And Gregg Makes Three

| posted by Melissa McEwan | Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Republican Senator Judd Gregg (NH) has reportedly accepted the nomination to Commerce Secretary in the Obama administration, following Bill Richardson's withdrawal due to a federal investigation into an alleged pay-for-play deal in New Mexico.

Gregg is a fiscal conservative well-liked by Big Business who:

    spoke sharply against Mr. Obama's candidacy. He called the Democratic nominee's spending proposals "the Obama spend-o-rama." Then he attacked the principles of the party at a rally in New Hampshire, saying: "We don’t need any more Democrats as president of the United States. We had enough when we had Bill Clinton."

So you can see why Obama wants to put this guy in charge of the Commerce Department.

For those of you keeping score at home, that brings the total number of Republicans in Obama's cabinet to three, the first two being Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Steve Benen points out that the last time a president put three members of the rival party in his cabinet was more than a century ago when Theodore Roosevelt did it. I don't imagine I'm the first progressive to suggest that ain't the Roosevelt Obama needs to emulate right now.

And there's one more nifty bit of news to report: The backroom deal on which Gregg's acceptance of the nomination was contingent includes New Hampshire's Democratic governor promising to appoint a Republican to Gregg's vacated seat. Of course. Because why would a Democratic administration want to get only a fiscal conservative critic out of this deal when they can also get a Senate appointment that would never be made otherwise, guaranteed to be a vote that won't help them on pretty much any policy?

Yglesias sniffs: "Surely Gregg's desire to replace himself with somebody who will often oppose his new boss's agenda is evidence of his deep commitment to the administration, the cabinet, and the agency he appears poised to head."

I would laugh if the entirety of my consciousness weren't utterly consumed with wondering "WTF, Obama?"

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