. This “competency” persona is a marketing gimmick; Obama and his core staff/advisors don’t have a single accomplishment to backup their “emphasis on competency.” Really, what great leadership achievements do they have on their resumes?

Getting elected; raising a lot of cash; creating the buzz word "smart government"; and saying you and your staff are competent don't make it so.

Many incompetent people have been elected to high office…one just retired to Dallas, Texas.

Posted by: txgall | February 3, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Every day the headlines alternate between executives spending lavishly and politicians scolding them. Now you have a guy (because to most Americans he is just a guy) who owes over a hundred thousand in taxes just for a car and driver. I understand that Daschle's knowledge of health care and of the Senate would make him a great point person for Health Care Reform, but $100K in unpaid taxes for a car and driver...

Wrong time, wrong back taxes.

Posted by: caribis | February 3, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

"George Bush looks like a genius" Maybe to someone who hasn't made it past 2nd grade.

Posted by: rrau22 | February 3, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Here is the epitome of of absolute ignorance: "Everybody paying attention knows that B. Hussein Obama ". The president of all Americans (whether they like it or not) has beennear perfect in his picks. A couple of bumps in the road do not destroy credibility. I'll wait a couple years before assessing performance because Obama has, in less than two weeks, improved the quality of leadership in government and restored HONOR to the White House. Unlike the previous creeps who basically dismantled over 200 years of progress. So, the gutter slugs can utter their beer motivated groanings as much as they want, we already know 22% of the country is mentally challenged.

Posted by: rrau22 | February 3, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

This says more about the individuals than it says about Obama. The intense heat of the confirmation process has derailed nominations from every party, every time. It's a disappointment, a blip, but nothing really substantive about the President. I think Daschle's issue was not just taxes but how much money he made after leaving the Hill. And now it's a shame that Hillary is at State -- who is going to lead the charge for universal health care?

Posted by: fmjk | February 3, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"he would never pick someone knowingly who evaded taxes"

With some it apparently takes a harder baseball bat to the head than with others!

Everybody paying attention knows that B. Hussein Obama found out about this weeks ago. Hence the mad rush by all his nominees to sudden remember they owed taxes! Plus, in fact, Obama himself has said twice in the last week that both Daschle or Geithner should be comfirmed DESPITE their known tax evasions.

Stop deluding yourself, Barack knew he just doesn't care. Heck, he himself had to go back and pay some tax on that land bribe he had with Toney Rezko which he remember once it was printed in the Chicago Tribune.

Posted by: LogicalSC | February 3, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"Crack in the Cult of Competence" ....

How about . . . .

"Crack in the Cult of Worship"? . . . .

I hope he has successful programs and American becomes a stronger nation.

But at this poor start and a stimulation bill that is mostly PORK, I'm fearing my initial fears are going to be realized.

Posted by: jgfox39 | February 3, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Coulda woulda shoulda. The media has written Obama off before. Maybe we could give him a chance to govern before we start hanging crepe over his demise, hmm???

Oh, but look! Half a percentage point decline today in those who approve of the color of his tie, the new CNN/Faux/TimesPostTribune Poll of unregistered voters screams. My god! Is good governance all but lost? Quick, let's ask Sarah Palin what she thinks! After all, the next presidential election is only four years away!

Posted by: tellthetruth01 | February 3, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

It seems that the Obama presidency is beginning to appear as a political bubble that will burst in due time.

As the Wall St. built our housing bubble that caused our economic crisis; the media built the Obama presidency based on words and not of works.

Pres. Obama has only great speeches, without solid accomplishment,to back up his candidacy. But the media sold his 'speech-backed securities' to the people who bought them.

Now their actions do not match their words. And more cracks will burst the political bubble of the Obama administration. Hence, a political crisis.

Posted by: ea55375 | February 3, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to Washington! A beautiful city, host of corrupted politicians.

