One interesting footnote to Michael's post about Daschle and Killefer withdrawing their nominations: The Hill and many others are harping on how today's New York Times editorial calling for Daschle to withdraw his nomination played heavily on his mind. And it made me realize that William Lynn must not read the Times. From a Times editorial on January 22:
The new president's actions provided a burst of executive sunshine that Washington badly needs. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama already wants to make an exception for William Lynn, a former lobbyist for the defense contractor Raytheon, to become deputy secretary of defense. Mr. Lynn, a respected Pentagon official in the Clinton administration, has the right résumé--except that he was a lobbyist until last year. This clearly violates the mint-new standard, especially since the Pentagon job is so wide-ranging that recusal on specific issues is impossible.
The White House is hoping for Senate approval nevertheless, arguing that while the president sought the firmest ethics rules, he also believes that "any standard is not perfect," that "a waiver process that allows people to serve their country is necessary." Maybe the Senate will concur that Mr. Lynn is "uniquely qualified" and a waiver is justified. But this is not an ideal first test of Mr. Obama's exemplary rules. Voters who heeded the president's campaign message of openness must demand any exceptions to be few and far between. (Emphasis POGO's)
And reconsidering that editorial, I think it raises a question we've asked many times implicitly, that should be raised again explicitly: What is more valuable to the American people: William Lynn, or meaningful ethics reforms to restore integrity to government?
-- Mandy Smithberger