Sen. Judd Gregg To Commerce?

Now this is bipartisanship we can believe in:

There is a strong possibility that Barack Obama will choose Republican Sen. Judd Gregg to serve as his Secretary of Commerce, Democratic Senate aides tell the Huffington Post.

The move would fill a vacancy that has lingered since Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew his nomination, and would give Democrats in the Senate a 60th caucusing member, as the state's Democratic governor, John Lynch, would be appointing Gregg's replacement.

Doesn't seem like a done deal yet, but politically it's genius. Commerce Secretary is a relatively substance-free post - Bush used the seat as a reward for friends. There's not really much policy creation, so I'd be fine with a Republican like Gregg in the spot.

And even better, we'd get our 60th Dem Senator.

While I'm a big supporter of Feingold's amendment to end Senate appointments for vacancies, it hasn't passed yet.

Tags: Judd Gregg (all tags)

Comments

39 Comments

Re: Sen. Judd Gregg To Commerce?

If Obama achieves this, I am his new best friend.

by bruh3 2009-01-29 02:07PM | 0 recs
as long as Gregg doesn't screw around

with the Census Bureau.

by desmoinesdem 2009-01-29 02:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Sen. Judd Gregg To Commerce?

Road to 60, baby. Not. Dead. Yet.

by Todd Beeton 2009-01-29 02:13PM | 0 recs
Todd

I doubt Sen. Gregg would be willing to accept unless there was some deal that Gov. Lynch had to appoint a Republican.

by Brad G 2009-01-29 02:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Todd

Now THAT I'd agree on, but I doubt Lynch would agree...

We may see a deal for a special election...

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-29 02:24PM | 0 recs
Special...

Hodes vs. Sununu?  Who wins that election?

by Ramo 2009-01-29 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Special...

Hodes

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-29 02:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Todd

Yes, I agree. This sounds too good to be true, that kind of two-fer...

by WashStateBlue 2009-01-29 02:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Todd

really? I'm not so sure. but if that's the case then Obama shouldn't tap him. it's a tradeoff. another Republican in the cabinet for 60 Dems in the Senate. otherwise, turn it down, Judd, we'll just get a Dem in there, np.

by Todd Beeton 2009-01-29 02:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Todd

I'm not sure Gregg is gonna care about his party... He's getting older, he faces a potentially tough re-election against Paul Hodes in an increasingly Blue area of the country and is in the minority party...  Not a recipe for fun.  

With this move, he runs Sec of commerce for a few years, leaves and gets big money on the speaker circuit witht he bipartisan tab or takes a few nice cushy board member jobs.   THis helps his Bi Partisan cred which many eat up and will help him post politics.

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-29 03:30PM | 0 recs
Exactly

It'd be a synch to turn "Bi-partisan Commerce Guy From the Obama Administration" into a cushy gig somewhere. "Loser Ex-Senator From New Hampshire" not so much. Unless he's demonstrated a career of hardcore loyalty to his party, I don't see how any rational actor would turn down Obama right now in order to side with the rotting husk of the GOP. If he does, than he's obviously completely nuts, and thus "Loser Ex-Senator From New Hampshire" is exactly the job he deserves.

by riboflavin 2009-01-29 06:13PM | 0 recs
Substance-free?

Wikipedia says:

The United States Secretary of Commerce is the head of the United States Department of Commerce concerned with business and industry; the Department states its mission to be "to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce."[1] Until 1913 there was one Secretary of Commerce and Labor, uniting this department with the Department of Labor, which is now headed by a separate Secretary of Labor.

While it may be true that under Bush it was a substance-free position, moving forward, I'd really rather it not be. When the economy isn't doing so great, I'd like an active Secretary of Commerce, who's looking for ways to help business, increase trade, and effectively manage the extraordinary amounts of information the Department of Commerce processes for other parts of the government. Remember, Commerce includes the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the Census Bureau (2010 Census coming up), NOAA (global climate change, anyone?), and plenty of other areas.