Posted by: blueyes1 | February 3, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

it's not going to put a dent in any feeling about President Obama.

it's only day 14. not day 364.

besides, it IS what we have the confirmation hearings for.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 3, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Roy Temple and Jim Jordan better get out in the hinterlands for a while before they say that economic woes will overwhelm any and all other issues. They are dead wrong!

Americans are concerned and distraught that the Obama presidency and Clinton administration have been hell-bent on nominating former lobbyists, tax cheats, and other incompetents (Clinton retreads) to important positions in our government. This won't do! It is not what Obama promised during his campaign, and mutterings to the effect that more competent people can not be found are just wrong.

Whoever is recommending these people to Obama needs to be fired, because he or she is obviously not doing their job of background checks, and, again obviously, not understanding that the American people are tired of being taken for fools.

I would imagine that Obama is pretty upset over these reverses, but it's his own dern fault by not insisting that candidates be thoroughly vetted in advance, and they not be people that are being pushed forward as a political reward.

Posted by: surfer-joe | February 3, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Strange...I haven't seen the King of Zouk posting for a while.

Holy Pseudonym, Batman!

Do you think he could have...changed his User ID?

Posted by: Bondosan | February 3, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Chris you are clueless. The people care that Daschle didn't pay his taxes.
Washingon doesn't. I'm glad he's out of here.

Posted by: kmblue | February 3, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it will hurt him one bit. This is the skeleton in Daschle's closet. You can't know everything about someone, and he is disappointed in Daschle. It was Daschle who lied to him in the first place. Knowing Obama, this obviously isn't acceptable, he would never pick someone knowingly who evaded taxes. Daschle isn't new to the scene, he was formerly the Minority Leader. Lots of vetting already happened on all things public, the IRS is the only one who could possibly know other than Daschle himself unless he goes around telling everyone.

Posted by: roperry | February 3, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Obama -- I am a GREAT supporter. AND --If you are going to talk righteous, you got to do righteous. And I think you have been a "little" off pace. Shape up! -- My friend, I am still a great fan.


Posted by: hhowen1 | February 3, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it is going to matter long-term. How many Bush appointees had to withdraw due to issues with taxes?

It would have been worse if he actually had become HHS sec't. Then it would have smacked of favoritism.

Posted by: rhinohide | February 3, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Now I'm starting to understand why liberals are always in favor of raising taxes - BECAUSE THEY DON'T PAY ANY!

Posted by: AG1231 | February 3, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Who is the other liberal who didn't pay taxes? They are all starting to run together.

Posted by: AG1231 | February 3, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree with previous writers who say we are paying attention out here in the countryside.

My biggest concern is that the crack will let in skeptism. Skeptism can be mutated into cynicism. Cynicism kills reasoning. I am on the side of hoping the crack heals - we need strong leadership in these times.
Rural Virginia

Posted by: ebsguss | February 3, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Mixed feelings. I don't think TD was a great choice to begin with, so it doesn't bother me that he bowed out. On the other hand, it doesn't help the new administration's battle for hearts and minds. The people scratching their heads and wondering why Obama picked TD are missing the simple fact that TD was instrumental in getting Obama elected. No mystery there. Getting the second pick right will be crucial to any hope of health care reform this time around.

Posted by: cdavidj | February 3, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

leapin sd:
"Funny how a couple days ago each and every appointee was indispensible and the only one that could do the job and had to put in place asap."

And now it appears that Tim Geithner was selected for Secretary of the Treasury because Obama’s mother worked for his father, Peter Geithner, in Indonesia in the 60’s while she was chasing some marxist lov'en.

Posted by: LogicalSC | February 3, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Sagereader –

Not to mention “Countrywide” Chris Dodd and “I luv Fannie” Frank.

Posted by: leapin | February 3, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Hell yes, the erosion has begun. I'm interested in getting a refund of my campaign contribution, since the Obama I supported believed in competence, hope, and change.

Where's the competence in someone who can't field honest and honorable cabinet officers?

Where's the change in his choices?

