Taking Responsibility

Refreshing candor from an American president:

“I’ve got to own up to my mistake, which is that ultimately it’s important for this administration to send a message that there aren’t two sets of rules,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with NBC News. “You know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes.” ...

He added, “I’m here on television saying I screwed up and that’s part of the era of responsibility.”

After living for eight years with a president who could admit no mistakes, Obama's frank admission of "screwing up" is change for the good.

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    in his defense, (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by cpinva on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:43:15 AM EST
    it was incumbent upon daschle to let him know, beforehand, of his issues. that's on daschle.

    Do we really know (none / 0) (#50)
    by joanneleon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:27:12 PM EST
    how long ago Daschle revealed this problem?

    I could be wrong, but I believe (5.00 / 4) (#52)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:43:11 PM EST
    he revealed it when he paid the taxes in early January, even though he had known since October that this issue was out there.  Maybe his thinking was that if he could make it all go away, he'd never have to say anything, I don't know.

    Certainly, Daschle did not handle this well, and it did put Obama in a difficult position.  Remember, though, that the Geithner news was already out there, so now Obama's got two nominees with tax problems, one of whom, though not a registered lobbyist (details, details), has been consulting for firms who would be affected by his appointment, and he has the bigger elephant-in-the-room of his constant speechifying about ethics and not having lobbyists in the administration, etc.

    Obama never took control of these things, never took action, just stood off to the side watching Geithner get confirmed, and by all accounts, believed Daschle was going to sail through, too.

    Had Killefer not withdrawn her name, I believe Daschle would still be the nominee, but her withdrawal - the example of someone doing the right thing - put the rest of them to shame, and forced Daschle's hand.  Obama?  He does not seem to have been prepared to do anything.

    I find that a little scary.


    Actually (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:44:56 PM EST
    Daschle knew about this last June.

    Here's the link (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:50:39 PM EST
    So, it took him seven months (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:24:00 PM EST
    to tell Obama.

    Guess he thought that as one of the kingmakers, he was untouchable; ya just gotta love the special people.


    On the other hand, (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 03:35:45 PM EST
    Obama could have been told in June and just brushed it off as nothing to worry about..."innocent mistake" was how Obama characterized it in his message to America.

    He knows just when to step up and grab the kudos from the segment of the population that only hear the bold and the brave words from him. I'm a bit more cynical about him than that. I think he used the opportunity to his advantage.

    Is he going to wind up with a group of appointees who are as ethical as we can expect simply because his first choices were publicly weeded out in the vetting process?


    Hey, he's "prominent." (none / 0) (#68)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:25:46 PM EST
    Don't forget.... (none / 0) (#70)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 03:30:41 PM EST
    "too big to fail" and "too important not to make an exception"...:)

    It's interesting how concerned (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by ThatOneVoter on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:43:18 AM EST
    he is with process and appearance, compared to any other President I have seen. I have read comparisons of his views of what government should be to what Dukakis thought, however.
    For myself, I don't care about appearances; I want results.

    What a joke (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by cotton candy on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:55:01 AM EST
    Did you miss Bill Clinton's term?  He was obsessed with appearances and we did quite well with him in power.

    The last eight years we had a President who didn't give a damn about appearances or anyone but himself and his cronies. What did we get in return--two wars and a failed economy.

    I'll gladly take Obama's approach any day.


    They're all concerned with appearances (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by cal1942 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:20:22 AM EST
    Inasmuch as Clinton is concerned have you forgotten the ongoing faux-scandal dejour. Few Presidents have had to put up with the level of ongoing, organized assaults that Clinton had to overcome all the while running one of the, if not the, cleanest administrations in our history.

    How did you miss the Bush admimnistration's fetish for appearances. Have you forgotten the camera angles at Mt. Rushmore, the Mission Accomplished action hero charade.

    Obama is putting up appearances as well and this is HIS version.

    What the country needs is results and it appears, so far, that Obama may well have a different idea about what results count.


    Based on what? (none / 0) (#22)
    by cotton candy on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:29:26 AM EST
    The man has been in office for what, 14 days.  If Bush was so concerned about appearances we would not be in Iraq and Katrina would have been handled much differently.  The only appearance that Bush was concerned about was "I'm the decider so screw you."  

