The revelation this weekend that former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (President Obama’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services) shaved (some might rightly say "cheated") on his taxes, raises more than a few "O My" questions.
Besides the snarky observation that no wonder Democrats are the party of higher taxes — they don’t pay ’em anyway. The more substantive questions should be these:
This is the second big Obama nominee to get thrust into national scrutiny and be found wanting. Tim Geithner, our new treasury secretary and boss of the IRS, for goodness sake, had to pay back taxes and penalties. Now Daschle? This is "change we can believe in"?
This second embarrassing tax episode now must go to sloppy vetting. If Team Obama is inattentive and sloppy in these things — easy things — we can only shutter at how inattentive and sloppy they will be when it comes to policies on the economy or national security. Mistakes and oversights in those arenas will make us all suffer. This doesn’t look like the beginning of an era. It looks like the beginning of an error.
But beyond all of that, consider the details of the Daschle embarrassment. He was caught not paying his taxes on his car and driver. His chauffeur and Cadillac were provided to him by his employer as a form of compensation. This is an elementary tax principal that the guy who was once the head of the U.S. Senate absolutely and without doubt knew about. It stretches the imagination to suggest it was an oversight. Bad, bad, bad.
And finally, let’s think for a second about the thought process of appointing a guy who uses a servant and limo to run the agency that is primarily designed to help the poor. This is bizzaro weird.
Taken together, these things shake the confidence of those that thought the Obama administration was going to be something new and better.
Looks like the same old Beltway crappy diaper. Change, Mr. Obama? Change thyself.