In lieu of a hopeful feeling, it's as though I've been kicked in the gonads.

Posted by: cthehill | February 3, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Old 44 is taking a beating. All this vetting mess and I'madinnerjacket schooled him.

Posted by: leapin | February 3, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Cults shouldn't just be "cracked", they should be smashed. But "competency" is an entirely different issue. It's not magic. It's learned. And it's the ability to learn that is the real mark of a good leader. Wait and see.

Posted by: eheath1 | February 3, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the White House, Mr. Obama.

George Bush looks like a genius in comparison to what we're seeing from Botox Nancy, lightweight Harry Reid, and Nobama Obama.

Posted by: sagereader | February 3, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

We knew this was coming.

A cursory look at Obama's entire life reveals that he lacks the ability to judge the character and integrity of his associates. I mean honestly did anybody expect someone who would consider Jeremiah Wright a "spiritual advisor" and thought nothing of funneling funds for a organization directed by William Ayers to be someone to trust which questions of character.

I mean, really who except the most stupid among us actually believe that the brightest and best of this nation have been hanging out at ACORN seminars, Trinity Church or workshopping with to aging hippy communists. That was Obama world.

Nothing about Obama's career says competence only self-promotion. He failed as a "community organizer", attorney and foundation director for a reason. He lacks the knowledge, judgment and leadership which he projects. In other words an empty suit.

Posted by: LogicalSC | February 3, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

President Obamas economic recovery plan - throw some pork at it.

Posted by: AG1231 | February 3, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Funny how a couple days ago each and every appointee was indispensible and the only one that could do the job and had to put in place asap.

Posted by: leapin | February 3, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama is proving to be not very insightful or smart. The Chicago politics strategy is faltering under closer scrutiny.

Should Obama have been elected? He's not change and he's not hope. Just a dope?

David Broder and his team of the Washington Post lackeys have misled their readers.

Posted by: sagereader | February 3, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Nuthin but crooks and cronies. Obama's admin is no different than any other admin - full of crooks and cronies. So much for hope and change. And the democrats are frantically disappointed that one of their inside-the-beltway political hacks won't be joining them. What a laugh.

Posted by: AG1231 | February 3, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

No one cares what Republicans think, no one should. Let Mr. Steele, as Carl Rove said, see if he can raise the $400m needed to get the Republicans back on the national scene.

Meanwhile, let John Kitzhaber be the next nominee. Who you say? Exactly. Recent Governor of Oregon, ER doctor, no closet skeletons, excellent ideas on health reform.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 3, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Even after learning of Daschle's significant tax problems, Obama did not have the judgment to say no to the nomination. For someone who fancies himself an intellectual, this was:

Not smart.

When it comes to bringing change, Obama looks not intellectual, but ineffectual.

Posted by: DagnyT | February 3, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Biggesst fear: The President's Lincoln game isn't working.

Seond biggest fear: He's not got the backbone to fight.

Posted by: Pluto1 | February 3, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Could you imagine Lincoln trying to form an administration with instant news clouding the picture? Today our flag might have had less stars.

Slow and steady won the race for candidate Obama, and slow and steady President Obama will win the war we face today. You can't rebuild a country in 13 days, just ask GW Bush.

Posted by: AverageJane | February 3, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Daschle had to go and the sooner the better. This is embarrassing in the extreme. Does Obama's team even question these people. Obama's reputation and credibility are on the line with these nominees and so far I'm very disappointed in the lax vetting.