    I think it is far to early to judge Obama's "results" given how short of time he has been in office.  The full extent of Bill Clinton's results were not evident until the end of his second term.


    What? (4.25 / 4) (#66)
    by cal1942 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:25:06 PM EST
    The full extent of Bill Clinton's results were not evident until the end of his second term.

    How old are you?

    Unemployment rate continued dropping through both terms. People tended to notice that.

    When a President, in this case Obama, pushes a cabinet secretary nomination after he's told the nomination wouldn't get a filibuster proof Senate but explains that it's more important to have a bi-partisan cabinet than have a bullet-proof Senate, I tend to wonder what results he's after whether he's been in office for two weeks or four years.


    Did you not read my statement? (2.00 / 1) (#69)
    by cotton candy on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:45:35 PM EST
    I said the FULL extent of his term was not realized until the end of his second term. The same could be said of W. given that he was reelected in 2004 albeit by a very small margin.  

    When a President, in this case Obama, pushes a cabinet secretary nomination after he's told the nomination wouldn't get a filibuster proof Senate but explains that it's more important to have a bi-partisan cabinet than have a bullet-proof Senate, I tend to wonder what results he's after whether he's been in office for two weeks or four years

    What are you talking about?  If you are referring to Gregg and reaching 60 you do realize that just because there are 60 members with a D behind their name doesn't mean that they would all vote together.  60 is a great number but you need to realize that those 60 are not going to vote lockstep. I still disagree with your claim that OBama isn't going to be effective.


    To the contrary (5.00 / 6) (#15)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:20:39 AM EST
    I think Pres. Bush cared very much about appearances, which is why he made sure his photo ops were so good.  What he lacked were good results, not good appearances.

    Pres. Obama will do well to focus on policy, not so much on process and appearance. Process and appearance can help, but they are no substitute for good policy.


    I agree (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by cotton candy on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:26:01 AM EST
    but the commenter above was making a snippy remark about how Obama is obsessed with appearances as if it isn't something other Presidents do. Then he/she compares him to Dukakis who didn't even win. Seriously?

    I think TChris is right and I thank him for the post as there is no doubt that Obama should be criticized but after the last eight years, it is definitely nice to see our President admit and take responsibility for mistakes.


    My thoughts exactly. (none / 0) (#23)
    by Fabian on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:31:16 AM EST
    After Bush, people will be looking for substance to go with the patter.  

    Oh and how could I forget (none / 0) (#6)
    by cotton candy on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:55:42 AM EST

    If he is so concerned about (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by weltec2 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:47:21 PM EST
    honesty and transparency he should release the torture evidence ot England as requested. THAT would be admitting that we were VERY wrong.

    To elaborate, I don't believe (none / 0) (#4)
    by ThatOneVoter on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:45:19 AM EST
    that good, upstanding people necessarily make good appointments, or make good laws if they are in Congress. Barney Frank is one of the best legislators around, and yet he had one of the most embarrassing ethical lapses in recent memory---well, at least in the era before the closet door opened on Republicans.

    So, I take this (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by dk on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:44:12 AM EST
    to mean that Geithner will be asked to leave soon?

    Not likely (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by scribe on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:02:36 AM EST
    his excuse for not having paid was better, and other people working in the same place apparently were tripped up by the same regs.

    i disagree. (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by cpinva on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:32:13 PM EST
    his excuse for not having paid was better, and other people working in the same place apparently were tripped up by the same regs.

    as treas. secty., he's responsible for the IRS. no one expects him to know the tax code, but he should be expected to know what parts of his personal service income are taxable. if he doesn't, he should be expected to hire someone who does.

    it's not like this is some unique, brand new issue, it's been around for decades. there are multiple court cases on it. this represents a pretty lax approach to his basic responsibilities, as a citizen of the united states.


    Especially (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:38:45 PM EST
    So, what Obama said (none / 0) (#8)
    by dk on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:05:07 AM EST
    wasn't exactly "candor" eh?  Who woulda thunk it?

    well (none / 0) (#9)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:11:14 AM EST
    compared to the last 16 years it certainly is a step up.`

    the last 16 years?? boo!! (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by ThatOneVoter on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:13:43 AM EST
    My Bad (3.50 / 2) (#18)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:22:11 AM EST
    I should have said the last 28, look Clinton wasa a great president but but candor wasn't his strong suit to say the least.

