In 1993, the Clinton Administration’s first real glich, along with gays in the military, involved the new president’s attempts to name a new attorney general. He tried several times to get it right. Both Zoe Baird and then Kimba Wood were brought down for the same offense, hiring “illegal alien” nannies. Baird paid no taxes on her hire, Wood paid taxes but by then Clinton moved on to Janet Reno, who would have a clear go of it until Waco. As it turned out, Waco was way more serious because it involved professional judgment, or the lack thereof. The nanny-gate scandals were silly and made a lot of nothing for these two highly qualified professionals.
In 2008-9, the new president-elect is being pained with the new sandal de jour, “pay-to-play.” Let me say first that the commerce position seems to be barack’s version of Clinton’s AG troubles. Obama has now lost his second choice to this position.
This time the alleged crimes are more serious than nanny-gate but the nexus to Obama are nonexistent; peddling public responsibilities for cash is a serious infraction. B-T-W, the NYT front page today is also looking into a Hillary play to pay story, giving play to the idea pay to play is the new “scandal” of ’09.
But, Blago has no connection at all to Obama at all unless you also consider Obama responsible for everything that occurs in Chicago while he owns a house there.
The Richardson allegations have some bearing on obama but not for the crime, just for highlighting holes in the Obama team’s vetting process, which has been heralded as the most severe in history. It remains to be seen how Obama’s vetters missed the soon to be named grand jury investigating about $100,000 going to two Richardson organizations in return for state contracts. Although it remains to be seen whether these allegations have any teeth, the question here concerns 1) Richardson’s lack of candor to Obama, and 2) potential holes in a vetting process that the transition itself has has so celebrated in superior style. It is this last point that concerns me. It shows poor judgment, and perhaps some hubris.