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The Friday Line: Ranking the Cabinet Confirmation Prospects

With President-elect Barack Obama having filled roughly half of his 15 Cabinet appointments by the end of this week, we thought now would be a good time to take a closer look at the confirmation prospects for each of the seven Cabinet members already chosen.

Friday Line

In truth, most of the soon-to-be president's picks are likely to be approved by the Senate barring some sort of glaring problem (see Baird, Zoe) with their backgrounds. Historically the pattern has been that the Senate generally defers to the president on his picks for the Cabinet but, according to the Post's indispensable Al Kamen, there always seems to be one person -- Linda Chavez, Baird, John Tower -- who doesn't make it through the confirmation process.

Who is this Administration's Tower/Baird/Chavez? We won't hazard a guess and, remember, that with eight Cabinet officials still not named, the nominee most likely to go down in flames may not even be known yet.

Below you'll find our rankings of the squirm factor for the seven men and women Obama has selected to fill Cabinet jobs in his Administration. The number one ranked person is the one likely to squirm the most under questioning from the Senate. To be clear, all seven of these people seem likely to be confirmed today but some of them will cruise to confirmation while others will stumble to it.

As always, the Line is meant to spark conversation so use the comments section to agree or disagree with our picks or rankings.

7. Robert Gates (Defense): Gates is already the Secretary of Defense. So, he doesn't need to be confirmed by the Senate. Done and done.

6. Tim Geithner (Treasury): Geithner's credentials as head of the New York Fed are impeccable, and, given the current economic strife gripping the country, it's hard to imagine any senator risking his or her political life by delaying this confirmation in any way, shape or form.

Ariz. Gov. Janet Napolitano

5. Janet Napolitano (Homeland Security): The strong support of Sen. John McCain for his home state governor's nomination to the post would seem to clear the decks for Napolitano. Party operatives who know her also speak highly of her political acumen and smarts so don't expect any flubs here. (Napolitano would almost assuredly welcome a lower profile given the hubbub over comments made about her this week by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.)

4 (tie). Tom Daschle (Health and Human Services)/Hillary Rodham Clinton (State): Both Daschle and Clinton have their enemies in the Senate but the world's greatest deliberative body generally protects its own -- Tower being a high-profile exception -- and it's hard to imagine either nominee getting too bad a grilling from their colleagues.

2. Bill Richardson (Commerce): Working in the New Mexico governor's favor is that he spent nearly two decades in Congress -- building relationships that should help him during confirmation. Richardson's role in the Wen Ho Lee case during his tenure as Energy Secretary in the Clinton Administration is already being mentioned as an issue and almost assuredly will come up during confirmation hearings.

Former Deputy Atty. Genl. Eric Holder

1. Eric Holder (Justice): Holder, who led Obama's vice presidential search earlier this year, seems to be the one nominee thus far about whom Republicans are publicly raising questions. The central issue for Holder is the pardon by President Bill Clinton of financier Marc Rich whose ex-wife was a major donor to the Clintons and the Democratic Party. During the Rich pardon, Holder was serving as deputy attorney general and played enough of a role for the Post's own Richard Cohen to insist in a recent column that Holder should be disqualified for the AG post.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 5, 2008; 5:45 AM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Next: Obama's Mighty Economic Challenge


I would like to clarify a few misconceptions I have read in the comments. First, the conspiracy nuts keep asking Obama to turn over his original birth certificate. He cannot do this. Not because it doesn't exist but because no one possesses their original birth certificate. The government of the state in which you are born retains the original birth certificate and the person is only given certified copies. The original is in Hawaii. The Hawaiian government has stated that it is there and is valid. Reporters have gone to Hawaii and examined it.

As far as his college transcripts no Presidential Candidate has released those and they should not be expected to. We have always speculated about Bush's grades in school but we have no real verification and he doesn't have to provide any. If the request to see these documents is about some theory that he never went to school I site the legions of people he went to Law School with at Harvard, the Numerous pictures that were taken of him with his Law Review peers when he was the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, the simple fact that Harvard would not have admitted him without transcripts, and the fact that no law firm would have hired him without his transcripts. This whole argue is beyond stupid.

Also, Gates does not have to be reconfirmed. Cabinet appointees have no term. They serve at the pleasure of the President. If Obama doesn't ask him to resign then he remains in the post without additional need for confirmation. The reason you typically see holdovers from the previous administration getting confirmed again is because many times they change the cabinet they are in charge of. A new position equals a new confirmation.

Posted by: cmb1 | December 6, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

This president will be different as far as things like this go. First of all, Daschle and Clinton will obviously sail through confirmation. The United States is a club, not like the House of Representatives, where it's every man for themselves. Senators that don't make it through confirmation process are senators who do not fit in with other senators, ie John Ashcroft and John Tower. Napolitano will also make it easily, especially since two Republicans have picked up the ball and ran with it in her favor, John McCain and Jon Kyl. Bill Richardson and Eric Holder are the most controversial but I don't see either of them having much of a problem. Ranking Judiciary Republican Arlen Specter and past Judiciary chairman Orrin Hatch are both in support of Holder, and in case anybody is unaware, Hatch is arguably the most conservative member of the US Senate. The Marc Rich pardon is a non-issue seeing as how it was the president's call. Bill Clinton wanted to pardon Marc Rich and nobody was going to stop him. Every justice dept official in the world came out against the pardon after it was done. And with Richardson, the Wen Ho Lee factor may come up, but hopefuly, so will the fact that the charges against him were dismissed. My gut tells me that Barack Obama doesn't announce anything publicly unless he knows he has the votes. And with at least 58 Senate seats and a coalition of moderate Republicans, I don't see Obama having much of a problem building consensus.