    Oh, I dunno (none / 0) (#26)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:38:08 AM EST
    I remember Clinton going on the Tonight Show after he gave that stinker of a speech at the Democratic Convention in 1988 and admitting it was awful. It was pretty endearing.

    How so? How is saying (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by dk on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:15:26 AM EST
    you take responsibility while not taking responsibility a step up from not taking resopnsibility while not taking responsibility?  And even if there is some way that it is a step up, how is that associated with candor?  

    I get the sense (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by joanneleon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:36:22 PM EST
    that people believe Geitner made an honest mistake, but that they don't believe Daschle did.  And with Daschle, although it's not being mentioned very much, I think the dealings with health companies and lobbies is as big a problem as the tax issue.

    Did you also know that Leo Hindrey, the man who gave Daschle the car and driver as a gift, was recommended by Daschle for the position of Sec. of Commerce or Trade Representative?

    I think there was more to the Daschle problem than the tax issue.

    On January 30, 2009, it was reported that Hindery's friendship and business partnership with former Sen. Tom Daschle may cause problems for the latter's Senate confirmation for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration. Daschle has been a consultant and advisor to Hindery's InterMedia Partners since 2005, during which time he received from Hindery access to a car and chauffeur. Daschle did not declare this service on his annual tax forms as required by law. (He reportedly paid the three years of owed taxes and interest in January 2009.) According to a Daschle spokeswoman, the former Senator "simply and probably naively considered its use a generous offer" from Hinder, "a longtime friend."
    Leo Hindrey

    All well and good that Daschle is gone (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by scribe on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:12:55 AM EST
    I note two other points, though.

    First, a note that some papers are saying the Chief Performance Officer-designee's withdrawal because she had nanny-tax issues (of under $1,000) was what forced Daschle to pull out, and that had she not done so Obama would have stuck with Daschle and he would have been confirmed.  This, apparently, because boys get to get away with things in D.C.

    I kind of doubt that.  When I read Monday that Obama said he was "absolutely" behind Daschle's nomination, what I heard was "we're behind/with you in showing you to the door out."

    Second, and more seriously, the NYT is predicting that the loss of Daschle will delay "by months" any move on health insurance.  I for one have long thought the promise of universal health care coverage was more of a carrot hanging from a string in front of a horse's nose than anything else - a promise which, for any number of reasonable reasons, will never be fulfilled.  It's real good to keep the troops in line, but once you give it to them, they go deaf to your commands.  So, I was not holding out any great hopes that could be dashed.

    But, nonetheless, if I'm Obama, iand n exchange for the embarrassment he's caused me - making me say "I screwed up" on national TV, embarrassing pictures in the tabloids, etc. - Daschle's going to be doing a lot of pro bono work pushing universal health care through.  Particularly in the Senate.  Like months of full time work, for a dollar.  There must be consequences for embarrassing the President or putting him in an embarrassing position.

    I'm beginning (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Fabian on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:25:25 AM EST
    to think executives use "I'm behind them and they have my full support." as a delaying tactic.  As in "They have to go, but we haven't worked out the details yet.".  It keeps them from having to answer any questions although it does make them look two faced.  Subject closed, next question please!

    It's always been that way (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 03:48:48 PM EST
    first I remember that being used was when McGovern said it about Eagleton. I don't think I was old enough to vote at the time.

    In the sacrament of the electoral campaign, (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Spamlet on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:53:05 AM EST
    the ritual incantation "universal health care" is to the progressive faithful as "sanctity of life" (or "sanctity of marriage)" is to the devout wingnut base. Once the sacrament has been celebrated, everyone returns to ordinary life and ordinary talk until the next campaign.

    I watched the interview with Brian Williams (5.00 / 8) (#12)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:13:54 AM EST
    three times.  And I'm reading the quoted passage above, and I am hard-pressed to agree that Obama has taken responsibility for the Daschle-Killefer- and, yes - Geithner debacle.  Obama was completely hands-off in every case, just standing to one side, doing nothing, saying nothing.

