Harry Reid appeared on the Today show to reassure Americans that Barack Obama can pick a Supreme Court justice, but we can be forgiven for not feeling terribly sanguine after Reid’s endorsement. Reid says we can expect the same competence and research that have gone into Barack Obama’s Cabinet appointments.
For the record, Barack Obama has one of the worst transition records in American history. He has tied Bill Clinton for Cabinet appointment failures (resignations and/or confirmation failures), and managed to set that record within just a few weeks. Obama is only one back from John Tyler’s record of ignominy, and Tyler took two years to set it.
Let’s recap the Greatest Transition EvahTM:
- Bill Richardson – Original Commerce Secretary appointee, had to withdraw when Obama administration found out that federal investigators weren’t joking around about a pay-for-play probe that had been public since last August.
- Tom Daschle – Original HHS Secretary nominee, withdrew when he admitted not paying taxes on lobbyist bennies, a double-whammy on Obama’s stated ethics standards.
- Tim Geithner – Confirmed as Treasury Secretary despite evading tens of thousands of dollars in income taxes, despite having been reimbursed by his employer to cover them. Blames TurboTax, and the Senate somehow buys the excuse.
- Judd Gregg – Obama’s second abortive attempt to appoint a Commerce Secretary, who bolts when Obama tries undermining his authority on the Census and ignores his budgetary concerns.
- Hillary Clinton – Pay-for-play allegations almost derail her confirmation as Secretary of State.
- Hilda Solis – The Labor Secretary has to explain tax problems of her own.
- Kathleen Sebelius – Doesn’t tell the entire truth about her connections to late-term abortionist and has a pay-for-play scandal on the horizon. Confirmed, but probably shouldn’t start working with an interior designer just yet.
- Third choice at Commerce Gary Locke’s unanswered ethics problems.
- On the lighter side, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu’s belated realization that oil production falls under his purview.
Plus, we have the sub-Cabinet appointment fiascoes:
- Approaching two dozen waivers for the no-lobbyist pledge in the first two weeks of his presidency.
- Sanjay Gupta.
- Vivek Kundra‘s criminal record.
- Nancy Killefer’s tax problems.
- Chas Freeman’s intemperate 9/11 comments and connections to China.
- Urban czar Adolfo Carrion.
- Annette Nazareth at Treasury.
- Auto czar Steve Rattner’s alleged involvement in a kickback scheme with a New York pension fund.
This isn’t even quite an exhaustive list. Reid thinks this track record should reassure us? What’s he trying to do, audition for VP?