Now that even the New York Times has called for Tom Daschle “to step aside” (via the Corner), it should be a no-brainer for Senate Republicans to oppose the former Senator’s confirmation as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
It’s not just his tax problems, it’s that he embodies everything Republicans are supposed to oppose. He is, as John Hinderaker puts it, a symbol of all that’s wrong in D.C. After John Thune ousted Daschle from the Senate in 2004, the Democrat didn’t return to his home state, but stayed in the nation’s capital where he made a mint “consulting” for a lobbying firm.
We’re supposed to be the party opposing the accretion of power in our nation’s capital.
Daschle is, in Jennifer Rubin’s words, “the consummate Washington insider who used his position to fatten his wife’s lobbyist portfolio.” And by tapping him for such an important post, Rubin believes, the president and his team have shown.
a tin-ear for corruption and venality. They, who marinated in the juices of Chicago, seem dense when it comes to this sort of thing. They didn’t know enough to stay away from Blago, nix Bill Richardson, stick to their own lobbyist rules, dump Geithner and now lose Daschle. And this comes from the campaign that ran against the Clintons and the Washington tradition of sleazy dealing.
The White House may assume its own lofty poll numbers and the President’s personal appeal have rendered it impervious to examination or criticism. But that, I think, is a mistake. The public’s disgust is not easily extinguished. They will be saddened and more than a bit angry that the President, who promised an end to all this, thinks there’s nothing wrong with business as usual.
It should be the policy of the GOP to run against business as usual in our nation’s capitol. Ronald Reagan dedicated our party to reducing the power of the nation’s capital.Â If we don’t stand against a Democrat who embodies its excesses, against what will we stand?Â Not just that, shouldn’t we hold him to the same standards he held Republicans when he was in the Senate?
Silence now further distances the GOP from the American people long disgusted by business as usual in Washington, D.C.
So, the GOP would do well to heed Rubin’s advice:Â “For those Republicans who are remaining mute, they may want to reconsider. Silence is a dangerous game, giving the appearance that Republicans are behind the curve and out to lunch.”
UPDATE:Â Good news.Â New RNC Chair Michael Steele thinks Republicans should oppose Daschle’s nomination.
UP-UPDATE: More good news. Guess Republicans won’t need to oppose the South Dakota Democrat: Daschle withdraws.