A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

The 2009 Nominee Follies

It happens every four years, or at least every time a new administration enters the White House. The incoming President nominates various people to serve on the Cabinet or other posts within the executive branch. Of course, not every nomination sails through Congress smoothly, and, to be honest, I have yet to see any administration get all of their nominees approved in short order.

We can always attribute the holdups to the peculiarities of partisan politics, but sometimes a previous unknown issue threatens to gum up the process. One past season of nominations — I forget if it was either Bush II or Clinton - was derailed by the question of nannies. Questions like, “Is the nanny you hired a legal immigrant?" "Do they have their green card?" and "Is your nanny's Social Security taxes up to date?” sank the prospects of a few executive and judicial appointees.

This year’s nominees have chosen the theme of “back taxes” as the object of their political downfall. First there was new Secretary of Treasury, Timothy Geithner, and his back tax troubles. Now his isolated incident threatens to become an epidemic for the other nominees.

The latest victim is Obama’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Daschle. Obama’s team raised a few questions about charitable contributions to Daschle’s attention. The former Senator’s accountant rechecked the tax returns and, sure enough, found that Daschle did indeed owe more to the IRS for the contributions and for the use of a chauffeured car while working as a lobbyist.

I’ll play devil’s advocate for one moment and offer a defense for Daschle. In today’s partisan environment on Capitol Hill, where one side of the aisle has tax cuts on the brain (you know which side, right?), who could find fault that a few politicians took advantage of the tax cuts early by not paying their full share? Oh, I know, I know: every American taxpayer who paid their bills on time, that’s who!

Fortunately, this story ended on a high moral note. Daschle paid his bills, asked that his nomination be withdrawn, and (I hope) is now in the market for a new accountant. More importantly, President Obama admitted he “screwed up” (his words) in nominating Daschle.

What a breath of fresh air! A chief executive actually admitting he made a mistake! We have really elected a stand-up type of guy! I hope you’re taking notes, former members of the Bush administration!

So the nomination process and the attendant follies may continue for some weeks to come. So much fun in store for all of us! I can hardly wait! By the way, while I’m not actively looking for a career change at the moment, I will volunteer this information. Mr. President, I may not be qualified for any position in your administration, but I know my taxes are paid up!


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