Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Why the pitchforks were out for Daschle

Why the pitchforks were out for Daschle

Attytood would like to nominate a former cabinet member, ex-labor secretary Robert Reich, to take the place of loser Tom Daschle as Obama's HHS secretary. Check out this blog post that Reich wrote today about Daschle, and I think we actually may all agree on his take:

What's going on here? Maybe official Washington, much like most of Wall Street, is still not quite getting it.

Typical Americans are hurting very badly right now. They resent people who appear to be living high off a system dominated by insiders with the right connections. They've become increasingly suspicious of the conflicts of interest, cozy relationships, and payoffs that seem to pervade not only official Washington but our biggest banks and corporations. In short, many Americans who have worked hard, saved as much as they can, bought a home, obeyed the law, and paid every cent of taxes that were due are beginning to feel like chumps. Their jobs are disappearing, their savings are disappearing, their homes are worth far less than they thought they were, their tax bills are as high as ever if not higher -- but people at the top seem to be living far different lives in a different universe. They're the executives and traders on Wall Street have lived like kings for years off a bubble of their own making while ripping off small investors, the financial louts who are now taking hundreds of billions of taxpayer bailout money while awarding themselves huge bonuses and throwing lavish parties, the corporate CEOs who are earning seven figures while laying off thousands of workers, the billionaire hedge-fund and private-equity managers who are paying a marginal tax rate of 15 percent on what they say are capital gains while people who earn a fraction of that are paying a higher rate, and, not the least, the Washington insiders who have served on the Hill or in an administration and then gone on to pocket millions as lobbyists for the same companies they once regulated or subsidized. To the American who's outside the power centers -- the places of entitlement and I'll-scratch-your-back-while-you-scratch-mine deal making -- the entire system seems rotten.

Well said (and well-written. especially for a guy who used to collect his paycheck as a bureaucrat)! Who really thought that Tom Daschle was an excellent choice for the nation's top health-care job , except a bunch of lobbyists, including the ones who funded the former Senate Majority Leader's high-off-the-hog lifestyle, his former pals from the clubby confines of the U.S. Senate, and, sad to say, his good friend President Barack Obama? 

I don't mean to say that as an overall indictment of Obama, the way that gleeful partisans on the right seem to be celebrating it as tonight. On policy, I like the majority of what he's done so far, from Gitmo to his economic stimulus plan which I think is on the right track -- which almost everybody thought a few weeks ago was the right track until our old "childish ways" kicked in on talk radio and in the halls of Congress. As for the tax mishaps, there is an irony is that most of these issues would never have been public if it wasn't for the vetting process, but why Team Obama didn't get a better handle on the information that was coming out in that vetting -- or act sooner when it learned it had been midled by Daschle -- is somewhat unfathomable.

And I think more importantly that Obama's selection of Daschle in the first place was a what-the-hell-were-you-thinking moment. I guess you could say the president did accomplish one of his cherished goals in bringing liberals and conservatives together -- since the not-to-be-HHS secretary was a choice that was loathed by both sides, albeit for differing reasons. How ironic that that the big blow against the Daschle pick was a scathing editorial in the so-called liberal New York Times

For two years now, Americans have been so focused on picking a new president, because that seemed like the obvious antidote to the fiasco that was George W. Bush. And now we have a 44 who's a lot better than 43, and so the nation is waking up to a new and much worse nightmare, that it wasn't just one awful president who was stinking up the joint, but a whole rotten system, a permanent, undislodge-able government of limo-laden lobbyists, their political lackeys in both parties, and a braindead national media that can cover the living daylights out of somebody's nanny problems but heads for the hills when a top official makes an allegation of something serious like torture. And the more that sinks in, the more I wonder how this is all going to end, aside from...badly.

The only good news is that there may be a way here for Home Depot to climb out of the recession --if they start stocking up now on pitchforks. And tar. Oh, and start selling feathers, too.

About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.

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