Saturday, February 28, 2009

Maybe Gregg knew what he was doing

We've written about the weird Judd Gregg phenomenon before. You remember the story: When Obama's original pick for the Department of Commerce, Bill Richardson, cratered, Obama asked Judd Gregg to do it and Gregg agreed. Then, within days, Gregg announced that he wasn't taking the job because he had strong policy differences with Obama. The talk, especially from paranoid right-wing types, was that he was standing on the principle that the White House shouldn't be doing some kind of power grab over the Census. I'm not sure that ever made sense, but that was the story.

Now, another possibility emerges: Gregg knew what Obama didn't know, that the knock on the door was imminent.

I first heard this on WCAX last night: 11} GREGG_VO
An Associated Press investigation says New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg may have profited from earmarks. The report says Gregg won 66-million dollars for the former Pease Air Force base -- at the same time he and his brother were making real estate deals there. Gregg says he did not violate any laws -- or Senate rules. And he says his last minute decision to decline the President's appointment to Commerce Secretary was "soley due to differences in political ideology." But some Washington watchers believe his investments do not fit with the Obama administration's promise of greater transparency.

We now have more details:

Gregg, R-N.H., has personally invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Cyrus Gregg's office projects at the Pease International Tradeport, a Portsmouth business park built at the defunct Pease Air Force Base, once home to nuclear bombers. Judd Gregg has collected at least $240,017 to $651,801 from his investments there, Senate records show, while helping to arrange at least $66 million in federal aid for the former base.

Maybe he could have made the argument that even if he did make money on the deal, it was what Plunkitt of Tammany Hall would have called "honest graft", but in these times I don't think that would be a popular position.

As I said in my earlier post, I never had any use for the guy anyway. There is a point to bipartisanship, but loading your Cabinet with right-wing Republicans who don't support your policies hardly seems like the way to get your program through.

So now we have a new nominee, Gary Locke. I don't know much about him, but hopefully he's been vetted more than the prior two choices.

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