The Potential Beholdenness of Judd Gregg

Sen. Judd Gregg’s (R-NH) possible nomination as Commerce Secretary this week is looking like less of an outright victory for Democrats than originally perceived, with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signaling that New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) would appoint a Republican to fill Gregg’s Senate seat.

But a reader points out that nominating Gregg could have another upside: a reliable Republican vote for President Obama’s stimulus package. It would be extremely hard to envision Gregg accepting the position and then casting a high-profile vote against the economic agenda he’s about to start selling.

Gregg certainly sounded independent of the administration during a Saturday interview with CNBC, when he said he would not support the Senate stimulus in its current form because of the failure to address housing:

Well, I think the Republicans in the Senate would like to have a package, at least I would, that stimulates the economy and it’s got to be a big and a robust package. I do feel, however, that the package that is presently pending misses the point and doesn’t hit the nail on the head is the way I describe it.

The nail is the real estate issue, how we can stabilize real estate prices and how we can keep people in their homes and how we get value under these assets of the financial institutions can basically value their assets and really not enough effort is in this package on that issue in my opinion.