Sunday, February 1, 2009

mr. president, there's something you should know...

little eric cantor, the republican whip, got off a good line over the weekend, at the republican retreat (what fun that must have been.)

cantor, commenting on two of president obama's cabinet nominees (timothy geithner and tom daschle) and their problems with back taxes, said:
“It is easy for the other side to advocate for higher taxes because — you know what? — they don’t pay them.”
ooohh. ouch.

and i'm serious. ouch. he's right. the problems for geithner, confirmed as treasury secretary despite having revealed previously unpaid back taxes, and now daschle, obama's nominee for health secretary – much more serious numbers in owed, and paid, back taxes – are an embarrassment for obama not so much because of the taxes themselves, but because of the aura surrounding the new president and his administration. the expectations are so high (set by obama himself) regarding honesty, transparency, and a new kind of government, that these oversights seem even more significant than they are.

don't talk to me about back taxes – it's not a subject i'm happy discussing. for someone making the kind of money daschle or geithner made in the past (modest by some standards, massive by my own) to have this kind of error does not surprise me. what is surprising is the slowness to reveal said discrepancies. granted, they both were revealed, by the parties involved. but neither were caught by obama's vetting team, and both men were somewhat slow to fess up.

geithner answered the questions about his situation and was confirmed, and daschle undoubtedly will be too. but both of these nominees (along with the investigation of gov. bill richardson) put a stain on what has been a squeaky clean transition and first week or so of the obama era.

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