Judd Gregg, the Republican senator from New Hampshire, has withdrawn his nomination for Commerce Secretary. Here’s his reasoning: “[I]t has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me. Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.”
The most alarming aspect of this development is not President Obama’s outsourced anti-stimulative stimulus — and it’s not even his desire to have the Census Director report to the White House. It’s that person after person engages Barack Obama on vital topics only to look back and realize that they don’t quite know what the President said. During a phone chat, Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski thought Obama had promised him an Eastern European missile defense system; he was wrong. Gen. Anthony Zinni thought the administration had given him the ambassadorship to Iraq; he was wrong. Judd Gregg is only the most recent Obama interlocutor to be undone by the Audacity of Confusion.
This is bad. Does the President know where he stands on these topics at any given moment? The American public certainly doesn’t. On Monday night, we all shut off our televisions thinking we were just promised a rescue plan from Timothy Geithner the next day; we were wrong. Wall Street is still desperately waiting for some definitive answers. Will this ever agreeable, always unhelpful haze ever lift?