Saturday, February 14, 2009

Can't Republicans Shoot Hoops? Oops...

Basketball ruled the world - the rural Midwest - when I was a kid. In the little high school I went to, if you weren't in Varsity or Junior Varsity, you were one of the seventy kids in Band. I played the second third trombone. A fellow named "Moose" played the third. Several times we got to play at the home games in uniform. We were solemn and mature, in honor of our uniforms.

Basketball to me is a game of feints and fakes and endless surprises. Players charge continually from one end of the court to the other depending on which side holds the ball. This is like football, but it is a hundred times faster. Players become gaunt and lean.

Off-court, the basketball player's heart beats clearly and easily, not loaded by fats. The carotids are clean and blood goes to the brain. Jowly non-players move slowly and seem confused.

Washington is full of jowly, confused players of an older game. A case in point is the interesting situation of Senator Gregg of New Hampshire. A Republican who had been nominated in a spirit of bipartisanship to become Obama's Commerce Secretary, he has suddenly withdrawn his name.

Several rumors float, fed by the long-windedness of Gregg's explanations of why he couldn't come to terms with working within the Obama administration. He protests too much, much too much, this fellow.

The first rumor is that Gregg voted as he was told to vote on issues for which a former chief of staff received favors from Jack Abramoff, the convicted lobbyist. He did so vote. His former chief of staff was just mentioned in a guilty plea by one of Abramoff's lieutenants, a plea filed after Senator Gregg had already committed himself to join the administration.

The second rumor is that Republicans saw his appointment not as good bi-partisanship but as a departure from rigid party discipline. Knowing of his links to Abramoff, they tipped off the Administration.

The third rumor is that New Hampshire Republicans made it too hot for him.

But Gregg had already decided to not run for re-election for his Senate post in 2010, although he has seniority and is only 53 years old. While this decision well may be for personal reasons like health that he doesn't want to disclose, it also may be because he senses the mighty scales of Justice weighing his worth. The job as Commerce Secretary might have let him pull some rank on his investigators. But how could local Republicans make it too hot for him if he wasn't going to run for re-election?

The Commerce Secretary runs the Census. The total count of individuals - including non-citizens - within a state determines how many Representatives that state gets in Congress.

One would think that the number of citizens or the number of voters would determine the number of Representatives. But it's the number of living, breathing people.

Gregg wanted to run the census. He may not have wanted to count all the non-citizens.

So after Gregg accepted the nomination - and perhaps as soon as Obama learned of his Abramoff links - Obama removed the task of the Census from the domain of his office. Bait and switch. You reach for the ball and it is somewhere else.

Losing the Census, Gregg then decided that he wouldn't be able to be the team player that the Obama Administration needed. And he withdrew.

Several commenters in the Daily Kos posting describing Gregg's links to Abramoff call Obama a genius for his deftness. While he is quite intelligent, another answer may be simpler.

He shoots hoops.


Blogger Ted said...

Obama’s stealing the census from Congress has suddenly awakened and enraged the Republicans. Maybe this will arouse them as well to challenge Obama for stealing the Presidency itself. They surely know he is not an Article 2 “natural born citizen” (which is more than merely being a 14th Amendment “citizen”) by virtue of either Obama’s birth to a dad of Kenyan/British citizenship or birth in Kenya itself — as manifested by his unwillingness to supply his long form birth certificate now under seal.

1:53 PM, February 15, 2009  

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