Word is that Republican Senator Judd Gregg is due to be tapped by President Obama to become Secretary of Commerce. Sen. Gregg campaigned heavily for the bank bailout bill, making any potential fiscal conservative creds highly doubtful.
In addition, there is the small matter of his Senate seat should he take the job. He is from the state of New Hampshire, whose Democratic governor has acquiesced, albeit vaguely, to Gregg’s demand that a Republican fill his seat. It would leave the Democrats still one seat shy of a filibuster-proof majority, though only in the short term. You can bet that Gov. Lynch will not be picking a strong Republican candidate who stands a good chance of being reelected; instead, he’ll install a placeholder politician who will have to fight hard in either the primary or the general election to stand a chance of retaining the seat. Sen Robert Menendez said as much when he mused that the Democrats will likely pick up the seat in the next cycle. In short, the deal will likely be a net win for Democrats, the prospects of which seem to cast Gregg as stabbing his party in the back somewhat, as Philip Klein at the American Spectator points out.
The choice, made after the Bill Richardson debacle, is meant to be a bipartisan gesture. It’s hard to feel inspired when the pick seems calculated to increase the Democratic majority and when the nominee himself is so heavily in favor of irresponsible government bailouts which the House Republicans vigorously repudiated. I suppose bipartisanship these days just means going along with the Democratic agenda. If he accepts the nomination, I predict sadly that Sen. Gregg will eventually become very lonely and isolated in an administration that’s tapping him merely for PR value.