Mr Gregg, who was nominated as Commerce Secretary last week after Governor Bill Richardson had pulled out after he was implicated in a corruption investigation, cited disagreements over the massive economic stimulus bill as a principal reason for his decision.I wonder if he’ll be the last…?
There were "irresolvable conflicts" over Mr Obama's handling of the nearly $800 billion (£561 billion) economic stimulus bill, expected to pass in both houses of Congress on Friday, and control of the 2010 census. Mr Gregg, 61, is Obama's third Cabinet choice to step aside and the first for reasons of political principle.
Mr Obama promised that his presidency would usher in a new era of bipartisanship in Washington. But while two Republicans, Bob Gates, the Pentagon chief, and Ray LaHood, the transportation secretary, remain in his cabinet, only three Republicans out of 219 in Congress voted for the stimulus bill.Yes, Obama promised many, many things. Now, he’s finding out that delivering them is not so easy…
"We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy," Mr Gregg said in a statement. He said that "prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns".He made a point of accepting blame for this, and praising Obama.
Clearly irritated by the surprise move, the White House sought to heap the blame on Mr Gregg. "He was very clear throughout the interviewing process that despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace, and move forward with the President's agenda," Robert Gibbs, the press secretary, said in a terse statement.Perhaps Gregg wasn’t told about the entirety of those policies…? Or perhaps the policies had changed since Gregg was advised of them…?
"Once it became clear after his nomination that Senator Gregg was not going to be supporting some of President Obama's key economic priorities, it became necessary for Senator Gregg and the Obama administration to part ways. We regret that he has had a change of heart".
The Commerce Department has jurisdiction over the Census Bureau, and the Obama administration recently took steps to assert greater control over the 2010 census. Republicans have harshly criticised the decision, charging it was an attempt to politicise the survey, taken every 10 years, possibly in an attempt to redraw congressional districts.Hmmm, planning a bit of gerrymandering, is he? Well, it’s ‘change’, I suppose.
Even ‘hope’, given that he never properly articulated exactly what it was he was hoping for…