The ‘Error of Responsibility’

Rick Saunders
America’s Right

Given the stunningly clueless vetting of cabinet and other selections thus far made by the president for, among others, Secretary of the Treasury (Timothy Geithner), Secretary of Health and Human Services (Tom Daschle), Secretary of Commerce (Bill Richardson), and the nation’s first “Chief Performance Officer” (Nancy Killifer, in a role which leaves me wondering why we need another government employee to eradicate redundancy), even the propagandists at Pravda on the Hudson (a.k.a. The New York Times) must be scratching their liberal heads and quietly wondering amongst themselves: “what the heck is going on here?” Is this “change,” or is it more like a bad parody of the Keystone Kops?

Of course, the “heck” going on here–and the common theme joining all of these folks in a very sticky thread–is the fact that all of them knew or should have known of either the “cronyism/pay-to-play” skeleton in the closet, as with Richardson, or the “tax-man” skeleton in the basement, as with all the others, long before accepting the nomination of the president to serve in any particular official capacity. And yet each, with or without the knowledge of the new president, arrogantly pushed forward in the expectation that nothing could derail their candidacies. They were, after all, chosen by the Chosen One himself.

Take Daschle, for example. For someone who had such a hard time realizing that he hadn’t paid his taxes to the IRS, the former senator seems to have had no trouble at all counting the number of zeroes behind the integers he received for “speaking fees” and “consultations” from hospital and insurance industry big-wigs and lobbyists over the past two years.

In fact, Daschle collected nearly a quarter of a million dollars in fees in the last two years speaking to leaders of the same industry the president wanted him to “reform” as the administration’s secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Yet, when it came time to properly reporting to the IRS–like everyone else is supposed to do–he innocently “forgot.” Suddenly, however, when word of his absent-mindedness leaked out, he had a “tax epiphany,” resulting in the preparation of amended returns and payment of nearly $140,000.00 in back taxes and interest. No word yet on penalties.

Yesterday, as reported here at America’s Right and beyond, Daschle withdrew his candidacy and Obama accepted the withdrawal “with sadness and regret.”

Really? That sounds a lot like the species of “regret” expressed by a former president when the truth about his extremely close mentoring of a particular White House intern was . . . exposed. In this case, Daschle expressed the desire to “. . . not be a distraction.” Funny how it is with these folks that, only after their problems are made public, do they become “distractions” and foster a come-to-Jesus moment and the sudden need to come clean.

Memo to Tom Daschle: How about declining the nomination in the first place on the grounds that you know the facts, if publicized, would derail you and cause problems for the president? Especially after that eloquent, fiery speech you delivered when you served as Democrat Minority Leader in the House, urging “no mercy” in the prosecution of tax cheats, don’t you think that declining the nomination to begin with would be the right thing to do?

A day late and a dollar short, Mr. Obama said in a CNN interview today, just one day removed from praising Daschle as an integral and essential part of his plan to reform healthcare in America.

“I think I screwed up. And I take responsibility for it and we’re going to make sure we fix it so it doesn’t happen again.”

Doesn’t happen again? More on that later. In regard to this issue — at least he didn’t vote “present.”

Now, take Richardson for another example. A few months ago, as he basked in the glow and ego rush of his nomination to become Secretary of Commerce, he knew–or should have known–of the potential radioactivity of the New Mexico federal grand jury probe into how his political donors landed a lucrative State of New Mexico transportation contract on his watch as governor. Of course, when news of that little petard exploded on the scene, he too withdrew his candidacy, but well after the probe became public.

Then, of course there’s also yesterday’s announcement by Nancy Killifer, the president’s nominee to become the federal government’s first “Chief Performance Officer,” whatever that is. Just what we need in our cash-strapped government — another government official on the balance sheet, charged with eliminating redundancy in government. Since her position as Director of the Department of the Redundancy Department is not a cabinet post and thus does not require Senate confirmation, perhaps the thought was that Killifer’s tax problems–failure to pay unemployment taxes on household help, resulting in a $900 Washington D.C. municipal tax lien, a matter of public record–would be under the radar. Wrong. Once again, an administration nominee pulled out, not because of a failure to pay taxes everyone else is supposed to pay, but because that omission became public. If anything, I guess Obama and Daschle and Killifer learned from former President Bill Clinton that it is better to report income and claim a $5.00 charitable deduction on your silk underwear than to not report at all.