Posted by: democraticpitbull | December 6, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

All of you who hate Clinton- why?
She ran a campaign where she had as many votes as Barak and then went on to campaign for him- she was not dirtier in her campaigning than HE WAS. I will give you examples if needed- you have to do some soul searching and find out why you hate her so much that you continue the vitriol long after the competition is over. Barak has no policy accomplishments other than running a phenomenal campaign- so why is there such elevation of him and such demonization of her- perhaps you should all explore your issues with strong women.


Posted by: nycLeon | December 5, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

The TARP taken individually and the many financial bailouts taken as a whole are unpopular. Increasingly they are also being viewed as mismanaged. Senators seeking to distance themselves from the initial decision to fund the TARP will use the Geithner confirmation hearings as an opportunity to score political points.

Posted by: sjgscreener | December 5, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Geithner will probably get some questions about who decided to let Lehman fail, but he will probably be confirmed even if he is the one. Holder is more likely be confirmed than not, but it might be very close. Holder might have to be confirmed with only Democratic votes, and if the Marc Rich pardon makes about 8 of them nervous, they might have to be sure old Joe Biden is there to break the tie.

Posted by: andrewp111 | December 5, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I am still waiting for the YES WE CAN, CHANGE. Please I expected better. I am sorely disappointed that Obama caved in and selected Hillary as Secretary of State. She has too much baggage and sooner or later this will come back to bite him. He knows she has a vindictive personality and she represents every thing wrong in government, even her oozy slide into the Senate seat in NY. Who did own that NY house she lived in ? Anyway, I voted for Obama, I think he is the right choice but his selections for cabinet seats look like political payback. Please, give us the change we voted for, not a rehash of the CLINTON regime.

Posted by: Xcalibar | December 5, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Napolitano is an inspired choice for Homeland Security, solid values and a Govenor from a front-line state who knows the issues. She is practical and gets results. Not like the political hacks who Bush appointed.

She is a gem of public service. Congratulations Janet- and I feel much better now that I know that you will be the lead for us on those issues and I trust in your leadership to unite and lift a badly divided and demoralized department of government.

Posted by: lanceensol | December 5, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I feel sure the Democrats hope and pray for the Republican base to remain utterly obsessed with the Obama birth certificate issue until at least, oh, 2010.

Then, for Xmas 2011, the Democrats would like Santa to bring them a slate of Sarah Palin and anybody else to run against, please.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 5, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Hope they would be confirmed fast, especially the Department of State. The Semitic peoples in the middle east are anxiously waiting for some resolution of the festering problem of extremism on both sides of the Wall. Clinton-Blair axis could do it. The gulf states could help buy some of the building the settlers built legally or illegally.

Posted by: wrock76taolcom | December 5, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

37thOStreetRules--You need help. Not only do you have problems letting go (the election is over), but you have problems with reality...Actually, I will just say it...You are an idiot.

I pretty much agree w/ this list, but I think Holder will still get confirmed.

Posted by: mykaladrian | December 5, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

They will all be confirmed easily. Holder will get a lot of static but the Dem majority in the senate is not going to start a new Dem administration with a slap in the face of the new President.

And hopefully, whoever is the Majority Leader will here and elsewhere require the do-nothing but obstruct everything Republican (more of a) minority to actually filibuster instead of giving up when he can't get sixty votes. They might get tired of making fools of themselves if they had to actually get up and talk 24/7 forever.

Posted by: bezvodka | December 5, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

You have to be a complete imbecile to believe the right-wing conspiracy rumors about Obama not being born in Hawaii.

Hawaii state officials - run a by REPUBLICAN Governor - have attested to the fact that he was born there. WTF is wrong with all of you idiots stupidly parroting the ignorant conservative talking points? Are you all brain dead?


Obama's Birth Certificate Verified By State
Health Department Receives Multiple Requests For Copies

HONOLULU -- The state's Department of Health director on Friday released a statement verifying the legitimacy of Sen. Barack Obama birth certificate.

The state has received multiple requests for a copy of Obama's birth certificate. State law does not allow officials to release the birth certificate of a person to someone outside of the family.

There were rumors that Obama was born in Kenya, where his father is from. The Constitution requires that the president be a natural born citizen of the U.S.

"There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate. State law (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record," DOH Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said.

Fukino said she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, have personally verified that the health department holds Obama's original birth certificate.

"Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures," Fukino said.

Fukino said that no state official, including Gov. Linda Lingle, ever instructed that Obama's certificate be handled differently from any other.

Some Obama critics claim he was not born in the United States.

Multiple lawsuits were filed to try and force Obama to provide proof of citizenship. Earlier Friday, a southwest Ohio magistrate rejected a challenge to Obama's U.S. citizenship. Judges in Seattle and Philadelphia recently dismissed similar suits.

Posted by: Gaithersburg50 | December 5, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Being a history buff i can say yes the Reps will lead us out of this mess. Same as they did in the 80's after the disastrous Carter years put us in the same mess we are in now........

Posted by: leapin | December 5, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

This is an interesting article on the swing Senators. First off, the Republicans who would be most easily persuaded to vote with Obama. Then he talks about Dems who are the most likely to defect.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 5, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

The democrat party is no longer viable.

It is a elitist party, made up of young metrosexual men, and

crazy atheist zealots.

