Unseen Consequences

August 17, 2009 6:59 a.m.

The full consequences of a particular event are seldom clear at the outset. And that makes me think of the original reaction to former Sen. Tom Daschle’s decision to withdraw his nomination for HHS Secretary over his tax controversy earlier this year.

At the time, it was mainly seen as the first major black-eye for Obama’s fresh-start, anti-lobbying / Washington insiderdom image. And that it was. But I find it hard not to think that things would be in a different place on the health care front if Daschle had been running point on this issue today.

Certainly, many had complaints about Daschle’s run as senate leader and Sebelius had a strong record in the red state of Kansas. But there’s just no getting around the fact that the senate is where this legislation is going to live or die. And Daschle knows all of those people, knows the place, knows its inner dynamics.

That may have been a critical moment. I’m curious how much, or whether, he’s been involved behind the scenes.

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