Daschle at HHS

Tom Daschle, according to a "source close to Daschle," has been offered and has accepted the cabinet position of Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Update by BTD - As is well known by now, Daschle's wife is a lobbyist. Presumably she will not be working as one now.

Update by TChris - confirmation from Reuters and CNN. The latter source adds this: [more ...]

Most significantly, Daschle negotiated that he will also serve as the White House health "czar" — or point person — so that he will report directly to the incoming President. The significance is this guarantees that by wearing two hats Daschle, and not White House staffers, will be writing the health care plan that Obama submits to Congress next year.

CNN also reports that Daschle is "technically" not a lobbyist but, as BTD reported above, his wife is a lobbyist for a firm that, per CNN, has "some health clients."

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    So much for no lobbyists. n/t (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by LarryInNYC on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:40:08 AM EST

    No vetting to come? (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:44:01 AM EST
    No question about spouses?

    That's crazy talk (5.00 / 8) (#6)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:45:25 AM EST
    Extensive vetting and concern about a spouse's activities are reserved for those in the Clinton family.

    No- vetting is happening for everyone (none / 0) (#19)
    by samtaylor2 on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:57:02 AM EST
    The press just cares about the Clintons

    The press and much of the blogosphere (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:58:38 AM EST
    That's the annoying part.  Obviously everyone is being vetted.

    The press aren't the only ones. (none / 0) (#76)
    by Pegasus on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 06:00:37 PM EST
    Two sides to every coin and all that.

    Well. . . (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by LarryInNYC on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:45:42 AM EST
    it's not like he has a spouse taking a million dollars a year from folks with an interest in the branch of government he'll be overseeing, or anything.



    Right! (none / 0) (#56)
    by Pepe on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:27:14 PM EST
    It appears she is a lobbyist for the airlines industry and refrained from lobbying congress on airline matters when Daschle was in the Senate. In addition to any government lobbying she helps businesses "outside the public policy arena, looking for her advice to initiate business-to-business relationships and identify strategic partners for new ventures".

    I see no conflicts there at first blush. Health and Human Services. There is no conflict whatsoever with Health and Airlines and the other areas she is involved in that I see. Human Services entails 'income security' so there could be a question mark there but in all likelihood anything having to do with airline labor negotiations most likely falls under the auspicious of the Labor Secretary.

    So no Larry it does not appear that she will present a problem.


    And on second thought (none / 0) (#64)
    by Pepe on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:41:45 PM EST
    let me add to this previous part of my post"

    Human Services entails 'income security' so there could be a question mark there but in all likelihood anything having to do with airline labor negotiations most likely falls under the auspicious of the Labor Secretary.

    I'm not even sure on second thought that she is involved in 'labor negotiations' for airlines. They may have other people who specialize in that.

    So the takeaway here is until we know exactly what areas she does lobby in we can't just broad brush her as an evil lobbyist - which of course just being a lobbyist does not make you evil in the first place. And remember Obama has already said he will allow former lobbyists into the executive branch.

    In fact Axlerod previously said on This Week that there would be a two year window of non-lobbying before one could work in the Executive. We now know that weeks latter that got reduced to one year. So Obama has backed way off his pandering populist campaign rhetoric.


    Lobbying Contracts, like (none / 0) (#78)
    by KeysDan on Thu Nov 20, 2008 at 11:48:21 AM EST
    money, can be fungible.

    Since this story (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by TChris on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:51:14 AM EST
    seems to still be in the "unconfirmed rumor" category, we might have to wait awhile before we get to the unconfirmed vetting rumors.

    I updated your post (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:52:41 AM EST
    to note that Daschle's wife is a lobbyist.

    If you wrote a post (none / 0) (#7)
    by CST on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:45:38 AM EST
    I'm sure someone would comment :)

    Bill and Hill will always be better political theater than any Tom, Joe or Harry.


    I updated Chris's post (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:53:08 AM EST
    with what I consider inmportant information.