Posted by: leapin | December 5, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

37th Street and King_of_Fart do you guys or women wear tin foil helmets. I do. I see things and know things that others don’t. The Mossad and Dick Cheney planned the 9|11 attacks. I read Cheney was seen at a falafel stand in Detroit a year before. And seen and were instrumental in the assassination of JFK along with Castro. Did you know Cheney’s High School year book picture, the original one, had him holding 6.5 x 52 mm Italian Carcano M91/38 bolt-action rifle with a six-round magazine. But it was supposedly lost. The fact is that photo is in the archives of Matt Drudge. I agree with you both about everything. We should trade tin foil helmets.

Posted by: jolu32339 | December 5, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Being a history buff i can say yes the Dems will lead us out of this mess. Same as they did in the 90's after the disastrous Reagan/Bush years put us in the same mess we are in now........

Posted by: rharring | December 5, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

1. Eric Holder (Justice): Holder ...

It looks like Grassley and Specter are the only two on Judiciary running for election in 2010 in states that went for Obama. They might be concerned with edited video's of them prostrating themselves before Gonzalez and giving Holder pointless grief.

Posted by: DonJasper | December 5, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

The republican party is no longer viable.

It is a regional party, made up of old white men, and

crazy religious zealots.

Posted by: bobnsri | December 5, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Great! This is going to be a prime time for the republicans to cause as much trouble as possible.
Filibuster and shut the government down like Newt did. Make a lot of noise.
The other night they got ALL EXCITED and call Saxby "Gimp Knee" Chambliss "41".
That would be like 59 to 41? Right?
That sounds like a ROYAL ICE WHOOPING to me? Am I wrong?
The big question: WHO WILL THEY BE CALLING "31" in the not-so-distant future?

Posted by: TOMHERE | December 5, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Gates has to be confirmed. His term expires when this administration does, so while he may keep the same job title, he does have to be nominated and confirmed to keep the job.

Posted by: sensible | December 5, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"DDAWD – so let’s get this straight, we are in a bad economic situation because of what Bill Clinton did 12 YEARS AGO? And also, because of what Obama haven’t even done yet…..

I hope your joking….."

Of course I'm joking. Haven't you ever heard Republicans attribute the economic success of the 90's to the Reagan and Bush policies coming into effect?

Posted by: DDAWD | December 5, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Richard Todd

Posted by: rwtodd89 | December 5, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

No one ever mentions that the pardon Marc Rich received was worth no more than the paper it is written on. Before the pardon he chose not to enter this country because of the legal jeopardy he was in--criminal and civil. After the pardon he has chosen not enter the country because of the legal jeopardy he is in--civil. Slick Willie really pulled one over on him, lol.

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | December 5, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

A few points I like to make:
A- With at least 56 votes the nominee for AG has nothing to worry about. When Rich comes up, all he has to say is: "You are entitled to your opinion."
B- A president-elect generally is allowed to make his appointments. Some of Bush's were not that great but they got confirmed anyway.
C- Considering who the last three AG's were, we should be so lucky that a man of Mr. Holder's stature is willing to accept that post. He could make millions in private practice yet he is willing to serve his country. I commend him for it.

Posted by: Opa2 | December 5, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD – so let’s get this straight, we are in a bad economic situation because of what Bill Clinton did 12 YEARS AGO? And also, because of what Obama haven’t even done yet…..

I hope your joking…..

Posted by: gabrielwittgenstein | December 5, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

“ How can more liberialism get us out of a mess that Bush's liberal spending and dems liberal policies put us into???”
This is clearly a bias post by a conservative. The Liberal congress has only been in power for 2 years, yet, our financial problems date further back than that. I like how all of the blame fall ONLY on a “liberal congress” – and yet, it was an entirely conservative congress that had the reigns for six years. Bush isn’t “spending liberal” – he’s covering his conservative butt. Bush’s government spending so much isn’t something that proves he was secretly spending “liberal”. Conservative’s extreme views on defense and military involvement around the world without any type of real answer as to who’s going to pay for all of these F-14’s, have always sent the government spending sky high and produced shaky economies. Regan and Bush Sr. both were responsible for increasing the federal deficit, yet, there is something in which people simply can’t equate the fact that WAR costs money. But as long as we’re not building any new roads then the government isn’t “spending” anything.

Posted by: gabrielwittgenstein | December 5, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse


Not sure where your kingdom is but I really hope that no one besides you has to live there.

I would say that you should get a life but that would be too much like right!


Posted by: roxlaw | December 5, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Zouk calls Wes Pruden and the Wash Times- the honest one?? Please, the Times is owned and its policies determined by Reverend Moon- everyone knows that. Moon and Pruden know they are sunk now that the know-nothing Bush administration is gone. Pruden once had some standing as a journalist but he became as much of a drooler as his far right readers. I guess he had to produce what the Reverend demanded.

Even some of the right wing blogs like Little Green Lizards and Michelle Malkin are saying this whole birth certificate thing is a crock and the people behind it are nuts and white supremacists. So I guess we know where 37 and zouk stand.

Posted by: silverspring25 | December 5, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"The decline, the largest since December 1974, was fresh evidence that the economic contraction accelerated in November, promising to make the current recession, already 12 months old, the longest since the Great Depression. The previous record was 16 months, in the severe recessions of the mid-1970s and early 1980s.'"

It's just Clinton's policies finally coming into effect twelve years later. Also, Obama's policies having an effect fifty days early.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 5, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's your 'fiscal conservatives'

"RNC spends $180K on Palin and family

By JEANNE CUMMINGS | 12/5/08 5:57 AM EST Text Size:
Salons and spas, including $350 at Escape Skin Care and Day Spa in New York, were the latest unusual expenses to appear in the Republican National Committee’s coordinated expenses account with the McCain-Palin campaign, according to November reports released late Thursday.

