03/16/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gregg Mess: The GOP Is Back In Business

Something happened here that nobody's admitting to. Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire declines his previously accepted nomination as commerce secretary and as the only Republican member of the Obama cabinet because....? Well, he says it's because he's suddenly not on the same policy page as the president regarding stimulus and now doesn't like it that the president wants the census chief to report to the White House instead of the Commerce Department. This could be the case if the man drinks a lot, or has no idea know idea how to do his job, or is generally a flake. But none of that seems to be true.

That leaves an unreported tax, nanny, marital, sexual identity, or in-the-closet issue.

Or, something more interesting: pressure.

Assuming he has some reasonable level of professionalism and no lurking personal issues, then all that's left is that the Republicans got to him. The party decided they couldn't abide one of their respected members giving bipartisan comfort to the new administration; and, too, that they couldn't count on not being double crossed in the promise of the Democratic governor of New Hampshire to appoint a Republican and, therefore, head off handing a filibuster-proof majority of 60 to the Democrats.

Maybe the Republicans had something personal on Gregg. It wouldn't be the first time. Or, only slightly less savory, some legislative point of pressure. That dam we promised the great state of New Hampshire... etc.


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