Why Senator Judd Gregg Dropped the Commerce Secretary Nomination

John Fund at the WSJ has this:

. . . . My own sources say the unilateral decision of the Obama White House to transfer oversight of the Census to the White House was the final straw in Mr. Gregg's disillusionment with the idea of joining the Obama cabinet. CNN's Jessica Yellin confirmed that view last night when she reported: "Sources close to Senator Gregg say the bigger issue for him was the White House's effort to take control of the census."

The dispute became a dealbreaker for the Gregg nomination after it became clear liberal groups haven't given up their dream of using computer models and "sampling" techniques to adjust the Census count upward to make up for supposedly "missing people" not picked up by Census enumerators. Those "adjusted" numbers would have real political significance because they are used to redraw Congressional and state legislative districts and allocate federal money.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs insisted that "historical precedent" exists for the White House to ride close herd on the Census, but every living former Census director supports a pending bill in Congress to make the Census an independent agency and further insulate it from politics.

When President Obama met with Senator Gregg at the White House on Wednesday, he could have simply told him he hadn't known of the White House power grab and that the Census Bureau would continue to report directly to the Commerce Secretary. But he didn't, which played a major role in Mr. Gregg's decision to withdraw. Given a choice between his vaunted "new politics" and the left-wing pressure groups that were demanding White House influence over the Census, Mr. Obama made a clear choice to side with the liberal base of his party.



Blogger Al said...

The Census under direct White House control will be as fair and unbiased as a voter registration drive under Acorn control. In fact, Acorn organizers will probably be hired on as census takers. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was not subject to Senate confirmation, and can play pure politics with the Census, Chicago style.

2/13/2009 2:43 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

This will be interesting to follow, because it pits the rights of Obama's constituents against his governing philosophy.

Rural people's votes count for more just on the basis of the makeup of the Senate, so money tends to flow from urban taxpayers to rural services. A census that ignores uncounted urban people further cheats the urban poor.

Obama took a place amongst the people of Chicago as his route to political prominence. He would be failing his duties if he didn't make any efforts to correct the census (and therefore the distribution of services). But taking control of the census in the white house would lead to more winner take all government, something he has promised to roll back.

Judd Gregg's complaints aren't enough to make a call though - let's see how the issue plays out.


2/13/2009 3:14 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Sen. Gregg withdrew because (1) Obama’s chutzpah crossed the line and (2) Obama CANNOT put away his “birth certificate” issue.

1. Here’s the chutzpah: The Republicans didn’t get their act together enough to challenge Obama for not being constitutionally qualified to be President as an Article 2 “natural born citizen” so Obama’s White House steals the census from the Commerce Department against the specific instructions of the constitution itself — “actual enumeration” under Article 1.

2. Here’s the “birth certificate” issue: Since Obama’s earnest drive to convince the nation to weaken its economic strength through redistribution as well as weaken its national defense, COUPLED WITH HIS UNPRECEDENTED WHITE HOUSE TAKEOVER OF DECENNIAL CENSUS TAKING FROM THE COMMERCE DEPARTMENT, has confirmed the very threats to our Republic’s survival that the Constitution was designed to avert, it no longer is sustainable for the United States Supreme Court to refrain from exercising WHAT IS ITS ABSOLUTE CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY TO DEFEND THE NATION FROM UNLAWFUL USURPATION. The questions of Obama’s Kenyan birth and his father’s Kenyan/British citizenship (admitted on his own website) have been conflated by his sustained unwillingnes to supply his long form birth certificate now under seal, and compounded by his internet posting of a discredited ‘after-the-fact’ short form ‘certificate’. In the absence of these issues being acknowledged and addressed, IT IS MANIFEST THAT OBAMA REMAINS INELIGIBLE TO BE PRESIDENT UNDER ARTICLE 2 OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION. Being a 14th Amendment ‘citizen’ is not sufficient. A ‘President’ MUST BE an Article 2 ‘natural born citizen’ AS DEFINED BY THE FRAMERS’ INTENT.

2/13/2009 5:06 PM  
Blogger Harry Schell said...

Bama believes firmly in a "winner take all" government.

There is no other explanation for his comment to Rep. Senators about "I won". Similarly, handing the "stimulus" monstrosity off to Pelosi, who also recently announced "we won", changed House rules to eliminate the ability of the minority party to add amendments to bills and locked Reps out of the House-Senate "reconciliation" meeting...there is no other explanation I cna come up with. If you have one, please provide it.

Or admit you are drinking more Kool-Aid than is healthy for any of us.

2/13/2009 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Census? Two and twelve guns. Go away!

American Community Survey? Get off my land!

2/14/2009 7:19 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...


You think a single "I won" repudiates repeated explicit statements that he doesn't want a winner takes all policy? If the comment were "I won, therefore I'm going to do anything I like without consulting the republicans." then I could see your point. But "I won" is a plain statement of fact and doesn't really speak to intent very much. He may find his hopes for inclusive government fail, either because he lets himself down, or the opposition fails to take advantage of the offer, or because the reality is harder than the dream, but we have not seen that yet.

2/14/2009 9:00 PM  

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