Overall, the RNC has reported spending a total of about $180,000 for clothes and various accessories for the family of vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Federal Election Commission records show.

As Politico first reported in October, the bulk of that spending, about $150,000, was spent in early September on clothes for the Alaska governor and her family.

The RNC’s post-Election Day report documented another $30,000 at outlets that read like a suburban shopping directory.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, The Limited, Foot Locker, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and Victoria’s Secret are all listed in between the expected payments for media buys, direct mail and polling.

Major payments to big department stores and boutique clothing outlets also continued. Thousands of dollars in payments to Macy’s, Nieman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue — all major recipients of RNC cash in early September as Palin upgraded her wardrobe for the campaign — were made in October, too.

In addition, hundreds of dollars were also spent at Brooks Brothers, the Gap, Express and J.C. Penney on clothes and accessories, apparently for other members of the vice presidential nominee’s family. "

Posted by: cassandra13 | December 5, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I'm not crazy about the conceit or idea behind this posting. It's like you are lining up the person at number one, who would be the nation's first black attorney general, for trouble. That could be true, but I don't think it is your role to lay the groundwork for it or to stoke the fires. I think you should drop this list and not do updates as new people are named.

As for Holder, he's got to say what he's always said, that he has an extremely strong, lengthy record of public service with one significant mark against him that he deeply regrets, surrounding the Marc Rich pardon.

That one incident is entirely the responsibility of President Clinton, as Republican legal scholars of all stripes have agreed, and it should not torpedo Holder's distinguished and honorable career. When I compare his qualifications with the character and qualifications of Alberto Gonzales, it's hard to see why there is any question about confirmation in this case.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | December 5, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

cassandra13's hate speech (writings) are something that BHO will not tolerate !

Posted by: leapin | December 5, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

How can more liberialism get us out of a mess that Bush's liberal spending and dems liberal policies put us into???

Posted by: leapin | December 5, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"Can someone please set up a special board for king_of_zouk and 37thOStreetRules? Please?"

yeah, kind of like the special bus in elementary school -- the short one.

Posted by: cassandra13 | December 5, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Well the starting point is that the Democrats have a substantial majority in the Senate and a President who won by a comfortable margin. Those realities suggest that it will be the exception even to have trouble.
In Hillary Clinton's case, several Republicans were quick to support her nomination even before it was made. The media made much out of Dick Luger's comments that she would still face some serious questions about conflicts of interest because of Bill Clinton's activities. But his other comments seem to be forgotten. Those included his intention to vote for Hillary Clinton, his opinion that both the Clinton's were remarkable people, and his suggestion that Bill Clinton be sent to India to try to mediate the difference between India and Pakistan. The apparent reality about Hillary Clinton is that her record has been widely vetted and that she appears to enjoy widespread respect among her colleagues in the Senate.
So far the only nominee who has some apparent signs of potential difficulty is Eric Holder because of lingering unhappiness over the pardoning of Mark Rich. He will probably face some tough questions. But unless something turns up that directly casts significant doubt on his ethical judgement, he probably will not have a real problem.

Posted by: dnjake | December 5, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Can someone please set up a special board for king_of_zouk and 37thOStreetRules? Please?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 5, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

do you Libs honestly think that Mr hopey- Mc Change stuffed shirt will lead us out of this morass? considering it was the PeLousy- Reid congress that got us in, and they have no idea how or why, I don't see a chance of them getting us out. the leader of the non-decision Libs will not stake any claim to a judgment that might annoy anyone, same as his entire history. without a single difficult decision or an actual stance on something of substance, there is no hope for change.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 5, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

After the abysmal, incopetent, criminal, and thug-like Bush cabinet choices over the last eight years, I can't believe anyone in Congress - Republican or Democrat - would have the frickin' nerve to make a peep about a single Obama nominee!


Posted by: JC505 | December 5, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Who is this Administration's Tower/Baird/Chavez? HRC - no contest - for the "right-wing conspiracy". As qualified as Nancy Reagan. -- Michelle.

Posted by: lockmallup | December 5, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Change has come in that we finally have an intelligent President. He has demonstrated his rational and pragmatic judgment in selecting the members of his administration.

The new President has so many fires to put out, he needs to put the right people in the right position to help him accomplish what is needed to get America out of the mess our current President has created. Obama has methodically chosen his team. His vetting process appears to be the most intense of any President elect. Our new President knows the need for expidiency in getting his cabinet approved so that he can begin to work on getting America back on its feet.

Gates, Geithner and Holder are intimately aware of the inner workings of the Pentagon, Treasury and Justice and can hit the ground running.

The security breeches at the National Labs was something that was on-going in the Energy Department and is still a problem, so Wen Ho Lee was a problem that Richardson inherited. Richardson wasn't a good fit at Energy but he is a good fit for Commerce given his experience as UN Ambassador and his background as a governor. He has ties to the international community which will help in establishing foreign trade agreements, and his experience as a governor working on growing the economy and jobs in his state will certainly help him in this position.

Obama has demonstrated that he is a thoughtful and wise leader. It's not like in the past I owe you so what position do you want, irrespective of the persons inexperience in area they are leading - this is true change.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | December 5, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to the 'conservative movement'...

'With the economy deteriorating rapidly, the nation’s employers shed 533,000 jobs in November, the 11th consecutive monthly decline, the government reported Friday morning, and the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent.

