Republican Sen. Judd Gregg's withdrawal as nominee for Secretary of Commerce could be the latest ploy in a GOP arsenal of blatant attacks to undermine President Obama's efforts in advancing a bipartisan agenda for his administration.
CNN reports on Thursday that Gregg announced he was removing himself from consideration for the cabinet post citing "irresolvable conflicts" over the administration's stimulus bill and the upcoming 2010 census.
However, MSNBC reports that On Feb. 4th, the day after President Obama officially nominated him for the job, Gregg supported the stimulus bill and told CNBC's Larry Kudlow:
"I think a major stimulus package ... makes a lot of sense, and the Senate is still working its will and I expect it will come up with an even stronger package than the package that left the House. If we don't get this economy going, the numbers that represent this stimulus package are going to be small compared to the loss of revenue to the federal government."
Further, the issues surrounding the stimulus and possibly losing control of the census were on the table long before Gregg chose to accept the nomination less than two weeks ago after having lobbied hard for the position. Therefore, it's hard to believe that the senator's opinion on these matters could have changed so drastically in such a short amount of time.
Sen. Gregg wished President Obama success and took full responsibility for his decision, and CNN reports that a source close to the process insists problems surrounding control of the census are what tipped the scale in his choice.
But considering his previous enthusiasm for taking the job of Commerce Secretary what seems more likely is that Gregg caved into pressures from his own party, and, in doing so, became a destructive, high-profile pawn in the Republican's attack against President Obama.
The Daily Dish's Andrew Sullivan wrote concerning Gregg's withdrawal and the GOP:
This much is now clear. Their clear and open intent is to do all they can, however they can, to sabotage the new administration (and the economy to boot). They want failure. Even now. Even after the last eight years. Even in a recession as steeply dangerous as this one.
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