    What he says, above, doesn't even make any sense.  His mistake is that ultimately it's important for the administration to send a message that there aren't two sets of rules?  No, I'm sorry, his mistake is that his nomination of these three people sent that message.  His further mistake, which compounded the impression of the old double standard, was in not being the one to withdraw the nominations.  And on top of all that, Geithner stands as proof that there is, indeed, a double standard.  Bob Gibbs thinks the difference between Geithner and Daschle is that Geithner made it through the process of confirmation and Daschle did not - as if Obama never had the choice to withdraw Geithner, that it was out of his hands.

    The bar for taking responsibility and being accountable should not be set at the Bush level; we should stop using Bush as the inevitable comparison and start getting back to what we expect, what our standards are.  If we're going to keep the bar where it was, Obama appears to have risen above it quite handily; if you look at the totality of the situation with the nominees, it doesn't look quite so wonderful.

    Geithner's "problems" were known before he ever had a hearing, and I never heard Obama explain why his continued support of Geithner did not constitute a double standard.  Daschle's issues were known by Obama before Obama was even sworn in, and I have to believe, based on the silence, that had it not become public, it would have been their little secret - for at least as long as secrets can be kept in DC.  Killefer I don't know as much about, but I believe her issue had been revealed to the administration, as well.

    So, we had apologies from two American icons this week, and yet one of them is getting hailed as a beacon of responsibility and the other is being trashed as a hypocrite.  For some reason, when Obama says, "I screwed up," we are supposed to be overcome with wonderment; when Phelps utters similar words, we are supposed to be disgusted.

    Interesting standards all the way around.

    I wish (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:37:10 AM EST
    I could give you a "50" rating for this comment.

    Thinking back to the very first (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 03:55:39 PM EST
    explanatory speech on accountability, I recall vividly that we were scolded on our racial attitudes and Rev Wright was just a crazy old uncle.

    Things certainly haven't changed since then. This is the Obama millions expected.


    well said! (none / 0) (#58)
    by Prithimp on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:12:29 PM EST
    This can only be used infrequently (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Fabian on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:21:00 AM EST
    The appearance of candor is a good thing, but the public doesn't want a President who says "I screwed up." often.  It's something that works when used judiciously.

    I'm glad Obama said he screwed up because it will help everyone to drop the issue and move on.  This time.  He'd be wise not to over use it.

    But isn't he just inviting (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by dk on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:28:35 AM EST
    a demand that he fire Geithner?  At least that's how I read it, unless he would disagree with those who characterize his words as candor.

    That's what I thought also (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:46:09 AM EST
    I wouldn't put Geithner's and Daschle's tax problems in the same league, but Pres. Obama has opened himself up for even more criticism with the way he characterized the mistake.

    It's good to have a president who takes responsibility.  The next question is always, what are or should be the consequences?  An admission of responsibility without more is hollow.  So what is he going to do?  Fire Geithner? I don't think so. (And I should add, I hope not. I know it's not a popular opinion here, but I think Geithner is a good choice at Treasury.)


    Consequences: (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by TChris on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:49:01 AM EST
    Daschle gone.  Killefer gone.

    Geithner, of course, has already been confirmed after a full hearing that explored his mistakes (for which he also took responsibility).  It would make little sense to demand Geithner's resignation when the Senate looked at his errors and confirmed him anyway.


    Wait a second. (5.00 / 5) (#49)
    by Anne on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:25:37 PM EST
    Now you're channeling Bob Gibbs, and saying that the process is what should prevail over the standards and expectations Obama himself set for those who wanted to be part of his administration.

    If the Senate says it's okay, it's okay?  Good to know that I can stop thinking that the Patriot Act and that FISA re-do were really, really bad, because the Senate, by passing them - with Democratic support - says all is well.

    I think Obama looks bad, his "apology" looks empty, and I think Geithner - regardless of his special skills and store of knowledge - will be tainted in a way that could hurt the public perception that he is shooting straight with the American people on the largest issue before us - the economy.


    I don't know. (none / 0) (#24)
    by Fabian on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:37:03 AM EST
    But now he's going to need squeaky clean candidates, won't he.

    Who gets the official absolution and who gets the boot?  And why?