Posted by: rick390 | February 3, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

time for a silver lining.

remember when obama lost new hampshire? remember the resulting prolonged primary battle? people were saying obama mismanaged expectations and that new hampshire would ruin the democrats' chances if he won the primary because the republicans would use hillary clinton's statements against him. most people agree now that a.) the prolonged primary made him a better candidate, that b.) their digs at each other were rather mild when compared with other bitter campaigns and that c.) he may not have won if he hadn't had to battle it out with clinton.

what obama is experiencing now are minor blips when compared with early missteps in other presidencies. but, could these minor blips, which perhaps are a result of trying to move too fast and mis-managing expectations, similarly make obama a better president? just as campaign strategy had to face campaign realities, so too do transition strategies have to face presidential realities. i'm willing to bet that obama, the perennial quick learner, will apply these lessons well.

but then, we could also be pessimistic and say that these missteps are indicative of incompetency. it depends on whether you want to be constructive or wallow in misery. i suppose there's a case to be made for both.

Posted by: plathman | February 3, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

you really want to play hardball review the tax history & status of all the Republicans in Congress. Let the innocents throw the first stone.

Posted by: dubya19391 | February 3, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

...look, Bush said the same thing. Nobody said that his cabinet, his senior staff was incompetent, except for a few clear exceptions after the fact (and the piling-on was well noted).

He's got a big sore thumb sticking about with this lobbyist that he put in his cabinet, after passing a ban on lobbyists in government (after riding that hard during the campaign). To me that is the sign that counts. Whether Daschle has fully met his tax obligations to the US is secondary. He is not the one who gave $1T to Wall Street behind the CDO crisis. The problem is that we are looking at misplaced priorities, not whether they are "competent". LeBron James plays for the Cavaliers. He's a great player. When the Wizards play we do not want him to score 50 points. No one questions his competence, we question his allegiance. Who exactly is he being competent *for*?

Posted by: dubya19391 | February 3, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Sounds to me like the vetting and confirmation process is doing its job.

I don't see what the big deal is as it pertains to Obama and his media coined, "Cult of Competency".

Some people are always looking for a reason to duke it out.

Posted by: keithrjackson | February 3, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Do the tax and accounting problems these nominees face show a lack of competence on their part? I don't think so. They show a lack of attention to detail or, perhaps, a lack of a degree of honesty or integrity. I am not suggesting that's good, but that's not competence.

Do these problems show a lack of vetting? I would be curious how. I do think it's too bad Daschle wasn't more forthright with Obama, but that's done already.

What's the take home on this? People make bad, greedy mistakes. A lot of people. More democrats than republicans? I very much doubt that. It does leave me feeling disappointed and sad, no doubt. But is it a lesson about Obama's competency or the competency of those around him. I don't see it.

I have to echo those who complained about the press frenzy over this. The Gibb's presser seemed like a swarm of junior high kids. Whe you think about the amazing things Bush got away with for years, the silly gotcha questions this morning were really awful.

Posted by: sophie2 | February 3, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

ohiocitizen - Dean would be the best response from Obama, or somebody like him. I seem to recall that Janet Reno was Clinton's 2nd pick for Attorney General. When the President's original pick gets the gate, the President has to show everybody who's the boss.

Posted by: daveofthecoasts | February 3, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Action on the Economic Recovery Act is far more improtant than this inside baseball--inside the beltway---stuff. Losing Daschle, a real policy and political heavyweight, is going to hurt on health care reform. Another strong leader like Howard Dean is needed in that role. Dean as HHS Secretary would make Republicans yearn for Daschle in that role.

The most important news out today, which nobody is talking about for some reason, is that far-right Senator Shelby of Alabama is planning to filibuster the Economic Recovery Act in the Senate. The question here is how many votes will Obama get to break the filibuster. This attempt by the extreme rightists to filibuster will allow the Republicans to be painted as obstructionists, people who don't care about ordinary Americans' suffering while unemployment rises on a daily basis. Notice that Republican Governors are generally backing the Presidential plan, indicating that there are sensible Republicans around, just not in abundance in DC.

There is just no end to Republican Congressional politicians' stupidity.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | February 3, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

Posted by: atsegga | February 3, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

These things always happen to every President. A nominee or two gets sacked before they even take the job. Four weeks from now, if anybody still cares, it will be a negative on Daschle -- not Obama. Look how Richardson's name only gets brought up in the context of Daschle's announcement and Gregg's appointment.