The decline, the largest since December 1974, was fresh evidence that the economic contraction accelerated in November, promising to make the current recession, already 12 months old, the longest since the Great Depression. The previous record was 16 months, in the severe recessions of the mid-1970s and early 1980s.'

Really, thanks a lot.

Posted by: cassandra13 | December 5, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

The Labor Department reported this morning that 533,000 jobs were lost last month, and unemployment surged to 6.7%. The job losses are much higher than the 300,000 losses that analysts predicted. This is the 11th straight month of job losses and the largest monthly decline since 1974. Nearly 2 million jobs have been lost this year.

Posted by: cassandra13 | December 5, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

According to the political futures/prediction markets at Intrade, none of these cabinet appointments should face any real danger of not being approved. Even Holder is trading at above a 95% likelihood of being confirmed.

Posted by: B2O2 | December 5, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Dude, you can have Rangel and Dodd. I don't think they will be missed.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 5, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

All of this—and controversy and sludgeslinging to come—will be resolved by the molecules on testimonial breath. "CSI" forensic GC-Mass gas technology (google it) will soon be analyzing the exhaust molecules on the human breath for the bio-chemical proof of the human lie. All humans, everywhere.
Won't that change things... All of it. All of the questions. All of the accusations. All of the rhetoric and screed. It's called "The Nadjik Pheromone." (Google that ,too).

Posted by: mkhemp | December 5, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps clinton and edwards should be in charge of the newly formed Department of getting a Piece.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 5, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Dem leadership - business as usual:

Here are the facts: Chris Dodd is currently chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. As such, he refinanced his own mortgage property through (the now bankrupt) Countrywide’s “V.I.P.” program. That is, Dodd was given an unusually favorable loan discount that over the life of his mortgage in theory would have saved him several thousand dollars. Yet Senate rules make it illegal for members to knowingly receive gifts worth $100 or more a year from private businesses like Countrywide that makes use of lobbyists. What’s more, Countrywide had also contributed $21,000 to Dodd’s senate campaigns since 1997. Worse still, Dodd received about $70,000 in campaign gifts from Bank of America — which bought out the bankrupt Countrywide.

Remember, as well, that Sen. Dodd serially asserted that both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were fundamentally strong — even as both were on the verge of bankruptcy. Dodd was strangely confident in the insolvent entities perhaps because he had received more campaign contributions from the two failed agencies than did any other legislator in Congress.

I think all our grandfathers at one time in this country might have thought it morally wrong for a congressional banking overseer to take money from banks — and in particular when they were in the process of being looted and run into the ground. If the Senate Banking Committee Chairman is improperly receiving mortgage preferences and outright cash from banking concerns, then who will police the police?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 5, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

culture of corruption:

Let us count the ways: (1) Rangel paid no federal income tax on some $75,000 in rental income from his Caribbean villa — that lapse would result in a felony tax-evasion charge for the rest of us who dared to try that year in and year out. (2) Something called Nabobs Industries gave $1 million to something called the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York — and, apparently in exchange, got tens of millions of dollars in tax waivers from Rangel’s committee. Surely if Scooter Libby went to prison for faulty recall about not being the first one to “out” (non-covert) CIA operative Valerie Plame, a special prosecutor could also examine Rangel’s role in what may have resulted in a nearly $1 billion shortfall to the federal treasury. (3) Rangel seems to be claiming his New York campaign office as his home in order to continue to garner rent-control exemptions, improperly saving him thousands of dollars through aggregate subsidies. That someone who oversees the drafting of American tax policies and regulation cannot follow them himself is now a statement of fact, not baseless slander.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 5, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Lib double standards:

I recall that Robert Rubin, as Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, oversaw the deregulation of Wall Street that certainly contributed to the present meltdown. But while we can associate the name Fuld with Lehman Brothers, and Ken Lay with Enron, and both with abject greed, probable malfeasance, and systematic incompetence, why are we unable to make the similar connection between Citigroup’s near collapse, its reckless foray into the morass of subprime loans, and Robert Rubin’s very lucrative, but ultimately disastrous leadership role within the banking conglomerate?

Such an examination might be useful inasmuch as Rubin’s own protégés Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner will now oversee the nation’s financial policy for the new Obama administration. On a final note, examine Rubin’s Fuld-like response to such charges: Apparently he claims as a “senior advisor” and member of the board of directors of Citigroup, he had both no responsibility for lunatic decisions of his company, but yet enough responsibility to be worth $115 million.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 5, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Good thing that picture of Holder cuts off the words 'Office of the President-Elect'- has a more imaginary office ever existed?

Posted by: rupertornelius | December 5, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Nice ideas, zouk, but how exactly are you pronouncing 'Peace'?

Posted by: rupertornelius | December 5, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"why the secrecy? If it were me, I would simply show my transcripts and allow the release of the original."

Yeah, I don't think Obama even went to college!

Posted by: DDAWD | December 5, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

That's part of the reason why Obama's hard core supporters, which would include most members of the mainstream media, haven't had much to say about the fact that he has already started rapidly backing off his campaign promises on everything from the windfall profits tax to the Bush tax cuts, to a rapid withdrawal from Iraq. Of course, many of Obama's supporters were so ignorant of what he stands for that they probably have no idea he's breaking his promises in the first place. After all, since Obama seems to be trying to bring everybody who ran against him into his administration, he might as well create a Department of Peace for Kucinich to run, put Chris Dodd in charge of HUD, and hire John Edwards to be Bill Clinton's wingman at sorority parties. Speaking of the Clintons, with all the Clinton staffers Obama is hiring, you have to wonder how many of these people will ultimately be loyal to Hopey McChange and how many of them will secretly support Slick Willie and the Wicked Witch of New York?

