03 February 2009

Way to Vet...

An Obama nominee apparently can survive a tax scandal, but if it involves a nanny -- that's fatal. It was the same way during the early days of Clinton, and now we see the new President's nominee for the new post of "chief performance officer" withdrawing because she once had a tax lien put on her home for failing to pay unemployment taxes for a nanny. As an extra point of interest, the nominee still employed a nanny while her children were teenagers. Had she stayed on, the nominee's job would have been "to work with economic officials to increase efficiencies and eliminate waste in government spending."

This loser, Nancy Killefer, is a veteran of the Clinton administration. I don't know if that means the Clintons foisted her on Obama, or that he elected to rely exclusively on Democratic expertise for this job. Either way, the media knew about her problems from the moment she was nominated, yet it took nearly a month for her to decide to quit. Perhaps Obama believes that if he can throw someone like this under the bus, the Senate will go easier on Tom Daschle. This writer, however, believes that the new scandal will make things worse for the would-be HHS head, since it may create a zero-tolerance atmosphere in which Daschle's offenses appear far worse than Killefer's. Things are getting worse for Daschle already, as the New York Times has come out against him.

"Mr. Daschle is one oversight case too many." a Times editorial asserts, " The American tax system depends heavily on voluntary compliance. It would send a terrible message to the public if we ignore the failure of yet another high-level nominee to comply with the tax laws." Daschle also has too many ties to lobbyists for the newspaper's comfort, making him a questionable champion for health care reform.

Maybe if Caroline Kennedy had been vetting Cabinet picks the way she helped vet potential vice-presidential candidates last summer, some of this might have been avoided. She has to be good at something, after all....

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