Now It’s Gregg

Barack Obama’s search for a cabinet continues, as Sen. Judd Gregg has withdrawn his nomination as Secretary of Commerce. Gregg cited “irresolvable conflicts” with Obama on “many critical items of policy,” including the Democrats’ pork bill and the census.

There are two possibilities here: either 1) Gregg came to realize that he just couldn’t defend administration policy (the stimulus bill, the various bailouts) that he believes to be fundamentally misguided or 2) he is miffed about Obama’s possibly-aborted effort to pull responsibility for the census away from Commerce and locate it in the White House.

If the former, the incident could be a valuable reminder of the limits of bipartisanship. Republicans and Democrats do tend to disagree on some basic issues, and one can’t be a cabinet secretary responsible for a certain area of policy unless one’s views in that area line up reasonably well with the President’s. Apparently Gregg realized that wasn’t the case.

Does Obama now hold the record for failed cabinet nominations? Who’s keeping track?

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