Remember the Obama supporter who famously said she was backing him because,

"I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car, I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, If I help him, he's gonna help me."

That's the problem with promising to be all things to all people in order to get elected: if you actually win that way, they expect you to pay up.

So, before we carve Barack Obama's face right there on Mt. Rushmore beside of Abe Lincoln, perhaps we should wait to see if he's as good at tackling this country's very real problems as he is at raising money, reading speeches off a teleprompter, and chucking his former friends and allies under the bus.

Broken promises - the Lib mantra

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 5, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse


Let's just see the ORIGINAL birth certificate and the transcripts from Columbia - along with Obama's financial aid applications for college and graduate schools. That is not too much to ask.


Let's just see the document. Obama is holding back.

If there is no problem, then he should not be holding back, right?

Stop all this, you are substituting your own reasoning and trust for the REAL DOCUMENTS - some of us would rather see the actual documents.




Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 5, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

the same old Libs who refused to believe that slick willie was doing interns, until the dress came back from the lab. common sense it seems, takes a holiday in Lib circles.

why the secrecy? If it were me, I would simply show my transcripts and allow the release of the original. but not Mr. change. Instead, we get "Deploy the lawyers." stonewall, stall, obfuscate, etc. you know, same as the clintons. come to think of it, there is a lot that has been Xeroxed from the criminal conspiracy known as the clintons.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 5, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

These are my last comments about the whole citizenship canard. I promise.

First, note that the people pushing these arguments throw up not one, but several (often contradictory) scenarios. Born in Kenya, given Indonesian citizenship, etc. That's throwing mud and seeing what sticks.

Second, I presume that if Obama showed an original document he found in Grandma's attic, you would demand verification from the Hawaii authorities. And yet you will not accept their verification now.

And third, if you really believe this is true, and you really believe in the patriotism or ability of ANY of the actual GOP leadership, please explain why none of THEM is filing a lawsuit?

Posted by: mikeinmidland | December 5, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

It is my hope that Eric Holder will not be confirmed to the AG post. Much of this may well depend on a Spector/Leahey agreement. These 2 have worked hard on judicial & constitutional law & appointments for years. Spector is a Republican & Leahey is a Democrat, but this is a true example of bi-partisanship that Obama can learn from. If Leahey & Spector believe Holder to be capable, he will likely be confirmed easily...even with the bickering of conservatives like myself. However, if Spector & Leahey believe there are problems with Holder his appointment will likely not go smooth and he may not even be confirmed.

I saw an article yesterday entailing Barney Frank poking fun of Obama for all of his "post partisan" talk. Frank suggested that working with Republicans gives him "post partisan depression." This is a man who will be a major factor in writing the US tax codes...and working with Republican's gives him post partisan depression? Now, I realize Frank will never be defeated in his congressional region, and unless some House Democrat is able to beat him out (doubtful) for his ways & means committe gravel he will likely be in that spot until R's regain control of the House again. Now, I realize that Barney Frank to the Right is the left's James Inhofe (Republican Oklahoma senator), but man what power that partisan hack Barney Frank has! Bad for our nation!

Posted by: reason5 | December 5, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

As for this week's Line-- I think you're on pretty solid ground, Chris. The negative buzz (such as it is) lies most heavily on Eric Holder. Still, I don't see him not being confirmed; the Rich pardon is "inside the Beltway" fare and long forgotten except by the most partisan among us.

Posted by: dbitt | December 5, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

37thOStreetRules struggles for relevance...

Posted by: dbitt | December 5, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse


I can't argue much with your ranking, but I suspect that if there is any substantial challenge, it will be to one of those not-yet-nominated. BO is being very careful with his picks, and whatever people are saying, there's not much there in the way of scandal or undue influence.

As for this crap about Obama's birth-certificate, the Supreme Court is not deciding a case today. They are deciding whether to even HEAR a case, and the claim (this time) is that BO Sr applied for dual citizenship for his son. Not that he was born in Kenya.

When this case is thrown out, will the conspiracy-theorists shut up? NO. Will they EVER shut up? NO. Do they matter? NO.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | December 5, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Bush assembled a team of all-stars, and they failed. This was a failure of leadership - there was not central vision- thus no chemistry. ............

Posted by: glclark4750 | December 5, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"a constant repetition of the one thing she has been told."

hope, hope, change, change

rinse, repeat

If the messiah thinks everyones kids should be stuck in their local failing public school, how come his darlings are off to Sidwell Friends while the rest can eat shirt.

Taxes and public schools, those are for the rest of you.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 5, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse





I really do not believe it is too much to ask for the documents - if what Obama says is true, there should be no problem.



The "factchecker" website is run by Annenberg, the same group that William Ayers is from, and that Obama sat on the border of - so that "factchecker" website is NOT neutral _ it is the WEATHER UNDERGROUND PEOPLE.

Not for nothing, however the Weather Underground is about to have their MOLE in the White House.

If you ask me, you guys are the wingnuts.





Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 5, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I see 37thOStreetRules is at it again. She just doesn't give up, does she? She must suffer from some mental quirk causing a constant repetition of the one thing she has been told. Interesting case study for a clinician.

Posted by: lowercaselarry | December 5, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Seeing as how Gates will in fact need to be confirmed, I see him moving up the list a little.

The Dems have a large majority, and Gates is a Bush administration holdover. He'll have to face questions about his strategy in Iraq and his plan for Afghanistan.