Much ado about nothing.

Posted by: daveofthecoasts | February 3, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

These developments are disappointing. At the same time, it is better that these setbacks are coming out pre-confirmation and not under circumstances akin to people waiting for help in vain atop Lower Ninth Ward rooftoops.

ha! even this myth is starting to fade.

the coast gaurd saved 30,000 from roofs during hurrican katrina, so your "waiting in vain" assertion doesnt, how should we say, "hold water".

Posted by: dummypants | February 3, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

When WE THE PEOPLE were asked to sacrifice for our collective benefit, I would guess most of us did not imagine that meant sending a GIFT CARD over to WALL STREET, courtesy of the US CONGRESS.

Isn't it enough, that WE THE PEOPLE sacrificed our sons and daugthers to die in a foreign land? Was it for the OIL, or to FREE ISLAM from it's misbegotten beliefs. PRAISE ALLAH.

When our elected representatives elevate themselves from WE THE PEOPLE, well enough already! If our own "officials" can't pay their taxes, why should WE THE PEOPLE sacrifice? Is it so that someone (fill in your favorite politician/CEO/lobbyist can fly around in a corporate jet, and look down on WE THE PEOPLE?

CHANGE HAS COME TO WASHINGTON, but some of these guys did not get that memo.

Posted by: rmorris391 | February 3, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Alas, except for the Kool-Aid drinkers who have made themselves apparent in this string, what many feared of an Obama administration has turned out to be true. Lacking experience, not only as an executive in government, but in any capacity of working for or running a business, this brilliantly packaged leftist academic is revealing himself to be what he had managed to convince a sufficient portion of the electorate to believe he was not. It's going to be a very tough four years indeed. This guy is not ready for prime time, nor will he be. Just because the press salivated all over this guy doesn't mean the American public is going to buy in to this "too big and important to have to be bothered with the rules" mentality, a la Geitner. I am cheered by the fact that the American public is drawing the line here. As I am cheered to see many in the media willing to step up and critize an administration that should already have faced far more scrutiny than it has...

Posted by: ProudlyIndependent | February 3, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I commend Mr. Daschle for stepping down. Unlike others Obama has chosen, Mr. Daschle has recognized his shortcomings and has stepped aside. Hmmm... will Mr. O be able to find anyone who does not have skeletons in the closet?

Posted by: mossadams | February 3, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

These developments are disappointing. At the same time, it is better that these setbacks are coming out pre-confirmation and not under circumstances akin to people waiting for help in vain atop Lower Ninth Ward rooftoops.

Posted by: Goombay | February 3, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

You named it "cult of competency". Now, when something works correctly and someone questionable is turned aside, you write "cracks, blah, blah, blah...."
Ya know, I was watching the vultures circle at the press conference; and I'm still waiting for a question rather than a "Hollywood style attack" from the press (and I use that term very loosely) gathered there.
Then you quote an admitted republican OPERATIVE (I'm sure he's interested in the truth) as some type of news source!????
You surely don't call this journalism do you?

Posted by: easysoul | February 3, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"The Daschle issue matters more in Washington than it does in the country,"

Wow, I think he has that completely backwards. If left to Washington, it would have been business as usual.

I'm pretty dead certain this was a case of Senators noticing all those people calling in to voice their opinions, e.g. take a look at the 1300+ posts on another article here in the WaPo today.

No, Mr Temple, this was a case of the DC people not being able to ignore the rest of the country.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | February 3, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I assume that the President's choices of people like Daschle and Geithner had to do with his sense that these were people whose prior experience meant that they could move quickly and efficiently to help get his agenda up and running. That's not to say, of course, that he wasn't alive to what he owed to Daschle for endorsements, guidance, staff, etc., but I don't think that the appointment was a quid pro quo -- if Obama thought in such terms, we might be looking at Secretary of State Kerry today. And it does seem that Daschle was less forthcoming than Geithner about his tax problems. I'm not totally convinced that Geithner is the indispensable man that the President and others think he is, and I'm even less sure that Daschle was indispensable. He did the right thing today -- and I tend to assume that the President in effect knew that things had to go down this way even as he was backing him yesterday. I disagree with Chris Cilizza that all this somehow reflects on the competence of the President. He had a right to expect that Daschle would be more forthcoming than he apparently has been. Time to move on, then -- Howard Dean, anyone?

