Strong opinions, weakly held

Settin’ the blogs on fire

TPM DC’s Matt Cooper says that Tom Daschle will be confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services:

First, he apologized which is a necessary but not sufficent precondition to surviving these things. Second, Max Baucus, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee which has jurisdiction over Daschle’s nomination, came out for him despite a history of tension between the two. Third, Obama stood by Daschle–a sentiment echoed by Robert Gibbs at his press conference although Gibbs used the slightly miffed phrase, “a report we heard this weekend,” about the Daschle contretemps. Fourth: Silence. The blogs are not on fire–yes, there’s Greenwald, I know–but there’s not pitchfork mob calling for his head of the size and scope usually needed to kill a nomination. The optics of the thing are terrible but it’s not deadly.

So, he’s my contribution to setting the blogs on fire. Daschle should go. He failed to report as income the value of having a freely provided car (and driver) that he used. First of all, this is a perk that nobody can reasonably expect. It was provided by corporate interests who retain his Washington DC influence peddling services. That’s disgusting. If that’s not enough, be sure to read Glenn Greenwald’s blog post on Tom Daschle.

This is the guy economists had in mind when they came up with public choice theory.

(The title of this blog post is a reference to this song.)


  1. Daschle has withdrawn his nomination.

    One would think that all of these nominations getting in trouble over their taxes would lead toward a movement for a simplified tax system….if only.

  2. How would simplifying the tax system fix people who don’t report part of their income?

  3. This has nothing to do with simplifying taxes – that would imply that these guys didn’t know about the IRS and/or Senate ethics rules that have been well by Senators due to previous nominations over the last 10+ years – so let’s be honest: they deliberately left things off their tax return because they are hard for the IRS to verify unless someone reports you (or your return is gone over prior to a Senate nomination).

    • … have been well known by …

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