During the 2008 campaign Obama had promised to put aside politics for the benefit of the nation once he took office. He had committed to hiring the “best and brightest — and by the way, they don’t have to be Democrats”, harkening back to the JFK and Lyndon Johnson administrations. No student of history, Obama didn’t realize the term “best and brightest” was originally meant as a knock against LBJ’s oh-so-smart advisors during the Vietnam War years.
Republicans were hardly lining up for the privilege to join what was shaping up to be the most biased administration in American history, so when Senator Judd Gregg offered his services as Commerce Secretary Obama jumped at the chance to appoint the New Hampshire RINO.
Known as a moderate on social issues, Gregg voted for the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, Clean Energy Act of 2007, and Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. Even though Gregg had voted in 1995 to abolish the Commerce Department, he had publicly committed himself to supporting the Obama’s far left agenda.
Alarmed that a Republican would be overseeing the 2010 Census, one of the most influential functions of the Commerce Department, the Congressional Black Caucus and Hispanic groups demanded that Obama reconsider the nomination. Rather than risk losing his token Republican, Obama simply reassigned responsibility for the Census to his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Concerned that the census process would become politicized under such a clearly partisan operator like Emmanuel, California Rep. Darrell Issa and North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry sent a letter to Obama:
This ill-conceived proposal undermines a constitutionally obligated process that speaks to the very heart of our democracy …Requiring the census director to report directly to the White House and placing responsibility for administration of the Bureau outside the Department of Commerce may even violate federal law. According to Title 13 of the U.S. Code, the Bureau is to be administered ‘within, and under the jurisdiction of, the Department of Commerce’ … By circumventing the secretary of Commerce’s oversight of the Census Bureau and handing it directly to a political operative such as Mr. Emanuel, you are severely jeopardizing the fairness and accuracy of the 2010 census.”
Realizing Obama wouldn’t budge on reassigning census duties to the White House, regardless of how unconstitutional the move was, Gregg withdrew himself from consideration as Commerce Secretary on Feb 10, 2009.