KNOWING WHEN TO FOLD 'EM
Tom Daschle's decision to withdraw his name from consideration for HHS secretary isn't "startling" at all -- sorry, New York Times, you're wrong about that, and hey, you're the people whose editorial demanding his resignation probably caused this to happen today. But it was going to happen in any case -- this story really had legs, more than a lot of us thought it would. It's not like the Geithner story -- Daschle's non-payment of taxes was for a cushy perk, a luxury, and while his limo wasn't a corporate jet, this is a really bad time to expect forgiveness for living what appears to be the high life without paying what you owe.
Obama reads the papers -- surely he knew there was no sense wasting any more political capital on this. Maybe the decision was Daschle's, but I suspect not, and I suspect we'll find out in the next few hours.
Meanwhile, no matter what happened, eighty thousand right-wing bloggers are going to tape the phrase "threw Daschle under the bus" at the same time. The earth won't move.
Well, Daschle says he's gone because he reads the papers:
Moments after the news was announced, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News said she had just spoken to Daschle, who told her, "I read the New York Times this morning and I realized that I can't pass health care if I am too much of a distraction ... I called the president this morning."
Though if Obama didn't understand the need to do this by now, he's less shrewd than I give him credit for being.
So, who's going to be the first Republican to say respond to the withdrawals of Daschle and Nancy Killefer by demanding the resignation of Tim Geithner?
UPDATE: Well, I was wrong again. From Stephanopoulos:
...Administration sources insist this was Daschle's decision alone.
That was certainly the line from Robert Gibbs at the podium Tuesday
A source close to Daschle says "he didn't have the stomach for the fight."
The double-barreled combination of a blistering New York Times editorial and a front-page story raising questions about President Obama's commitment to ethics reform in Washington convinced Daschle he had to go.
Already depressed by the recent discovery that his younger brother is stricken with brain cancer, Daschle wasn't prepared for another week of Senate hazing and damaging headlines.
And, he didn't want to hurt his friend, Barack Obama.
The fact that the White House had scheduled President Obama with five interviews with network anchors today is one more piece of evidence that suggests this was not what top White House officials were looking for today, but the President didn't try to convince Daschle to stay and fight....