Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Obama: I ‘screwed up’ with failed Daschle bid

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Daschle said in a brief letter to Obama that he refused to “be a distraction” from the new president’s drive for health care reform. Obama said neither he nor Daschle excused the former senator’s tax errors but that he accepted his friend’s decision “with sadness and regret.”

Questions about Daschle’s failure to fully pay his taxes from 2005 through 2007 had been increasing since they came to light on Friday. Daschle overlooked taxes on income for consulting work and personal use of a car and driver, and also deducted more in charitable contributions than he should have. To resolve it, he paid $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest last month.

Daschle, chosen to lead the administration’s push for sweeping health care reform, also was facing questions about potential conflicts of interests related to speaking fees he accepted from health care interests and about the advice he provided to health insurers and hospitals through his work at a law firm.

More here.

Well, I suppose that, from the bullshit media and DC insider point of view, this is Obama's first big fuck up. It is a fuck up, but only a big deal in a sort of 90s Clinton blowjob way, void of any real significance, all things considered. That is, Obama's people didn't dig deeply enough into Daschle's background, which is forgivable given that the former Senate Majority leader's career had made him such a well known public figure, which usually gives such appointment candidates a aura of having already been vetted.

This doesn't even have much to do with Daschle, either. No, the real problem is that most of our leaders live inside a bubble of privilege and delusion.

How could the former senator from South Dakota think it was okay to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in services from a client without considering it income? Because that's how things work inside the bubble. A handshake here, a trip to golf in Scotland there, a political favor over there, a free car and driver further over there. No big deal. That's how Washington works. Daschle simply brought his warped public sector values with him into the private sector. It's no surprise that he didn't understand what most ordinary Americans see immediately: people have to pay taxes on income, and income comes in more varieties than a simple paycheck.

Keep in mind that this is how most of our leaders think. It only becomes problematic, for them, when a political rival or enemy figures out how to attack you with it--it's not a choice between right and wrong for these guys; it's all about covering your tail.

But whatever. Daschle sucks anyway. He was your typical weak Democrat, always happily bending over to accommodate increasingly huge Republican cocks. And he was a mouthpiece for the greedy and cruel health care industry once voters threw him out of office. This was the wrong guy to reform health care. Fuck him.

This tax snafu is a good thing.