You think you’ve seen everything and then Washington surprises you once again. It turns out that Tom Daschle waited nearly a month after his nomination to fess up to the Obama team about his tax liability. It seems incomprehensible that he could actually be confirmed, especially when you couple that with this one sentence description: “Daschle’s expertise and insights, gleaned over 26 years in Congress, earned him more than $5 million over the past two years, including $220,000 from the health-care industry, and perks such as a chauffeured Cadillac, according to the documents.”
Good government groups are aghast and I bet the public will be, too. But you are left wondering: what are they all thinking? If they don’t actually believe in ethical behavior, they must, at the very least, appreciate how badly this appears to the average voter — and taxpayer. The ho-hum reaction of Senators from both parties is mystifying. They can’t be that oblivious, can they?
Seith Leibsohn writes:
Now we have Geithner and Daschle who realize they owe a lot in back taxes — but they only think of these tax problems when they’ve got a government spot lined up for them and a vet before them. And once that time comes, they are correctible at the eleventh hour, for purposes of confirmation and following the letter of the law. Good thing they were nominated, actually: It seems to be the only way to have gotten them to comply with the laws others have to follow.
We hope that all the “just a speed bump” hooey is the stuff politicians and spokespeople say when they are trying to figure out how to reverse course and get out of a mess. If they really think this is all fine and the public won’t find this odd or hypocritical — or downright appalling — the proposal that this is the savviest, smartest political team in history is due for a rethink.