    "I made a mistake" is not a complete (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 04:18:52 PM EST
    sentence....it must be followed by a commitment and explanation for how the mistake will be fixed and not repeated. He was supposed to be bringing change, and change means finding solutions for the problems as they arise. Without that, it's just an excuse.

    He screwed up, but we get screwed. (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Cream City on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 04:33:03 PM EST
    Yeh, this is not accountability.  This is PR.

    I would prefer competence to candor.  I know I'm not seeing one, and I'm not persuaded that I'm seeing the other, either.  Kinda too reminiscent of the greatest speech on race evuh -- and then the recantation of it.  Still trying to figure out which one had the most candor.


    Yes There are two sets of rules (5.00 / 0) (#17)
    by democrat1 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:21:27 AM EST
    Obama made that clear with Geithner's appointment

    I'm here on televsion to send a message (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:40:30 AM EST
    He shares Bush's self-consciousness about messaging, that's for sure. I think both of them would be more effective if they just say what they have to say and not tell us point blank that they are trying to give us a message.  

    I'd like to see that word banned form all presidential communications.

    It was certainly a relief (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by KeysDan on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 10:52:18 AM EST
    that the President finally got over Daschle. Even on withdrawal, Daschle's stated reason was all  about him--he believed he had become a distraction and too wounded to be effective.  Nothing about what the issue was about, or how he embarrassed the new administration.  It seems, too, that Daschle exercised some good personal timing to avoid becoming a Washington pariah and adversing affecting his status and income upon reclaiming his non-lobbyist, consultative career.

    Ah well (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Dr Molly on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:02:02 AM EST
    Let's move on. Who will now be head of HHS? I just want health care problems and their devastating effects on our economy to be addressed right now.

    I saw (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by CST on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:08:48 AM EST
    Dean on a short list in some other thread.

    Would be nice, but I have a sneaking suspicion he and Obama do not get along.  I used to feel that way about Hillary too, but they got over it long before the general election, not so sure about Dean.


    I think the problem (5.00 / 6) (#41)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:04:05 PM EST
    is much more between Rahm Emanuel and Dean than between Obama and Dean, but apparently even the Dean people are mystified that he's been so completely banished and treated as a pariah.  It's not as if he didn't knock himself out to get Obama the nomination.  Totally baffling.

    Maybe there has been news (none / 0) (#34)
    by Fabian on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:35:33 AM EST
    about Dean and the Obama administration, but I certainly haven't seen it.  Just dead silence.  

    I just want to know why.  Does Dean have unpaid taxes too?


    "Too partisan" (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by joanneleon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:25:22 PM EST
    Matt Cooper heard from some Democrat that Dean is considered to be "too partisan".

    One Democrat close to the White House thought that President Obama was now likely to split the posts of HHS Secretary and health czar if he couldn't find someone with Daschle's outsized reputation to full both but this person thought the president still wanted someone with gravitas who might fill both jobs. A couple of names being tossed about include Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius but not former physician/governors Howard Dean of Vermont or John Kitzaber of Oregon who this Democrat didn't think would be considered, Dean because he's considered too partisan and Kitzaber because he's a bit of an odd bird. Rep. Vic Snyder of Arkansas, the only member of Congress who is both a physician and a lawyer, might be a dark horse but as a backbencher probably not a commanding enough figure to fill Daschle's shoes. This person did not think a policy aide like Jeanne Lambrew would be considered. Another long shot: Jay Rockefeller.
    Matt Cooper on TPM

    Regarding Dean being too partisan, I couldn't help but wonder about Rahm Emmanuel.  Regarding Kitzaber, I wondered why Larry Summers wasn't too odd a bird to serve.


    Ron Paul is a Physician (none / 0) (#75)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 04:01:11 PM EST
    and would be my choice for coming up with a comprehensive plan that would serve everyone quite well.

    Sebielius (none / 0) (#80)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:00:03 PM EST
    Kathleen Sebelius would be an interesting choice, but I think she's pretty much our only shot to win a Senate seat in KS in the next 30 years so that's the tradeoff.

    Yea I dunno (none / 0) (#35)
    by CST on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:37:47 AM EST
    People were speculating that Obama was unhappy with Dean's 50-state strategy.

    That would be news to me, I thought he LIKED the 50 state strategy.  It was essencially his primary strategy.

    Who knows...  


