OK, so I left the office about three and a half hours ago after a busy day, got on the train, took a cab to the hotel, checked in, registered for the conference, and then went back to my room to check e-mail, check in with friends and family, and see what was going on in the world. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there's been yet another startling development in the As The Obama Cabinet Turns drama, namely, that President Obama is now 0-for-2 on nominees for the Department of Commerce, soon-to-be-ex-New Hampshire senator Judd Gregg having abruptly withdrawn his name from consideration today.
The ostensible reason for his withdrawal was that he had come to realize, apparently never having considered the possibility before lobbying to get the nomination in the first place, that he had irreconcilable differences with the Obama administration on policy matters directly relevant to the department which he had been nominated to lead. While I applaud his decision not to stand in the way of the president's agenda, I must say that it strikes me as more than a little odd that the fact that Senator Gregg, being a Republican, might have some issues with a Democratic administration and the way it wanted to run things, seems not to have ruffled the edges of Senator Gregg's beautiful mind even a little before now. In fact, I'd have thought that he'd have thought that possibility through quite thoroughly before ever asking to be nominated to the position in the first place, much less accepting the nomination once it had been offered.
And while I understand that President Obama campaigned on the idea of ending the partisan political divide and reaching out to qualified people with good ideas who wanted to serve their country, I've got to say that so far, that idea doesn't seem to be working too well for him in practice. I'd suggest he try appointing a Democrat this time, and preferably someone who has never even had to pay a late fee to the Internal Revenue Service.
Meanwhile, now that I'm here, I'm going to spend most of the next several days immersed in science and science policy. My itinerary of sessions I'd like to see at least part of over the next four days stretches to a dozen pages. Chances are good that I won't even get the opportunity to check my e-mail other than first thing in the morning and after the last session of the day is done.
One session I am definitely trying to get into, however, is the invited address tomorrow night by a certain Mr. Gore. Yes, that Mr. Gore. He of the Nobel Peace Prize and former vice president. It's all I've heard anyone talking about since I checked in here this afternoon. I'm hoping that whatever is on my schedule just before his address lets out early so I can be in line in plenty of time to have at least a shot at getting a decent seat for that talk tomorrow night, after which I'm going to go out for dinner with some friends.