    A lobbyist (none / 0) (#58)
    by Pepe on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:30:27 PM EST
    in a field unrelated to HHS. You may have wanted to point that out.

    turns out... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Salo on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:55:50 AM EST
    ...he's a fan of the NHS. So this is a good thing potentially.  And if he holds his nerve we might get what I wanted (yes I) out of this election season.

    This is a real development (none / 0) (#2)
    by Salo on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:41:06 AM EST
    what is his rhetorical possition on healthcare?

    Do you mean: does he ascribe (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:43:25 AM EST
    to UHC?

    heh he's actually a fan of single payer (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Salo on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:57:25 AM EST
    and the British NHS. So he's serious about the issue at least.

    One good appointment if he's actually committed about the issue.


    CDS on dkos (shocking, I know) (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by DaveOinSF on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:43:12 AM EST
    Notice that with both Holder and Daschle, President-elect Obama has apparently offered the post, and the post has been accepted. No mess, no fuss.

    And yet again (5.00 / 7) (#10)
    by Steve M on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:46:54 AM EST
    the same people who insist on creating the drama proceed to complain about it.

    Isn't it ironic (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Landulph on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:51:38 AM EST
    that the blogosphere was originally created to counteract the inanity of the MSM, and now appears to be content with replicating it to the Nth degree?

    They have way (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by lilburro on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:55:15 AM EST
    way too much confidence in Obama over there.  I was trying to see if there was any buzz about my new BFF John Brennan earlier this morning.  I found a few entries.  But no worries!  Obama is a brilliant man and he will undoubtedly make the right decisions.  

    I just don't understand the lack of urgency about these appointments.


    Where's the lack of urgency? (none / 0) (#24)
    by TChris on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:00:29 PM EST
    It seems to me the selection process is moving swiftly, certainly much more swiftly than it did after Bill Clinton was elected.

    I'm not referring to Obama (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by lilburro on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:08:37 PM EST
    picking his people.  I am referring to the lack of urgency round yon blogosphere as far as learning more about the characters on Obama's transition team and who might be tapped for important roles.  There was such an outcry about Lieberman.  Seems (to me) that that energy could now be directed to Brennan and Micsik and other advisory figures.  

    The urgency (none / 0) (#33)
    by bluegal on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:13:31 PM EST
    would be there if there were actual confirmed reports on Brennan. Holder is confirmed and now is Daschle.

    Brennan is not confirmed but mostly speculation on the part of a couple of media outlets.


    Brennan is part of the transition team. (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by lilburro on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:19:06 PM EST
    The head of it actually.

    There's no question in my mind that he's angling for a job.  If Brennan is appointed head of the CIA what are you going to say then?  Oh no, how did this happen?


    Transition team (none / 0) (#42)
    by bluegal on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:26:11 PM EST
    He may be angling for a job but it doesn't mean that he will get it. Most likely there are going to be a good number of folks on the transition team who end up not working in the administration. Being on the team is also good for resume building.

    If he is confirmed on both sides that he is getting a job like Daschle and Holder, then let's talk; otherwise, it is just a waste of time and unnecessary angst.


    Yes, definitely (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:30:15 PM EST
    Let's not worry until after it has already happened.

    Horse. Barn door.


    You do realize (none / 0) (#51)
    by bluegal on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:43:24 PM EST
    that all of these people actually have to have confirmation hearings which means that there will be plenty of time to "lobby" one way or another. My feeling is why get in a huff over unconfirmed rumors at the beginning of a fairly long selection and confirmation process.

    Because it could be damaging (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:30:22 PM EST
    to Obama to have a fight over confirmations.  Better that he gets the appointments right first.

    We know he's bad now (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by lilburro on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:36:53 PM EST
    why not say something now?

    If Brennan is appointed it will be too late.  The only people who will oppose him are libertarians and real lefties.  And we're in short supply of those in Congress.


    "That, in my mind, met my basic concerns. And given that all the information I've received is that the underlying program itself actually is important and useful to American security, as long as it has these constraints on them, I felt it was more important for me to go ahead and support this compromise," Obama said.