    Strategies don't have the same goals (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by sj on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:43:58 PM EST
    Dean's 50 state strategy to get Democrats elected downticket and to build the local party everywhere.  BO's 50 state strategy was to get BO elected.  

    Dean has been replaced with Tim Kaine who has more Obama-related priorities.

    Kaine outlined three tasks he would seek to accomplish as head of the DNC: promote Obama's agenda, carry the "banner" of the party and work to expand on the civic engagement begun during Obama's campaign.

    As I understand it, all the organizers chosen by the state parties have been fired and the replacements will be selected by the DNC and will be more swing state focussed.

    In other words.  Rahm wins.


    Bring back Jocelyn Elders... (none / 0) (#71)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 03:34:08 PM EST
    I liked her...so honest it got her fired as Surgeon General.

    Obama said he made a "mistake" but he (5.00 / 5) (#33)
    by esmense on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:35:20 AM EST
    didn't state what mistake he made. Was it a failure to vet a friend, key political supporter and, as the former boss of large numbers and key members of his own staff, someone with unusually tight ties to and influence in his administration, with the same vigor as other candidates for cabinet positions? Was it, for the same reasons, his blindness to how questionable his friends post-Senate financial arrangements would look to the general public? Or, was the mistake his failure to recognize and vigorously object to the conflicts and ethical questions raised by his friend's financial arrangements? Did he think his, Daschle's, and his administration's good intentions (and Daschle's Senate, corporate and beltway connections) would and should naturally supply a pass on any questionable conduct in Daschle's past? Was his "mistake" to ask us to judge Daschle by what Obama has promised for his administration rather than by how Daschle has conducted himself?

    Exactly my question (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:06:44 PM EST
    "I made a mistake" is all very well, but he wouldn't explain what the mistake was.

    \well, you didn't really expect (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:10:09 PM EST
    him to say Daschle was a bad person or unqualified to head HHS did you?   When I saw the interview of the President, I was reminded of how candidate Obama eventually distanced himself from The Rev. Wright.  

    "That's not the Tom Daschle I knew" (5.00 / 4) (#47)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:24:48 PM EST
    It was refreshing (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by joanneleon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:56:38 AM EST
    to see him take responsibility, admit he made a mistake, and to address the issue promptly after Daschle withdrew.  I greatly appreciate a president who addresses problems and admits mistakes and rectifies them.  It's such a stark contrast from what we had for the last eight years, and he is head and shoulders above Bush.

    On the other hand, his apology still left me with some questions.  What exactly was the screw up?  Was it for choosing Daschle in the first place, or for his team failing to properly vet Daschle, or for knowing that Daschle had these problems and appointing him and then continuing to try to "sell" him even after the information about the taxes and the lobbying money came out?

    If the news is correct, up until the day before yesterday, Obama and Biden were both on the phone trying to sell Daschle and work things out.  To me, this is the thing that is troubling.  If there had not been such a big backlash, apparently Obama was content with having him in the HHS position, knowing about the tax reporting problems and knowing that he earned millions from health related companies or lobbies.

    So which thing was Pres. Obama apologizing for?  I heard him talk about double standards regarding taxes, and being angry with himself and his team for apparently missing this detail, but I heard nothing about conflicts of interest or lobbying.  Also, I would like to know the truth about when the Obama team first knew about the tax problem.  It sounds like it was months ago, at the latest.

    I think the real deal breaker (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by Amiss on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:16:29 PM EST
    was that according to USA Today, Obama's favorability rating dropped from a very nice 83 to a so-so 64, even tho 64 is pretty good, that is still a big drop in two weeks.

    The public was reacting to his screw-up and he had to come out with some damage control with his statement.


    I think that drop (none / 0) (#57)
    by joanneleon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:08:49 PM EST
    was due to the Republicans picking apart the stimulus bill, personally.  That was getting a ton of press.  But I can see how the poll would have made them think twice about every bit of negative press and could have caused them to tighten things up.  The news about bank execs getting bonuses and having parties and trips didn't help either, I bet, because the car and driver falls into that same kind of luxury category.

    Crikey, the progressive blogs certainly (none / 0) (#93)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 12:41:09 PM EST
    didn't bend over backwards to bring us that bit of polling data did they?

