It was weird to hear the words that flew out of Barack Obama's mouth when asked to comment on one of the four or five or FORTY of his Cabinet appointments that were forced to pull out before their confirmation hearings commenced.
"I screwed up."
Unh. Yeah. You did. Big time. Like you were brandishing a Phillips head the size of an eighteen- wheeler mounted on six- story scaffolding surrounding bevel gear teeth normally used to rotate observatories. But how nice to hear you admit it. Not to disparage any of your predecessors, but it's a refreshing citrusy change, if you know what I mean and I know you do.
Now, obviously its not the President's fault when his staff selects candidates less qualified for a Cabinet position than a Catholic convent receptionist meets the criteria for bouncer in a biker bar, but for crum's sake, dude, you got to start vetting the people you got vetting people for you. You know what I mean. Get someone you trust to vet the people you have vetting the people who are in charge of vetting your appointments. Or you could even... nah, that should be good enough.
Two Secretary of Commerce nominees have slunk away like hyenas chastised from a zebra carcass by a pride of dusty lionesses. Governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat under investigation for doing something bad. Pissing off the Clintons, I think it was. The other was Senator Judd Gregg, a Republican under suspicion of pissing off other Republicans by being part of a Cabinet with a Clinton in it. So, once again, it's all about the Clintons. Which is just the way they like it.
Gregg had decided to take the job only if the Democratic Governor of the Granite State agreed to appoint a Republican in his stead. Which is not a deal. Because deal making is a bad thing and can get you impeached. This was a good thing. Similar to a deal, but different in so many subtle yet vital ways.
The new Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, forgot to pay his taxes and now he's in charge of the Department in charge of the IRS. So we got that going for us. From this day forward, any of us gets busted for any sort of tax irregularity, all we got to do is whip out a picture of the Sec Treas and say- "Just following the big guy's lead." And if you believe that, then let me introduce you to my good friend Bernie Madoff, who is going to make us a bundle.
Finally, former Senator Tom Daschle told the press he was sorry he didn't pay his taxes. $128,000 worth of sorry. Now I don't know much, but I'm pretty sure once you get three digits left of the comma, "sorry" doesn't cut it anymore. No wonder the Democrats are so adamant about how the rich don't want to pay taxes. It's a knowledge that stems from personal experience.
Of course, this could all be just a clever ploy by the Obama folks to raise money. See, the deal is, they appoint a whole series of deadbeats who are forced to pay their back taxes and pretty soon this whole stimulus thing is totally covered. Next up: Wesley Snipes for Commerce, Chuck Berry for Interior and Willie Nelson for Agriculture. Who will change the Department motto to: "Smoke em if you got em." Advice the President may be taking to heart on the South Lawn as we speak.
Will Durst is a political comic who writes sometimes. This is one of them.
Don't forget the book, The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing.
Catch Durst at Zanies St Charles Feb 21. And Zanies Downtown Chicago Feb 24- March 1st.