I think he'll get through, but he'll likely get grilled more than Geithner or Napolitano.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 5, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

he keeps trying to keep the birth certificate "conspiracy" alive.


the supreme court is reviewing this today. I think that qualifies for alive. Maybe moveon can take this as their new cause, - to ignore the rules in the constitution - again.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 5, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I love reading 37thOStreetRules' comments. They remind me exactly why I voted the way I did. Plus, its hilarious that he keeps trying to keep the birth certificate "conspiracy" alive. Why bother going to RedState when RedState can come to you!

Posted by: alkuth | December 5, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I so much appreciate all the white space 37th adds in. Makes it so much easier to page down past those posts.

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 5, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

The gist of the accusations is that Mr. Obama was born in Kenya and his Hawaiian birth certificate is fraudulent, that it was filed through a loophole in Hawaii law that allows a birth to U.S. citizens in a foreign country to be registered as a live birth in Hawaii. The Obama campaign released a copy of the birth certificate, but not the original, and Hawaii officials, citing privacy concerns, said no one could see the original unless Mr. Obama authorized access, which he has not done.

This has led to furious speculation on the Internet that Mr. Obama's parents returned to Hawaii with him shortly after his birth and simply registered his Kenyan birth certificate, certified by the doctor who delivered him and by the hospital where he was born, with the Hawaii Department of Health. Why, these skeptics ask, won't the president-elect authorize release of the original Hawaii certificate and squelch speculation once and for all?

It's a good question, though lack of his asking doesn't prove anything

Wes Pruden the times (the honest one)

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 5, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse


Great injustices --
arguably, even crimes against humanity -- are being committed on the domestic front in the name of "keeping America safe."

Eric Holder already has stated that it is his intention to do all he can to keep America safe AND to uphold the Constitution -- and that there is no contradiction or conflict in achieving those dual goals.

This scares the stuffing out of those bureaucrats, famous and faceless, who are responsible for affronts to the Constitution and to human rights being committed under the aegis of programs and policies enacted or expanded by the Bush administration.

No wonder the GOP is sharpening its knives over the Holder appointment. Clarence Thomas' campaign against the President-elect in the Supreme Court fits into this narrative.

But it won't work -- to borrow a phrase from the Obama stump speech, "not this time. Not this year." Those who have made a mockery of the rule of law must, and will, be brought to account.


Not as long as government-supported extrajudicial targeting squads are "community stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 5, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Typical Dem "leadership" leads to the usual Lib results:

The Politico reports that Rep. Charles Rangel, the New York Democrat, paid his son nearly $80,000 for two "poorly designed" campaign websites. (Snip) Here's an excerpt from the website that was set up by the congressman's leadership PAC: Attention: Please excuse our website. Our site is undergoing routine maintenace [sic]. The site's menu has been deactivated, certain links have been disabled, and much of our content is currently unavailable. Thanks you for your patience.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 5, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Of the nominees so far, the only one that has disappointed me was Eric Holder. I don't know why Obama chose to saddle himself with the Marc Rich baggage.

I was hoping for Artur Davis or Patrick Fitzgerald and who knows, if Holder goes down, maybe we WILL see either of those two.

Posted by: Bondosan | December 5, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The reality check with the Rich pardon is that there is a rational case to make that his tax filings were valid and almost certainly not criminal. Someone was trying to make a name for themselves for going after a big fish, regardless of the facts.

The fact that his wife was a Democratic contributor does not disqualify anyone from being considered for a pardon. As for dAG Holder's role, the worst that could be said is that maybe he should have mentioned that there would be serious political repercussions with a pardon. But my guess is that his job was to view the situation from a purely legal standpoint.

So the reality is that Marc Rich didn't commit a crime.

Posted by: cyberfool | December 5, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Just a technicality, Mr. Fix, hardly worth mentioning. But what the hey.

You've got Daschle and Clinton tied for 4th. With only Holder and Richardson ahead of them, they are, in fact, tied for 3rd.

This does not mean that Napolitano moves up to 4th. She remains in 5th, as there are 4 people ahead of her.

Yeah, I know, I know, there are more important things to discuss than this, but as I said, it's a technicality.

Hardly worth mentioning.

Posted by: dognabbit | December 5, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

ALSO Obama is hiding his College transcripts and grades - these documents and his financial aid applications - MAY reveal that he went to college as a FOREIGN STUDENT - on an INDONESIAN PASSPORT.
Goodness, is this the best you can come up with?
You see, this is why power just seems to be slipping farther and farther from the conservatives, they live in a fantasy world. You have been to court, how many times now with this fantasy, and nobody will give you a court order that would force Hawaii to answer the question one way or another because it's already been answered.
It's like that "the WMDs got move to Syria on Islamic stealth trucks" argument a couple of years ago or the "Iraq is a clear and growing threat" from a few years earlier. Clinton was a murderer, Gore was a Chicom spy, Kerry was a VC spy and Obama is an illegal alien. At what point do you guys realize your a pack of loose nuts? You never have proof, just more wild, baseless accusations.

Posted by: dijetlo | December 5, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

A better post: ranking the chances of decent human beings like Bayh, Sebelius, McCaskill getting in the cabinet.

Posted by: rupertornelius | December 5, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

From The Lipman Times (The New All-Obama Coverage Daily Newspaper):

States Struggle to Move Away from Oil

By Nathan Barten on December 5, 2008

With more groups working to fight climate change, many states are investing in renewable energy sources, creating green jobs and trying to emit less carbon. Many, however, are struggling to move forward fast enough to meet their own goals, reports the New York Times:

More than half the states have adopted formal green-energy goals. In many states the policies, known as renewable portfolio standards, are too new to be evaluated. But so far the number of successes and failures is “sort of a 50-50 kind of affair,” said Ryan Wiser, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and co-author of a recent report on the targets.

