Well, here is a political rarity: an Obama cabinet nominee withdraws from consideration not due to shadowy ethics concerns such as federal investigation, maid issues, or tax problems, but on some sort of "principle." So cute! Unfortunately, the source of the principled disagreement seems to have been economic philosophy, and the position in question had a lot to do with promoting the president's economic agenda. But so it goes, and the Republican Senator Judd Gregg has withdrawn his name from consideration for commerce secretary.
This is kind of a weird one. We hear that Senator Greggactively lobbied the Obama administration for the post after Bill Richardson dropped out. So why campaign so heartily for a job that you then decide you don't want after all, due to irreconcilable differences or whatever? Did Gregg not have an inkling before he had tentatively accepted the job that it might not be fun for a fiscal conservative to promote the economic agenda of FDR Jr.?
Maybe the fight over the stimulus bill brought Gregg to his senses by forcing him to stare into the gaping maw of the creeping socialism that President Obama and his fellow Democrats love so dearly. Or maybe the senator finally recalled that he never really cared for the commerce department so much anyway. Whatever the case, the whole thing is terribly odd, and much more the sort of insidery, gossip-and-speculation-attracting information that normally gets dropped at 4 o'clock on Friday. Executed as it was, the announcement had hours to gain steam before the cable networks jumped all over it.
So who will be Obama's next victim? Here is a prediction: nobody will entertain any great hopes about this person. He or she will be a complete political nobody, a cipher, a creature with virtually no detectable opinions or passions or talents. This person will end up being a pivotal player in Obama's cabinet and the quiet architect of sweeping and fundamental reforms to our infrastructure and economy.
Why this prediction? Because it's always the "sure bets" and the superstars who flame out, and the people of whom nothing is expected that end up delivering the most. America, meet the most influential commerce secretary in our nation's history: Wolf Blitzer.