An Obama administration official tells ABC News that Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., is now the leading candidate for Commerce Secretary and could be announced as soon as Monday.(...)
Gregg's announcement, while making the Obama administration more bipartisan, would likely have the opposite effect on the U.S. Senate. New Hampshire's Democratic governor John Lynch could appoint a Democrat to replace Gregg, thus delivering to Democrats their elusive 60-vote majority, empowering them to stave off Republican filibusters.
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) won't accept a position as President Obama's secretary of Commerce unless he is guaranteed his Senate seat remains in GOP hands, said two Republicans who know Gregg well.(...)
"Gregg would never allow his seat to go to a Democrat, the only way he would allow it is if he died," said a Republican close to Gregg. "He would consider it to be a breach of trust to people who elected it."
The Republican requested anonymity to avoid the appearance of meddling in Gregg's deliberations.
Let's take a look at the possible outcomes:
Judd Gregg does not become Commerce Secretary. This would be fine. We don't really need anymore Republicans running the government. Further, Miss Laura indicates that New Hampshire Governor Lynch more than likely would not appoint anyone progressive. So really, whatever.
Gregg becomes Commerce Secretary, and is replaced in the Senate by a Republican: This is the worst possible outcome. It would actually increase Republican power over the government. Truly terrible. This potential outcome must be opposed.
Gregg becomes Commerce Secretary, and is replaced in the Senate by a Democrat: While this would put a Republican in charge of a third federal department, and while it would likely result in a DINO becoming Senator in New Hampshire, it would still be a positive outcome. Specifically, it would greatly increase the change that the Employee Free Choice Act will pass into law, and reduce the number of Republicans needed to pass legislation through the Senate. With 60 Democratic caucus members, Republicans would only need to be flipped in order to counteract wayward Democrats. While it won't stop "Gang of 14" style center-right dealings, it would still be a net positive.
I would order the likelihood of these outcomes the same way they are listed here. Outcome number three simply seems too bold for the cautious Obama team, and as such doesn't feel likely to me. Outcome number two is somewhat in line with recent Obama overtures to Republicans, but is actually too big of a concession to fit their normal pattern (with the exception of the huge concession they made by keeping Gates as Secretary of Defense). So, I'm going with outcome number one. I bet the leaks on Gregg are simply a trial balloon to gauge reaction, and that the reaction has been too partisan for the Obama team's liking.