That Judd Gregg backed out of the Commerce Secretary job is not terribly surprising. Gregg claims that he could not reconcile his own conservative beliefs with the stimulus package. He also expressed dismay over the census, which was supposedly “taken away” from the Commerce Department. (This is not entirely true).
Even odder, just a week ago Judd Gregg had this to say about the stimulus:
“We need a robust one,” he added. “I think the one that’s pending is in the range we need. I do believe it’s a good idea to do it at two levels, which this bill basically does, which is immediate stimulus and long-term initiatives which actually improve our competitiveness and our productivity.”
It seems clear, at this point, that Gregg was BSing it when he praised the stimulus bill. In fact, the stimulus bill represents a distinct break with Reaganite conservatism – the most profound ideological shift in American economic policy since 1980. I’m not surprised that Republicans are fighting this stimulus package tooth and nail. It represents a repudiation of their entire ideology.
So, then, why did Judd Gregg seek out the Commerce Secretary job? And what did President Obama think he’d get from Gregg at Commerce? Surely there are other less conservative Republicans out there if bipartisanship alone were the issue.
I thought at the time that Gregg was invited in to a lead a task force on entitlement reform, but we never heard anything about that either. In fact, we never really heard ANY justification for the appointment.
So…why? Why was Gregg appointed in the first place? And why did Gregg want that job?
That is far more perplexing to me than why he quit.