    Real responsibility is ... (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:05:02 PM EST
    when you pay the price, not throw another political mentor under the bus, and then dance on top of the bus about how wonderful you are for doing it.

    I'm no big fan of Daschle, but this kind of responsibility might be refreshing from a three-year old ("It was a accident, daddy."), but from a President?  

    Not so much.

    And What Price Would That Be? (none / 0) (#67)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 02:25:31 PM EST
    Resign? Appoint HRC at the new POTUS.

    Oh stop (none / 0) (#84)
    by sj on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 09:12:13 AM EST
    As if those are the only two options.  squeaky price or get off scot free.

    These false dichotemy responses are getting really tiresome.  And if you think it's amusing?  It's not.  Okay, I guess you could be amusing yourself, but that would work just as well if you typed your response and never hit "Post".  That's usually what I do.

    But this time I'm hitting "Post".


    Just Suggestions Not False Dichotomy (none / 0) (#85)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 04:17:49 PM EST
    Because Robot Porter has only suggested that Obama pay a price,

    Not sure what that would be other than lose his nominee. I am interested in hearing what the price should be.

    Got any idea?

    no? thought so. just whistling in the wind I guess..


    It's taunting (none / 0) (#86)
    by sj on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 04:33:35 PM EST
    with a false dichotemy.

    BS (none / 0) (#87)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 04:37:43 PM EST
    Robot Porter stated that Obama should pay. My question is sincere although I doubt the statement was.

    It is clear that you are also FOS, as you have also not come up with a suggestion as to what Obama should pay for his mistake.


    BS (none / 0) (#88)
    by sj on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 11:54:26 AM EST
    As if my verdict on exactly what he should pay makes a difference.  It's pure overblown vanity to say "the price he should pay is xxxx".  As if we live in a two dimensional fantasy world where my pronouncement has any impact.  And I've seen your tactics enough to know that if I provided you with my suggested "price" you would go off on a tangent on why that "price" is inappropriate.  

    You just wish I was FOS so you could start throwing it back it me.  Instead you're providing your own ammunition.


    Are YOu Drunk? (none / 0) (#89)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 12:59:34 PM EST
    Simple question? Obama should pay, so what should he pay?

    Either answer the question or shut up.


    You just LOVE having (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by sj on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 02:14:08 PM EST
    the last word, don't you?  

    You're asking a BS question.  I think you know that.  I think you know that because in general, your comments are intelligent and informed.  Then you get on these tears where you ABSOLUTELY DEMAND a response to a BS "question"!!!!

    Go ahead.  I expect you'll tell me to shut up again.  Or call me drunk.  Or insist I'm a PUMA or say I'm FOS.  Because in these types of "conversations" you must absolutely! have! the! last! word!

    You're still asking a BS question.  So call me whatever name you want right now.  And have the last word.

    I'll catch up with you when you make sense again.


    I'm feeling your pain ;-) (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 04:45:40 PM EST
    Hang in there or, more specifically, hang in around here.

    Thought So (none / 0) (#91)
    by squeaky on Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 02:16:47 PM EST
    Empty rhetoric. Obama must pay the price.

    But when asked a simple question what price, just crickets.

    More than predictable.


    To be fair, (none / 0) (#32)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:12:46 AM EST
    After living for eight years with a president who could admit no mistakes, Obama's frank admission of "screwing up" is change for the good.
    it's been 16 years...

    Rwanda (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Dadler on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:40:19 AM EST
    Clinton said repeatedly it was his biggest failure.  Quibbles about whether getting a BJ constitutes sexual intercourse aside, Clinton came forward early and talked about his infidelities with more candor than any political figure before him.  I just cannot see any comparison between Clinton and Dubya, who said, lest we forget, he could remember NO mistakes he had made as President.  Not a one.

    "Taking Responsibility" (none / 0) (#40)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:02:13 PM EST
    is the theme of this thread. "I did not have sexual relations with that girl" and "It depends on what the meaning of is is" are the polar opposite of taking responsibility.

    Personally, I couldn't care less. But after so many years of reading people here on TL bashing anyone who brought up Slick Willy during GW's time in the WH, I now am amused that many of those same people now constantly refer to GW during Obama's.

    For one thing, comparing Obama to GW doesn't say much for Obama...