Posted by: easter1916 | February 3, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

And really, Chris. You didn't see a flashing neon sign blaring "Republican Talking Point!" on this?:

" not the type of leadership or change any American can believe in."

Posted by: mpl2 | February 3, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Every president has a cabinet appointee or two (or three!) who look great and then don't make it through. It is a sad rite of passage, but whatever its short-term effect, is rather limited in the long term, in my opinion.

One strange exception is Lani Guanier, because people thought that Bill Clinton was disloyal to his friend by backing her for so long and then pulling the rug out from under her. It was an assessment that was not about her or good government or politics, but about him as a loyal friend. I am amazed how many apolitical people still bring up this ancient story. She so clearly felt betrayed.

So, by that analogy, Obama did well to stand by Daschle as long as he could and to let Daschle issue the joint statement with him. Obama doesn't look like a bad friend. Daschle, on the other hand, could have let him know the facts a bit sooner, it seems to me.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | February 3, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Please stop trying to be beltway conventional wisdom arbiter, Chris. You suck at it.

Newsflash: Every new adminstration has confirmation problems with a few nominees. It happens every time like clockwork. Stop acting so shocked. We're 13 days into this Presidency. Relax. The media needs to use their brains and stop trying to make flash judgments.

Posted by: mpl2 | February 3, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

To the loony-left liberal media, TAX CHEAT daschle was a "distraction" from their endless adoration of the TheOne.

But to everyone with a brain, daschle is a symbol of the hypocrisy and slimy behavior of the loony-left liberal d-crats, who love to tax you to death, then tax your death, but hate to pay taxes and cheat the government out of every penny they can.

This "distraction" is certainly something one would expect from the regime of a Kerry-like shallow, arrogant, platitude-spouting, inexperienced, elitist, Marxist, narcissistic, flip-flopping gas-bag who is so mentally deficient from extensive drug use he even has to plagiarize his hollow platitudes, who hijacked the nomination with fewer votes than Hillary received, and who stole the election with extensive ACORN fraud.


Posted by: LoonyLeft | February 3, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The Fix writes
"But -- and this is a big but -- when looking longer term it's not so difficult to see how this could be seen as a crack in the Obama image.

"The president and his appointees need to lead by example," said Chris LaCivita, a veteran Republican operative. "Having your top appointees not paying their taxes is not the type of leadership or change any American can believe in." "

Of course LaCivita is going to try to fit a wedge into a hairline crack to force it wider. The President's mistake was his expression of strong support for Daschle after the tax problem came to light. But with Daschle stepping aside, the issue evaporates. As was noted earlier in the article, voters will return focus to the economy - and whether the gov't is competently addressing the problems we face.

Posted by: bsimon1 | February 3, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

It's like a field hockey penalty corner.

One person screws up, the entire play is lost.

Posted by: bs2004 | February 3, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

can we please have a do-over?? would like to have Hillary please. like, now.
Obama had no executive experience and botched the vetting process. and he left Bush's defense person in place?? after all that puffing about the stupid war - and also all those attacks on Hillary about her war vote?? (But she is OK to run state - but with odd layers of envoys piled on...another bad idea.) maybe they think the Raytheon lobbyist will provide objective oversight??? riiiight.
and these dufus characters with tax issues....drunk on D.C. cash and power, hoping we would just let them slide in. nope! and Geithner - resign also. you aren't all that vital - your fingerprints are all over the first bailout and it isn't so hot.
send Obama back to the Senate hopper for 15 years of seasoning as he should have had in the first place. He is likeable enough but I prefer Hillary, who can play in the big leagues. Bill for VP, not Biden.
NoBama - no thanks.