    What's important in that statement is Obama's reference to "the information I've received." He's advised on intelligence matters by John Brennan, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Like many intelligence professionals, Brennan says the FISA program is essential to the fight against terrorism.

    Amy Goodman just did an EXCELLENT Democracy Now program on him.  He's a scary guy.


    Can you think of anyone (none / 0) (#52)
    by samtaylor2 on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:05:09 PM EST
    Who could head up the CIA who isn't a scarry person.  In fact, having a scarry person heading the CIA might not be the worst thing (as long as they play by the rules that the president elect has set which is NO TORTURE)

    I wrote a diary (none / 0) (#54)
    by lilburro on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:11:08 PM EST
    on the subject.  My answer is Rand Beers.

    Signed onto the Campaign to Ban Torture.  Runs an organization, the National Security Network, that is against warrantless wiretapping and torture as part of its mission.  

    We don't have to swallow Bush's cronies - there are other much much better choices.  And I am sure there are even better choices than Beers out there.  

    He is on Obama's homeland security transition team.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#61)
    by samtaylor2 on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:36:55 PM EST
    This one is actually good... (none / 0) (#35)
    by Salo on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:15:20 PM EST

    Here's some blurb on the book and we should have seen it coming maybe.


    here it is (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Salo on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:16:01 PM EST
    "I may not agree with some of the political statements but Senator Daschle is right on target on the need to start a serious dialogue on health care for Americans.  His thoughtful health-care proposals will move the process forward.  Senator Daschle and I agree on the need for nonpartisanship in coming to grips with this number one domestic problem." --Bob Dole, former Senate majority leader
    "The American health-care system is in crisis, and workable solutions have been blocked for years by deeply entrenched ideological divisions. Sen. Daschle brings fresh thinking to this problem, and his Federal Reserve for Health concept holds great promise for bridging this intellectual chasm and, at long last, giving this nation the health care it deserves." --Senator Barack Obama (IL)
     "This book provides real solutions for America's broken health care system." --Senator Harry Reid (NV), Senate majority leader
    "Critical provides answers to one of the most vexing challenges of our time." --John Podesta, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress and a former White House chief of staff
    "It is a must-read." --Jerome H. Grossman M.D., senior fellow and director of the Health Care Delivery Project at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government
    "Senator Daschle adds to his reputation as a clear thinker and leader. Critical shows us not only why we must solve our health care crisis but that--with political will--we can." --Judy Feder, professor and dean at Georgetown Public Policy Institute

    I think "urgency" = "concern" (none / 0) (#27)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:03:04 PM EST
    I agree the transition is proceeding quickly so far, which is a good thing.

    Do you really think that the (none / 0) (#46)
    by hairspray on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:28:55 PM EST
    Clinton years required as much urgency as what we have today?  I don't recall our financial system in as much turnoil as today. Not comparable.  Also, Clinton didn't have as many good experienced people around to tap. He was defintely an outsider.

    As I understand it, (5.00 / 5) (#50)
    by TChris on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:41:05 PM EST
    Clinton acknowledges that he should have moved more quickly, at least in picking a chief of staff, and he passed that advice on to Obama. I credit Obama for learning from Clinton's transitional mistakes, and Clinton for his willingness to admit them.

    Another nothing (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by koshembos on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:58:34 AM EST
    Daschle was a miserable failure as majority and minority leader. He started the Democrats on the yes sir tour that hasn't stopped yet.

    Why would let this guy run a big store let alone HHS that decimated by Bush?

    I don't disagree (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by TChris on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:05:35 PM EST
    about his poor political skills, but leading an executive agency is quite a different task than leading a political party in a legislative body.  Whether Daschle is up to it or not, I don't know, but I'm not convinced that his job performance in the Senate is a good predictor of his performance in the cabinet.

    I guess my greater concern (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:15:17 PM EST
    would be his abilities in the reported "health care czar" role for him.  There, his political skills will be important.  You are certainly right that heading an agency is different from leading the Senate.