    Oh, please (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:05:07 PM EST
    Give it up already.

    The mistake I'd like to see Obama own up to (none / 0) (#46)
    by Manuel on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 12:18:28 PM EST
    is to having set the bar in an unrealistic and impractical manner.  All it has done is to set the stage for a game of "gotcha" that will go on for years.  Daschle should have been confrmed.  We need his talents despite his lapses.  What we need from our publc officials is openness about their errors so that we can judge on a case by case basis.  Otherwise we risk making all errors morally equivalent.

    I'm no big fan of Daschle (none / 0) (#56)
    by ChrisO on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:07:45 PM EST
    but I thought all of the chatter about his ties to the healthcare industry was overblown. I'm not sure why people who have worked in an industry should be automatically disqualified from positions that can benefit from their expertise. People are conflating consulting with lobbying. Apparently, the only people who will be qualified to work on healthcare will be professional politicians and people who have spent their career fighting the healthcare industry.

    Of course, we should take a close look at nominees' ties to industry. But to declare everyone who has worked with a healthcare company to be somehow tainted is just silly.

    I agree. What's important is whether (none / 0) (#59)
    by ThatOneVoter on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:12:38 PM EST
    he has a record of advocating for positions one approves of.
    Does Daschle have such a record?

    Well (none / 0) (#61)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 01:37:05 PM EST
    He DID advise clients on health care matters when he worked at law firm / lobbying firm Alston & Bird.

    The former Democratic senator from South Dakota is a special policy adviser for the lobbying law firm Alston & Bird. And in his three years there, the firm has earned more than $16 million representing some of the health care industry's most powerful interests before the department he's in line to lead.

    Daschle is not himself a lobbyist. But he has advised the firm's clients on health care issues, according to the firm's website.


    Alston & Bird traded off of Daschle's credentials, boasting on the firm's website that its "significant advantage" comes from employing Daschle and Bob Dole, the former Senate Republican leader, both of whom championed health care causes and sat on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees some health care reform.

    Other than the few details available online, Daschle's role at the law firm is sketchy. Neither he nor Obama's transition team has publicly disclosed the extent to which Daschle's work put him in the middle of health care policy debates. And because Daschle did not work as a lobbyist, his clients are not publicly disclosed.

    But it's clear that his firm did a significant amount of health care work. Lobbying disclosures show that from 2005, when Daschle was hired, to this September, Alston & Bird represented pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, nursing homes, health care providers and a pharmacy benefit manager.

    During that period, the company made at least $16 million lobbying HHS and its entities -- the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, according to records filed with the Senate.

    In fact, the law firm did the majority of its HHS lobbying working to influence the administrators of Medicare and Medicaid, records show.

    For instance, the Kidney Care Council, an association of a dozen kidney dialysis providers, paid the firm $520,000 in 2006 to lobby Medicare and Medicaid, among others, on "issues pertaining to the Medicare Modernization Act." From 2005 to 2008, the council paid the firm a total of almost $1.3 million, according to public records.

    Another big spender was Health South. One of the nation's largest health care providers, the company paid Alston & Bird nearly $1.5 million to lobby HHS and Medicare and Medicaid on its behalf.

    The firm also represented the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association, pharmacy benefit manager CVS Caremark, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, and the pharmaceutical companies Roche, Bayer Healthcare and Abbott, among others.



    I'm worried because he might have been more (none / 0) (#83)
    by suzieg on Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 03:49:07 AM EST
    disposed to curry favors to the hand who fed him extremely well at the expense of the american people.

    Yes, very nice... (none / 0) (#78)
    by weltec2 on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 08:43:58 PM EST
    Now about cooperating with England and releasing the torture evidence that they have requested...

    Backwards (none / 0) (#81)
    by squeaky on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 09:53:18 PM EST
    They were about to release torture evidence that the CIA (my guess) did not want published. We threatened then with cutting off intelligence alliance if they made the info public.

    British media had applied to the court for the release of full details of the evidence the British government held about the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born British resident who is held in Guantanamo Bay.

    Here is the story.


    Mohamed has been on hunger strike since January 5 to protest at his continued confinement..

    Time to get going with the transparency Obama has promised. Hopefully this information will see the light of day sooner rather than later.