Judd Gregg: Not Without My Elephant

posted at 9:45 am on February 1, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama figured out a clever way to give Harry Reid his 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  Instead of continuing to raid Reid’s caucus for Cabinet appointees, Obama could find a Republican Senator whose seat was at serious risk in 2010, from a state where a Democratic governor would appoint the replacement.  Obama gets some bipartisan credibility and Reid gets his final supermajority vote, while the Republican gets a golden parachute.

Unfortunately for Reid and Obama, Judd Gregg (R-NH) has not quite played along with Obama’s master plan:

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.

Departing the Senate without one could give Democrats 60 members and a filibuster-proof majority.

“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.” …

Republicans who know Gregg well say that Lynch must agree to select a Republican because Gregg, one of the most revered leaders in New Hampshire Republican politics, would not allow his seat to give Democrats filibuster-proof control of the Senate.

“He will not take Commerce secretary unless Lynch says he will appoint a Republican,” said the Republican close to Gregg.

Gregg has zero chance of getting any such commitment out of Lynch.  Even if he did, he couldn’t hold Lynch to it after resigning the seat, although it might be difficult for Lynch to renege on a publicly stated commitment to appoint a Republican.  Lynch would get attacked by his own party for making such a promise and attacked by Republicans if he broke it.  As in the movie War Games, the only way for Lynch to win this one is not to play at all.

Republicans should hail Gregg for taking a stand.  He still could win re-election in 2010, but it will be a tough race, and Republicans have mostly lost those over the last two election cycles.  A Cabinet appointment would give Gregg some stability and an opportunity to wield real authority.  Gregg can’t help but to find it attractive, but if The Hill has this right, Gregg’s choosing loyalty over personal enrichment.

If so, I wish we had a lot more politicians like Judd Gregg, regardless of political stripe.  Hopefully, Harry Reid and Barack Obama will get stuck holding their 30 pieces of silver.

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Wow! Obama’s “master plan” was actually seen through by someone in the Senate on the right? This Senator must have attended the cocktail party without his knee-pads…unlike others (John McCain and Lindsay Grahm come to mind)

sabbott on February 2, 2009 at 6:19 AM

behold the “true conservative”

funky chicken on February 1, 2009 at 10:56 AM

If Judd Gregg WERE a conservative, I’d have no problem supporting him. He’s not. Judd Gregg is a “Country Club Republican” at best. He’s disappointed conservatives in this state for years and I reached my limit with him back with the McCain/Kennedy Amnesty bill.

ConBlog_NH on February 2, 2009 at 8:19 AM

Why even bother thinking about accepting it?

Stay put. Simple as that.

TheHat on February 2, 2009 at 8:22 AM

Greggs the only conservative left here. We’re stuck with chubby Paul the Dem clone and the empty pant suit. If Gregg goes then there’s not one GOP unless a Repub. is actually appointed–and we’ll have two junior Senators. I have a feeling that you are not really as conservative as you say or you’d be really upset about his leaving. Which–if you really are a Republican–would leave you dis-enfranchised at least for two more years. You think Bass will run again? I liked him too, but do not think he stands a chance.

jeanie on February 2, 2009 at 8:26 AM

I have voted for Judd Gregg every time his name was on the ballot.
I will not vote for him again.
That does not mean I will vote for whatever Surrender-Crat opposes him – just that he cannot have my vote again.
Why? Because Judd is more concerned with the good will of his senate buddies (McCain, Graham, Lieberman among others) than he is in doing what’s right.

He adamantly stuck to his pro-amnesty position last summer.
He voted ‘Yes’ on the tax cheat Treasury nominee.

I am pleased if this story is true, but do not confuse his stand with principle.
Sadly, New Hampshire has caught the same case of the ‘stupids’ infecting our neighbors…
The Democrat Party remains in power for the foreseeable future. This is sad but true here in NH.

If you are uninformed, love American Idol, and voted for the most inexperienced man ever to be President, thank a member of the union-pretending-to-be teachers…

HammerNH on February 2, 2009 at 8:54 AM

I dont know anything about Gregg. Is he a RINO? If not why is Dear Leader (PBUH) appointing him?

abcurtis on February 2, 2009 at 9:39 AM

“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.

Be very careful here. Vince Foster’s “suicide” has never been unravelled. Gregg does look a little depressed in that photo.

lonesomecharlie on February 2, 2009 at 11:17 AM


Probably because Ogabe thinks Secretary of Commerce is the guy he sends to the Quicky Mart for a pack of smokes.

SKYFOX on February 2, 2009 at 11:41 AM

I know this is crazy but if the democrats actually GOT the seat so they had a majority everywhere

could we at least then get a rest from obamas and pelozis constant complaints of bi-partisanship ?

Which really means they want cover in case their CRAP filled LAW blows up in their faces..

jcila on February 2, 2009 at 1:33 PM