Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Daschle Withdraws

It's just coming out that Tom Daschle has withdrawn his candidacy to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.

It wasn't just his failure to pay more than $100,000 in taxes.

Daschle is so deep in the Washington special interest sludge that he really can't hold any responsible position.

One of the interesting questions about the Daschle fiasco concerns his status as a member in good standing in the American political elite. These are the reasons why Daschle would have to have been considered part of the political elite six months ago:

1. Daschle had converted his status as former Senate majority leader into a big money political consultant position with the health and telecommunications industries;
2. He was part of the pool out of which Barack Obama chose his cabinet nominations;
3. Daschle was personally friendly with Obama.

It was because of Daschle's elite position in the Washington political establishment that a guy with $250 million to burn like Leo Hindery let Daschle have a car and a driver.

But there's a decent chance that the failure of his nomination to head HHS means that Daschle falls off the elite wagon. Daschle is certainly out of the running for any kind of big political position in the Obama or any future Democratic administration. That removes a big chunk of Daschle's elite clout. So, two questions remain. First, will the big health and pharmaceutical companies think Tom Daschle is enough of a Big Kahuna that they will gladly pay millions of dollars for his political "advice." Second, will senior people in the Obama administration still call Daschle for advice or take Daschle's calls?

There's no guarantee they will.

In fact, Tom Daschle might fall so far that he might actually have to humble himself and start working as a paid lobbyist.

Just like his wife.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that he withdrew his name. I can't believe Obama even selected him. Well, I recognize that Daschle has (or had) significant influence with Congress and in the health care industry. But surely Obama must have seen the writing on the wall about this guy.

I think this is the only time I've been disappointed in a decision made by President Obama.