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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Subbing for Daschle

The sudden fall of Tom Daschle has left the Obama administration scrambling, and Democrats and the media speculating, about not one but two replacements. While Daschle is usually described as the designated Secretary of Heath and Human Services, he was also appointed to head up the White House Office of Health Care Reform, the coordinating point for a future Obama universal health care initiative.
Jon Cohn of TNR’s The Treatment, and Ezra Klein of TAP, are as usual the go-to bloggers on health care policy generally and this issue specifically. Cohn seems to think Dashle’s designated deputy in the White House, Jeanne Lambrew, ought to get the nod to head the heath care reform office. Klein lists a number of pols who might be considered–a pretty lofty group for what might be a non-cabinet gig–and agrees the Lambrew is fine if Obama wants to go with a wonk. A pol, of course, might be a dual appointment like Daschle. For these very public figures, expect some hasty but intense vetting, not just of tax records but of associations with lobbyists.
Both these issues–not just the tax problem–were the focus of the New York Times editorial yesterday that reportedly represented the coup de grace for Daschle.

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