So I'd much rather have a solid, active progressive making sure that the department is playing a positive role in all of the issues it covers. Having the position of Secretary of Commerce "substance-free" is a little disconcerting.

I mean, if that's the way it is, then that's the way it is, and Gregg might be a good political move. But Commerce seems like it should be way too important for that. Bush rewarding friends with it is just another thing that was tragically wrong with that administration.

by Fitzy 2009-01-29 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Substance-free?

Actually, I've heard some commentary that perhaps the post should just be abolished altogether. What better for a small government Senator than being able to help dismantle a do-nothing privilege cabinet position?

by vcalzone 2009-01-29 02:45PM | 0 recs
Choices

Would you rather have an active progressive making sure the Commerce department is working or a 60 seat Democratic majority in the Senate?

by riboflavin 2009-01-29 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Choices

Oh, absolutely 60 D's in the Senate, provided it's not a Lieberman or even a Ben Nelson that gets appointed. On balance, that's more important and will have a bigger net result.

My frustration is that an arguably important segment of the government-- if not an important cabinet position-- shouldn't be dismissed as "substance-free." The Commerce Department provides a lot of the tools that everyone else uses to make the country work. I don't like seeing that screwed up by Republicans, and I don't like the idea of "It's okay to put a Republican there-- it's just Commerce!"

Gregg would be a great political choice, and if Obama pulls it off, I'll gladly cheer him on. But that doesn't mean it's how it should be.

by Fitzy 2009-01-29 08:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Substance-free?

Thanks for making this point.  To call the Dept. of Commerce "substance free" tells me someone needed to learn what areas are part of Commerce*:

Patent and Trademark Office
NOAA
Census Bureau
National Institute of Standards & Technology - v. important to scientists
International Trade Assn.

...and more.  As much as I want a 60th Dem. senator I want to be sure every Cabinet secretary is going to have a positive impact on their portfolio.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics is not part of Commerce, it's part of the Dept. of Labor, btw. I use their stuff all the time.

by KimPossible 2009-01-30 04:06AM | 0 recs
Here's one problem:

Judd Gregg is a conservative Republican -- particularly on budget matters.  If he disagrees with Obama on certain policies, and resigns in protest, it would be very, very damaging politically for Obama (although not as damaging as if Hillary Clinton, James Jones, or Bob Gates resigned in protest).  For that matter, is Judd Gregg even willing to enforce an Obama administration's policies?  Those are questions that must be answered.

by Brad G 2009-01-29 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's one problem:

Please...  Judd Gregg is GOPer who has overstayed his welcome and is probably heading to defeat in his next re-election.    If he resigned over a policy disagreement, it wouldn't touch Obama at all.   You overestimate most of the secretary positions and their effect on the average voter.   There are very few that have any real impact (State, Defense, Treasury and AG.. maybe) on votes and even then I can't remember the last one that truly damaged a President...   Maybe Gonzo, but ONLY because Bush was on the ropes anyway... If Rummy can't get Bush impeached or losing re-election, its doubtful any of Obama's cabinet can... with the lone exception of Hillary.

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-29 02:23PM | 0 recs
Commerce is virtually powerless.

It's mostly a patronage machine, sort of what the postmaster general used to be.  I dare you to name a Clinton Commerce Secretary from memory.

As for resigning in protest, Obama has already laid out the bulk of his agenda.  If Gregg disagrees over the stimulus or universal health care or cap and trade, he'd have absolutely no credibility.  And after handing the Dems a filibuster-proof majority (which is pretty invaluable, frankly), he'd have no support from the right wing noise machine.

If Obama somehow manages to pull this off, shit, we get everything.  We can do whatever the hell we want for the next four years, at least.

by Ramo 2009-01-29 02:26PM | 0 recs
Naming a Clinton Commerce Secretary from memory

The late Ron Brown.

by Comic Book Guy 2009-01-29 03:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Commerce is virtually powerless.

2 years...

Then we have to run out the clock in 2010, although I'd prefer to net a few Senate seats to make the challengine 2012 easier (by challenging I mean to keep 60 seats, not to keep Senate control.)

