So, for some reason, in the wake of total Republican intransigence on the stimulus bill, the Obama administration will respond by putting a Republican in charge of one the federal departments overseeing the economy. Judd Gregg himself has said he will oppose the stimulus package. That is certainly an, um, interesting way for the Obama administration to incentivize Republican opposition. Oppose President Obama, and he will reward you by giving you a cabinet position.
Judd Gregg, and the currently anti-stimulus Democrat Kent Conrad, both of whom voted to set $700 billion on fire, are pushing to redirect the blaze to Social Security and health care:
Revamping entitlement programs and the tax code would be a stunningly ambitious undertaking. Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush tried and failed to overhaul the nation's retirement and health-care systems; the U.S. tax code hasn't been refurbished since Ronald Reagan was in office in 1986. But lawmakers said the soaring deficit is finally helping forge a consensus for action.
"I want a process that leads us to a conclusion this year," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and an outspoken deficit hawk. "It's essential that we do this now."
At the moment, discussions are focused on whether to name a special panel to make the difficult decisions that would be required to right the nation's finances. Key senators in both parties are backing a plan put forward by Conrad and the Budget Committee's senior Republican, Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), that would create a task force of lawmakers and administration officials. The task force would wrestle with the details of Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and the tax code, and deliver a reform plan to Congress for a vote later this year.
Under the proposal, the task force's recommendations could not be amended; the House and Senate would be required to accept or reject them without changes or additions, similar to the process lawmakers use to close military bases.
The House and the Senate can't amend this super-constitutional task force, eh? That sounds like a democratic process. I'm sure the Villagers on the commission would be responsive to the needs of the population at large, given their recent behavior.
Fortunately, both Speaker Pelosi and President Obama oppose this plan, according to the same article I linked above. So, we are unlikely to be subjected to such an atrocrity.
However, it still speaks volumes about who President Obama appears ready to make Commerce Secretary, and without any benefit of having 60 Senators. If you can think of a reason why this is a good thing, please let me know in the comments.