    In Daschles defense... (none / 0) (#31)
    by Salo on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:10:06 PM EST
    ...he didn't have much to work with after 9/11.  That had to suck especially after the triumphal Jeffords defection.

    Not only that (none / 0) (#37)
    by bluegal on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:16:39 PM EST
    Daschle had  rather complicated problems with his own electorate in SD which IMO, made it hard for him to be effective as a leader.  

    He'll probably be effective in the HHS position where he only has to worry about one person and his job, Obama.


    This is what Im hoping. Still worried though. (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by Thanin on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 02:03:39 PM EST
    posible answer... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Salo on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:00:35 PM EST
    My thoughts exactly (none / 0) (#40)
    by shoephone on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:20:14 PM EST
    He was a milquetoast. Pathetically ineffective. It escapes me why he is deemed to be the most qualified person for this particular position.

    Oh, wait. He wrote a book. I guess that makes him an expert.


    Anybody but Hillary Clinton? (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:26:37 PM EST
    Dare I suggest (none / 0) (#68)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 02:21:45 PM EST
    Elizabeth Edwards?  She's been working on healthcare for Podesta think tank.

    Too late now, I gather. (none / 0) (#70)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 02:46:39 PM EST
    well no... (none / 0) (#48)
    by Salo on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:31:04 PM EST
    ...the book gives a reasonable clue to his ideological and policy leanings. He appears to have praised the Canadian and British systems, it's verifiable writing.  

    He did have the problem of 9/11 and a rampant GOP to contend with.  It's not like the guys who are going to run the GOP in the next 3 years will have much of a voice--They will look very much like Daschle did in 2002. It's no surprise that Daschle was hard pressed at the time. The executive and the house could always outnumber his senate efforts and VP Cheney could break any tie in the Senate.  Daschle, for better or worse, very quickly identified the rising star and great hope of the party (Obama [even if he turns out to be a rightwing trojan horse]) at a stage that many saw as absurd. And now we have a workable majority in all branches of government. So it was a fairly good pick.


    With all due respect to you, Salo (none / 0) (#75)
    by shoephone on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 05:48:20 PM EST
    Even allowing for the 9-11 circumstances, I always remembered Daschle as a wimp
    in every single situation, despite the GOP's ridiculous attmepts to paint him as an "obstructionist". He was not a fighter. He did not inspire confidence (not in me, anyway). I don't think the same can be said for any of the recent Republican Senate leaders. Trent Lott and Mitch McConnell are corrupt and creepy, but they do not back down under pressure. They fight. That's what's been missing from Daschle.

    I don't know anything about his book on health care. I've just never heard anyone -- up until now -- touting him as any kind of expert on the issue.


    I'd like Dean to get a cabinet spot (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by magster on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:12:28 PM EST
    and thought this might have been the one for him.  Booman has an optimistic take on this.

    I never liked Daschle myself.  I thought he was a very weak Senate leadeer.

    Perhaps interior? (none / 0) (#60)
    by flyerhawk on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:35:03 PM EST
    Seems like a good role for him.  I would be surprised if he gets shut out unless he doesn't want a job.

    TChris (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:18:40 PM EST
    CNN ALSO reports that Daschle's wife is leaving that firm and forming her own and will not be involved in health care issues.

    I think that is a very reasonable step.

    For me, that settles the issue.

    No corporate lobbyist. . . (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by LarryInNYC on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:27:39 PM EST
    could possibly not be interested in health care, especially the issue of mandates.

    Many if not all Corps (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Pepe on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 03:24:44 PM EST
    are very interested in health care, particularly Single Payer Universal Health Care. You see Uni Health Care takes the financial burden off the backs of companies and spreads the cost across everyone in the nation. It makes companies more competitive and/or more profitable.

    So yep - they are interested alright. And if what it takes to get us Single Payer is lobbyists pushing for it on behalf of corporations then bring it on.