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-29 03:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Commerce is virtually powerless.

Given the map, how do we lose Senate seats in two years?  I don't see it.

by Ramo 2009-01-29 11:56PM | 0 recs
A better strategy

Appoint Olympia Snowe. Get 60 senators and then take out Judd in the next election.

by ann0nymous 2009-01-29 02:27PM | 0 recs
She refused.

Besides, Snowe is more moderate than Gregg, and likely to retire next election.  Better to keep her in the Senate.

by Ramo 2009-01-29 02:28PM | 0 recs
Amazing!

The same people who effusively supported Feingold's constitutional amendment now want Lynch to appoint a Democrat with the quickness!

Hypocrites, much?  Much too much!

by Zeitgeist9000 2009-01-29 03:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Amazing!

I have no problem using the law to my advantage, even if I disagree with the law.  Why should I?  It's the law.

by lojasmo 2009-01-29 05:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Amazing!

Except that Feingold's amendment isn't law yet.  Until it is, then we follow the laws of the state... however, I have no fear of a NH special election... so appointment or special... BRING IT ON!

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-29 07:10PM | 0 recs
NH

Governor Lynch is very close to former Republican Governor Walter Peterson. Although a delegate to the '08 GOP convention, Peterson co-chaired ynch's campaign, and his wife endorsed Barack Obama. Plus he is pro-choice, and probably wouldn't run in '010. If that happened, Obama would have a really, really moderate Republican as his filibuster proof vote, Lynch would look bipartisan for picking a Republican,
Gregg can say, hey, I was succeeded by a Republican, and the D's have an open primary in '010.

 

by nascardem 2009-01-29 04:42PM | 0 recs
Re: NH

Plausible... but I don't like it...   I could do independent caucusing with Dems, but not a GOPer.   No way to exert pressures for loyalty.

by yitbos96bb 2009-01-29 07:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Sen. Judd Gregg To Commerce?

if obama wants and gets gregg would this mean a shift in strategy on the hill?

by art3 2009-01-29 05:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Sen. Judd Gregg To Commerce?

No.

by lojasmo 2009-01-29 05:35PM | 0 recs
Warning: Lynch is NOT reliable

Sure, it's LIKELY that he will appoint a Democrat, but don't be 100% sure at all.

It looks very plausible that Lynch appoints a Republican, as is being discussed by a couple of sources.

At the very least, it's likely we'll get a VERY centrist appointment (Swett, the Lieberman ally, is more likely a pick by Lynch than someone like Shea-Porter).

by LeftistAddiction 2009-01-29 06:15PM | 0 recs
NH Loves him

We here in the Granite State thinks he is just fine.

by nascardem 2009-01-30 05:01AM | 0 recs
Stinky bad idea.

Get a conservative fox in the hen house, and then allow DINO Lynch to appoint one of his GOP cronies to the seat.

What on earth do we gain from this besides more platitudes about reaching across the aisle?  How has that worked out so far?

by Geekesque 2009-01-30 06:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Stinky bad idea.

What do we have to gain?

Cloture on EFCA. Backed by the most conservative Dems and shunned by the most liberal R's (except Specter, maybe)

SO, do you want your union or not?

by Trowaman 2009-01-30 07:45AM | 0 recs
How would swapping one Republican

for another in that seat give us cloture?

by Geekesque 2009-01-30 09:08AM | 0 recs
No Dino

Lynich is not a DINO. There are some NH Demcorats who don't like him because he opposes a state income tax. Unfortunately, they make tax policy a litmus test for what it means to be a Democrat. Fortunately, there are only a couple of thousand of them in the state, which is why John Lynch gets re-elected with 70% of the vote, including about 98% of the Democrats.

by nascardem 2009-01-30 08:43AM | 0 recs
Ask Jay Phinizy about his

party loyalty.

by Geekesque 2009-01-30 09:07AM | 0 recs
Terrific idea

We would get our 60th seat if this happened and probably get universal healthcare.  

by Kent 2009-01-30 08:47AM | 0 recs

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