Oh, and for those of you counting, the Daschle “screw-up”–the one we were assured wouldn’t “happen again”–indeed happened again when Killifer was nominated (January 7, 2009), after Daschle was nominated (December 11, 2008). So, that which the president assured the nation “wouldn’t happen again” repeated itself less than 30 days later. Now that’s change we can believe in!

Meanwhile, don’t forget Timothy Geithner, confirmed as Treasury Secretary despite his failure to pay his taxes in a timely manner; you know, like everyone else is supposed to–never mind. He too failed to timely pay some $34,000.00 in self-employment taxes on money he earned from 2001 to 2004 while working for the International Monetary Fund, according to materials released by the Senate Finance Committee. Geithner paid some of the taxes in 2006, after an IRS audit discovered the discrepancy for taxes paid in 2003 and 2004.

However, as reported by the Associated Press, “. . . it wasn’t until much later–days before Obama tapped him to head the Treasury Department late last year–that Geithner paid back most of the taxes, incurred in 2001 and 2002.” Geithner did so after the president’s crack transition team found that the nominee had made the same tax mistake his first two years at the IMF as the one the IRS found he made during his last two years there. This, my friends, is the guy running the department which overseas the very IRS to which he “forgot” to meet his obligations.

When thinking of Geithner, one is reminded of the anecdote where the police are questioning a punk about a stabbing victim, punctured multiple times, lying in front of him in the street: “I was just standing there cleaning my fingernails, and this guy came running around the corner and fell right into the knife. Ten times.”

(Of course, Sen. Judd Gregg, the Republican asked by Obama to fill the Commerce Secretary seat vacated by embattled New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, does not seem at this time to have tax problems. Seeing that he’s a Republican, however, I’m sure we’ll hear about it if he does. — Jeff)

For a president and his “people” to goof on properly vetting even one cabinet member is an embarrassment. But this nomination phenomenon is evolving into something new, something even beyond the Keystone Kops or Inspector Clouseau, something approaching farce. This borders either on monumental ineptitude or profoundly hypocritical arrogance. Either way, if this is a sampling of how the new administration operates with its friends, one can only cringe at how it will operate with the nation’s enemies. Yes, Virginia, the brutal truth is that even under the new administration, the nation still has enemies out there.

Ineptitude and its kissing cousin, inexperience, are precisely what the nation cannot afford these days. After all, remember what then vice presidential candidate Joe Biden assured the nation if Obama were to be elected. Thinking of the new president’s failure to properly assess those in his inner circle, as well as his judgment of character seen in the crooks and criminal he has surrounded him with throughout his life and political career, I certainly feel safer knowing that Obama will be the one to read and react to his dealings with our enemies. I feel safer — do you?

Over and beyond all of this, would anyone care to estimate the temperature of the journalistic magma which would be spewing from every orifice in the mainstream media’s overbloated persona if everyone involved in the bungled nominations had been Republicans? Or, if instead of Mr. Obama, Mr. McCain had made these nominations? That’s right, Virginia, it would be game, set and match in the first five nanoseconds, proving once again that the mainstream press and the Democrats, under the so-called “leadership” promised from the new administration, have given stunning new meaning to the term “hypocrisy.” And this doesn’t even get into the Blagojevich escapade.

Sadly, when all is said and done, the new administration’s signature soundbite, formerly the idyllic “Change We Can Believe In,” now seems to be “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask instead if you can get away with bamboozling your country.”

Rick Saunders is a freelance writer who splits his time between endeavors in southern California and the American southwest. He began writing for America’s Right in December 2008.



  1. Anonymous says:

    Their only “regret” is that they were caught. There’s no remorse, only the disappointment of failing (which turns to anger, if they are continued to be exposed). Good for “real American’s” with worthwhile values and integrity standing up against the forces of evil! The Axis of Evil may be covered up by “let’s be friends.” But, we have many “cell groups” right here trying to deteriorate the foundation of freedom and liberty. We don’t need “ugliness” to rule – beauty and sanity is more pleasant to behold!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I heard Obama say that he went to the school yesterday because he was “tired of being in the Whitehouse”. I wonder if Mr. Berg picked up on that?