Posted by: nancyjeanmail | February 3, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't there a governor impeached just last week for asking for a quid pro quo for a senate seat?

What's so different about this?

Gregg even wanted the Dept. of Commerce eliminated.

Couldn't Obama find a qualified Democrat to fill this post?

As Barney Frank said this post partisanship is giving me post partisan depression.

Posted by: Canonera | February 3, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Does every piece of bad judgment for each and every cabinet member now have to be deleterious to the Obama administration. Why did you guys not put this level of scrutiny on George W Bush when he was nominating clearly inept frat brothers to his cabinet?

Posted by: hayden1 | February 3, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"They really don't believe Americans are paying attention to the obama vetting machine fiascos?

Posted by: playfair109 | February 3, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse "

Compared to the public outcry over the 700 billion dollars to bail out Wall Street (before the election)? Or getting all huffy about the McCain vetting machine fiasco?

What's the real reason you don't like Obama?

Posted by: DonJasper | February 3, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

These issues do matter. Competency over partisanship is the right way to go. Problem is in defining competency. It must be more than expertise; we've had that before. It has to be BOTH expertise AND ethics. Together, these represent real change, and Obama inspires both in all of us. We must reach for our higher angels and not simply settle for expedient choices. Obama will get this as he is very good at listening.

Posted by: tonyzampella | February 3, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that Obama trusted the review process (confirmation hearings) to bring any discrepancies to light. It worked, Daschle and Killefer stepped aside, and other potential candidates step into place.

No one can be expected to know everything about everyone, that's why the confirmation hearings were put into place.

I'm sure that who ever Obama selects to appoint - and who makes it through the hearings - will be an excellent choice, and will fit the "cult of competency" you describe.

Have a little faith in the system, will you?

Posted by: ktsmom9 | February 3, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Afraid you're wrong> Folks have been raising hell all weekend and through today about this subject. Folks have been calling their congressmen for four days. It isn't just Washington. People are incensed over Daschle and the other two crooks. It is like being spit in the face. People are losing their jobs and retirement and these fat cats are making money by the barrel full and not paying taxes doesn't sit well.

Posted by: bnw173 | February 3, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"Name one person on Obama's cabinet that has not paid their taxes."

Geithner, the IRS Chief, was audited, and still, apparently, has not paid back taxes for years before the audit period.

And, he had to pay back taxes.

Not that such failure to pay taxes on the part of the IRS Head is such a bad thing, no?

Posted by: theeasypartsover | February 3, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

" Thus far he has appointed those that pay their taxes and those that don’t.

Posted by: leapin | February 3, 2009 3:43 PM |"

Name one person on Obama's cabinet that has not paid their taxes.

Posted by: JRM2 | February 3, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

""The Daschle issue matters more in Washington than it does in the country," said Temple."

Who's he kidding? I wrote both my senators to voice my disgust at the recent selection of Daschle. They really don't believe Americans are paying attention to the obama vetting machine fiascos?

Posted by: playfair109 | February 3, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

--"Cracks in the Cult of Competency?"--

No, just trying to find the high flyer's that also want to put themselves through public hell to earn government pay. You think Ken Lewis (CEO of Bank of America) would quit his job to catch hell everyday and make $400,000 year like the president?

Posted by: DonJasper | February 3, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Please explain to me how a position orignally meant for Bill Richardson is now being filled by his political polar opposite, Judd Gregg. I don't get it. I didn't get how he could be endorsed by both Al Gore and Colin Powell, but now picking Bill Richardson and then Judd Gregg for the same position is confusing me all over again...

Posted by: Corey_NY | February 3, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

At least the President is keeping his promise to have a bipartisan administration. Thus far he has appointed those that pay their taxes and those that don’t.

Posted by: leapin | February 3, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

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