Over at National Review Online, I discuss the opportunity the withdrawal of Tom Daschle’s nomination for HHS secretary presents to President Obama:
The president says he wants to build reform of health care on a broad base of bipartisan support and consensus. In fact, Daschle said that was his goal as well, but conservatives never really believed him. The divisive issue in health care is cost-control, and Daschle’s book is a battle cry for the Left’s point of view that only the federal government, not markets, can bring financial discipline to the system. Then there is the matter of entitlements. Obama says he plans to build bipartisan support to finally address the nation’s long-term budgetary problems, which stem primarily from the escalating costs of Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Social Security. If he is serious about tackling entitlements, he needs someone at HHS who actually wants to do it. There is nothing in Daschle’s record to indicate he was interested or prepared to make tough decisions which would alienate his base of political support.
So what does this mean for Obama’s selection criteria?
Read the whole thing here.