Three stories, one theme. First, from the Wall Street Journal:
Two candidates for top jobs at the Treasury have withdrawn their names from consideration, complicating efforts by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to staff his department at a time of economic crisis, according to people familiar with the matter….People familiar with the matter said Ms. Nazareth and Ms. Atkinson withdrew in part because of the long vetting process, which had dragged on for weeks and included several rounds of intense questioning.
President Barack Obamas economic advisers are increasingly concerned about the U.S. Senates delay in confirming the nominations of Austan Goolsbee and Cecilia Rouse to the White House Council of Economic Advisers….Their stalled nominations serve as another reminder that Obama may find it difficult to live up to his campaign promise of changing the partisan culture in Washington. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada “was outrageous in abusing the Senates advise and consent powers,” said Tony Fratto, a former Bush spokesman. “So no one should be surprised if Senate Republicans follow the precedent he set.”
Finally, Ryan Grim at the Huffington Post:
Barack Obama made no secret of his feelings for “Washington lobbyists” during the campaign and vowed that they wouldn’t be staffing his White House. The implementation of that rule, however, has led to a number of consequences that Obama could never have intended….Lobbyists who for years have fought for workers’ rights, environmental protection, human rights, pay-equity for women, consumer protection and other items on the Obama agenda have found the doors to the White House HR department slammed shut.
So: endless vetting is spooking good candidates, Republicans are throwing temper tantrums, and anti-lobbyist goo-gooism is draining the progressive pool. Meanwhile, Rome is burning. This isn’t very encouraging news.