Senator Judd Gregg, President Obama'sÂ "reach across the aisle" choice for Secretary of Commerce, withdrew himself from nomination to that post last week, lamenting that the stimulus package and the Democrats' planned treachery (my words, not his) on the upcoming census presented "irreconcilable conflicts" for him. In a way, Gregg's delayed turn-off represents what's going on with a lot of Americans as they take a closer look at this president and his agenda-and don't at all like what they see.
Gregg's departure certainly did not make Obama's day. The senator's earlier acceptance of the president's offer was a win-win for the new chief; the kudos he would receive for his value of "bipartisanship" in nominating a Republican to a key cabinet post, and the opportunity to replace a fairly conservative Republican with a moderate or even a Democrat in the Senate. After all, Gregg's home state of New Hampshire is not the bastion of conservatism that is once was, and its governor is a Democrat. No doubt that the slick Obama did the calculus on this nomination and liked what it could do for him. Unfortunately for Obama, Gregg woke up in a way reminiscent of George Bailey when he spurned the evil Mr. Potter's seemingly generous offer to run his businesses in It's a Wonderful Life.
If all the lard and pork in the so-called stimulus bill was too much for even a fair-minded senator used to the ways of Washington, then it was that much more frightening to the public as they learned more about it. The staggering amount of debt that this bill creates, now and in the future as it must be serviced, is finally starting to sink in to a public that has become numb to deficits in the hundreds of billions stretching for as far as the eye can see. The difference now is that those amounts are in the trillions instead of billions. Yes, people are outraged, and that's just in knowing what little they know about this bill. If they knew more, the outrage would be exponential.
In the words of the Heritage Foundation, "never have we seen a bill more cloaked in secrecy or more withdrawn from open public exposure and honest debate." This from an administration that promised at the outset, as did its Clinton look-alike 16 years ago, the most ethical and open government in the nation's history. And, like its Clinton predecessor, the Obama words ring just as hollow and hypocritical.
Next time, we'll take a look at what Obama and his minions are doing to silence conservative opposition-and how dangerously close they are to succeeding.