Many hope that when President-elect Barack Obama takes office, he will institute a nation-wide standard and funding, helping all states work towards an obtainable goal...


Posted by: caraprado1 | December 5, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Boring....what's the point if they will all be confirmed.

Posted by: diplomat111 | December 5, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Really, Cillizza? This is what we're spending our time on? They're all going to get confirmed, who cares where they're ranked?

Posted by: DukeStinks | December 5, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"Holder's another story and he may have a rocky road and only with the Rich pardon. Comments after 9-11 are troubling as well. Mr. Fix, you got it about right."

What comments about 9/11?

Posted by: DDAWD | December 5, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

A bunch of Clinton era holdovers. Change you can believe in.

Posted by: RobT1 | December 5, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Defense Secretary Gates DOES need to be confirmed. Every member of an incoming president's cabinet as to be reconfirmed, even an incumbent president. Therefore, even though Gates is currently Defense Secretary, he will need to be reconfirmed when President-Elect Obama takes office as president.

Posted by: jonathnaleshin | December 5, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the someone escaped the "nut house" overnight. Obama's citizenship issue was settled 47 years ago in Honolulu where he was born to an American citizen, Stanley Ann Dunham. What a crock.

Clinton may have problems not so much from the Senate, but from the right wing "lug nuts" who could push the issue that only a Constitutional ammendment would solve the issue. That would have to wind its way through the court system and would take forever. Not saying it will happen, but anything's possible.

Holder's another story and he may have a rocky road and only with the Rich pardon. Comments after 9-11 are troubling as well. Mr. Fix, you got it about right.

Posted by: NotBubba | December 5, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Please Hillary Screw up!! CHEER!!!!
Please BiLL Screw up!Whoopie!
1. Hillary ran a poor campaign against Obama, she should have dropped out long before she created so much debt. OBAMA has already given her the Secretary of State job now she is asking him/donors for more handouts. The Clinton's are so self serving, no one told her to run that long.... campaign against Obama.
As one of his donors, was shocked at the email from him asking to help her.(what nerv)
She had really be thankful that Obama has been nice enough to help her.

I really hope she screws up, Obama will see her true colors and will have to finally get rid of her.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | December 5, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse





The photocopy of the document you see on the internet is NOT Obama's ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE - the State of Hawaii has stated in a written statement that there is ANOTHER BIRTH CERTIFICATE WHICH IS BEING HIDDEN.

Obama could easily sign a waiver and have the State of Hawaii release the ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

It is really that simple. Why haven't the REAL documents been release???

Instead we have a deceptive document produced to the public? (the document you see on the internet is the SAME document issued to babies born outside the country so therefore it DOES NOT prove that Obama is "natural born")

ALSO Obama is hiding his College transcripts and grades - these documents and his financial aid applications - MAY reveal that he went to college as a FOREIGN STUDENT - on an INDONESIAN PASSPORT.


Obama travled to four countries in 1981 including Pakistan, apparently WITHOUT A US PASSPORT. - So what kind of Passport did he use? Could it be an Indonesian passport?

Proving that he was an Indonesian citizen - If his step-father renonunced Obama's American citizenship and made him an Indonesian citizen, it is GAME OVER.


Obama actually could be an ILLEGAL ALIEN WHO SHOULD BE DEPORTED.




Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 5, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

After the last two Attorney Generals the Republicans put up there, the idea they'd balk at Holder is almost laughable. The first question I would have to ask is..."you though Fredo Gonzales was going to be a excellent AG, you claimed Mukaskey was going to be an impartial AG. With a track record like that, why don't you just sit their and nod like a nice idiot?"

Posted by: dijetlo | December 5, 2008 6:58 AM | Report abuse





Clearly this is a Weak Administration - you have all the Obamaniacs on here claiming that Obama is so smart, blah blah blah

However, read the postings about Hillary on this blog....

The appointments so far have been silly - a group of inexperienced blowhart artists who would be rejected by any human resources department in all the major corporations in the country.

Hillary is not qualified, period.

Richardson's performance at the Department of Energy should BAR HIM from all federal government buildings.

Please google the commments of Senator Byrd on Richardson when Richardson testified before Congress on the investigations at the Department of Energy concerning Chinese spying on American nuclear secrets in New Mexico.

Eric Holder did a horrible job at Justice during his years there - he DOES NOT deserve a promotion to head the Department of Justice - the primary motivation in his appointment appears NOT THAT HE IS THE BEST QUALIFIED PERSON TO BE ATTORNEY GENERAL BUT THE COLOR OF HIS SKIN.

Napolitano may have been a good Governor, of a state with border issues, however let's be serious: DOES SHE HAVE ANY EXPERTISE AT ALL IN SECURITY ISSUES ??? Homeland Security has become a fairly important post and it appears that Obama doesn't know what he is doing appointing someone with so little experience in the actual field of HOMELAND SECURITY.

Rahm Emanuel ? As Chief of Staff? Why doesn't Obama just offer it to Bill Clinton himself.

This DOES NOT represent change, and is a little silly to throw back in the faces of all the people who supported Obama in the primaries because they did not want another Clinton administration.


Again, thank you for reading the truth.





Posted by: 37thOStreetRules | December 5, 2008 6:44 AM | Report abuse

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