  3. Laurie says:

    Rick….excellent write up!!

    Absolutely loved your final line..”Ask not what your country can do for you; ask instead if you can get away with bamboozling your country.”

  4. Matt says:

    I hope Timothy Geithner creates a tax rule based on his personal tax evasion – that would be the best stimulus EVAH!!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why would we expect a President who was not vetted himself by the DNC, the media or anyone else to actually check the backgrounds of his appointees? He got elected under a cloud of deceit, lying, covering up records, voter fraud and corruption and he was never even questioned about it so why would he expect his ‘judgement’ would come into question now. So he now says he ‘screwed’ up (nice choice of words from one who speaks so elegantly) so he is getting a pat on the back for actually admitting that…it is a momentous occasion when he does aknowledge a mistake, but he only admitted fault when he felt he couldn’t use “it was an honest mistake” again. He screwed up and we got screwed when this fraud was allowed to hold the office of the President.

  6. Gail B says:

    Yep, it does sound as though we need a vetting process in place, starting from the top and working our way down. Seems that no one vetted Obama, and Obama is not vetting anyone else.

    Bull’s eye again, Rick. God, I love this site! It’s like reading the morning paper or watching the morning news on TV, except that we get the truth instead of fairy tales at America’s Right. Plus, we have the advantage of “talking” to each other about things we need to share!

    Speaking of which, Congress has two FOCA bills in progress that need to be shot down. I’ve already contacted my senators. Reps next.

    Jeff, it’s cold in South Carolina today; it’s even cold in Georgia and gonna get colder. Ah, Southern California and ah, Rick!

  7. PattyW says:

    You forgot to mention Obama’s transparent choice of the Republican NH senator so that he could manipulate the Senate numbers. Maybe the REAL reason for choosing a Republican is that he can’t find any Democrats who aren’t crooks!

  8. Lilly says:

    Kuddos Rick on a great article. I was just thinking yesterday that if it wasn’t so scary, O’s blunders would be really funny! He’s giving the media all kinds of opportunities for great reporting and they are sweeping the guts of it under the rug.

  9. Gail B says:

    Headline in e-newsletter:

    “Democrats want to raise–but not pay–taxes.” Good point.

    Surely by now Letterman has enough material on Pelosi and Obama for an entertaining monologue and segments he calls “Great Moments in Presidential Speeches” respectively.

  10. Anonymous says:

    EXCELLENT article. Our country has NO moral compass and the list of sinners/offenders just keeps growing. I am falling out of my chair over all this stuff. Has it only been 2 weeks since this idiot was sworn in? Seems like years. How will I ever live through 4 years of this?

  11. Seeks Truth says:

    Great blog post.

    Looks like some chickens are coming home to roost.

  12. Cora Magsaysay says:

    I just wonder how much of a draconian influence the 3 LAW FIRMS that Barack Hussein Obama hired to work for him over the US Supreme Court decision to deny hearing of the case: Berg vs. Obama wherein the case against BHO’s ineligibility to run for the Office of President was denied! What happened to the OATH these US Supreme Court Judges when they were sworn in? There was not even one of the JUDGES “that voiced out dissent ” to the courts’ ruling?
    I guess the meesage from the COURT is this: I guess NO ONE can question the US Supreme Court decision along with “behind the scene” coercion or influence from these 3 LAW FIRMS that BHO hired.
    My fellow Americans. what’s happening to our Country? I’d like to hear some thoughts from Jeff…
    Being an American, I’m gravely disappointed with the US Supreme Court decision!

  13. sharon says:

    Great Editorials…

  14. CryingBabe says:

    The replacement for Judd Gregg has said she will be voting with the Democrats. Another RINO. She shouldn’t even be claiming she is a republican.

  15. Jeff Schreiber says:

    CryingBabe said…

    The replacement for Judd Gregg has said she will be voting with the Democrats. Another RINO. She shouldn’t even be claiming she is a republican.

    Link please?

  16. CryingBabe says:

    My mistake, misread the article about her supporting the Democratic governor. Didn’t read all of her biography.

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