    I take them at their word (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:28:41 PM EST
    She is doing exactly the right thing. (none / 0) (#59)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:33:42 PM EST
    She has to set up shop on her own so she can control her client list - there is no other way to do that.  This is the antithesis of Mark Penn staying on at Bursting Marshmallow and active with other clients whilst working on Clinton's campaign.

    Also, it would be interesting to see who her healthcare clients were.  Not everyone in the healthcare industry is opposed to universal single-payer healthcare.  It is important to keep that in mind in the vetting process.


    Bursting Marshmallow! (none / 0) (#72)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 03:16:50 PM EST
    Hee-hee!  Very funny!  Did you make that up, or is it common in PR consultant circles?

    It was common usage for those (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by inclusiveheart on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 06:10:13 PM EST
    of us who were in rival firms.

    "Health Czar"? (5.00 / 5) (#41)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:24:52 PM EST
    If a "health czar" is at all equivalent to the "drug czar", we don't want or need one.

    Just work on healthcare Daschle, please don't start public dis-service announcements,  such as "this is your fat arse on double cheeseburgers."

    Oh man... (none / 0) (#69)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 02:35:09 PM EST
    ...I sooo wish it were possible for me to get a fat arse (or anything else) by consuming double cheeseburgers!  

    Cable: Not the promised change (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by magster on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:06:07 PM EST
    with all these DC insider appointments.  

    Are there any "outsider" picks out there, like an ex-Democratic governor or big city mayor?

    O/T Waxman wins steering committee vote over Dingell :)

    daley or Blago? (none / 0) (#62)
    by Salo on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:38:35 PM EST
    I also saw Corzine's name (none / 0) (#66)
    by magster on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:58:32 PM EST
    for Treasurer since I posted my comment.

    For health care reform (none / 0) (#74)
    by denise k on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 03:26:47 PM EST
    An insider is the best hope for health care reform.  Someone who can go in and twist arms.  The Lyndon Johnson executive model if you will.  LBJ was the Majority Leader when he became VP.  If he had not been, there would have been no Civil Rights legislation.  He knew how to get things done in the Senate.  Daschle is hardly Lyndon Johnson, but the idea behind it still holds.  As a former Democratic leader in the Senate he will have a headstart on getting health care reform passed.  (I hope.)

    I wonder how they plan to roll out (none / 0) (#9)
    by lilburro on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:45:53 AM EST
    their Department of Defense choices.  That is when heads are going to explode (including mine).  

    As far as Daschle goes, his record on abortion is not great.  But otherwise I am sure he will lead the Department back into the arms of science.

    Do you expect Gates to stay? (none / 0) (#11)
    by CST on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:49:36 AM EST
    I imagine he will.

    I am conflicted.  I don't trust anyone associated with Bush.  But after the Rummy debacle, anyone looks good.  But especially Gates.


    NY Times Confirms Appt. (none / 0) (#16)
    by mmc9431 on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 11:54:56 AM EST
    I just got an e-mail alert from NY Times confirming his appt.

    Can't top that. But here's the (none / 0) (#71)
    by oculus on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 02:59:45 PM EST
    e mail headline I ust received from University of Michigan:

    No honeymoon
    Rich Rodriguez has called his first season as U-M's football coach the hardest in his career. But he's faced longer odds in his life.



    I know nothing about health care (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:02:40 PM EST

    Daschle appears to have written a book (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Salo on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 12:05:39 PM EST
    on the subject. So he's probably qualified. Unless the book is simply full of bromides.

    Here's a question (none / 0) (#55)
    by mg7505 on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:14:27 PM EST
    What will be the biggest political challenge(s) of this job? Will it be facing down the lobbyists? Getting Congress to agree on something? Getting the media to like a single-payer system? Only after answering this question can we determine whether Daschle is the man for the job. I happen to think he isn't the best candidate.

    That's what (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Salo on Wed Nov 19, 2008 at 01:48:28 PM EST
    Obama is for. He's the media darling and he's the magick...lol