I had half-jokingly thought this guy would be the best pick. More on this later.
President Barack Obama's idea to put Republican New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg to be the new Secretary of Commerce is nothing more than a blatantly obvious political ploy. Apparently, Obama doesn't want someone to manage all of the agencies of the Commerce Department; he just wants a face to be next to the title:
The director of the Census Bureau will report directly to the White House and not the secretary of Commerce, according to a senior White House official.
The decision came after black and Hispanic leaders raised questions about Commerce Secretary nominee Judd Gregg’s commitment to funding the census.
It seems that Gregg has ruffled the feathers of some people as it relates to the upcoming census:
Gregg, New Hampshire’s senior senator, voted in committee and on the floor for a 1995 Republican budget that envisioned the elimination of the Commerce Department. Of even more concern to black and Hispanic leaders, Gregg battled President Clinton over a request for “emergency” funding for the 2000 census.
“Secretary of Commerce-designate Judd Gregg’s record raises serious questions about his willingness to ensure that the 2010 census produces the most accurate possible count of the nation’s population,” the National Association of Latino Elected Officials said in a release on Tuesday, the day Gregg was named to the post. “Policymakers and planners at all levels of government rely on these data to make important decisions about their services, such as the number of teachers that will be needed in their classrooms, the best places to build new roads, or the best way to provide job training.”
What a cynical pick by Obama. He obviously has no interest in letting Gregg actually run the Department; he just picked him simply to say he has a Republican in the administration. Actually, I'm wondering if Obama can actually get away with having the director of the Census Bureau bypassing Gregg (providing Gregg gets confirmed) and reporting directly to Obama himself without Congress getting involved. 15 U.S.C. § 1511 puts the Census Bureau in the Commerce Department; 13 U.S.C. § 4 gives the Secretary (as defined in 13 U.S.C. § 1) the authority over the Census Bureau and its employees, and 13 U.S.C. § 21 requires the Director to act on orders of the Secretary. These are the laws as passed by Congress and signed by past Presidents, and it doesn't seem to me that Obama can just make changes like this through another of his usually ambiguous Executive Orders. If anything, it looks like Obama is making a blatant power grab. It also looks like Obama is channeling his inner-Jimmy Carter, trying like a micro-manager, or a dictator, to run everything.
It's also an insult to Gregg. If Obama wanted a "yes man" to run the Commerce Department so that the census can be done the way Obama wants it done, then he could have picked another tax-challenged toady to the job. If Gregg has any self-respect, he should withdraw his name from the position immediately, and then tell Obama where he can put the job offer.
Which brings me back to whom I would suggest Obama pick. Alphonse "Scarface" Capone fits all the requirements of an Obama administration official; plus, "Scarface" brings some great advantages as compared to anyone else Obama could name. For the job requirements, Capone, like Obama, wasn't born in Chicago (Capone was born in New York), but he made his mark there. Second, nobody is more well-known for being a tax evader than Al Capone; his sentence is still on record for being the longest for anyone convicted of tax evasion.
Here are the extra goodies Capone would bring as Commerce Secretary. "Scarface" knew more about commerce than any other idiot Obama could name, although Capone's methods weren't exactly considered model or ethical (no problem for an Obama official) business practices. Capone was very bipartisan with the politics of the Chicago area; he corrupted Republican officials running the city of Chicago, and he corrupted Democratic officials running the city of Cicero. So Capone knew how to "break bread" with politicians of both parties.
But, and most importantly, Capone is dead. "Scarface" doesn't have the ability to direct how the Census Bureau conducts next year's census, so Obama can go ahead and do it himself, just like he wants to do with Gregg as Commerce Secretary. Second, Capone already has a residence, a place six-feet under in Mount Carmel Cemetary; considering Obama doesn't want the new Commerce Secretary to do anything, there's no reason to move Capone from where he is. And lastly, Obama wouldn't have to pay "Scarface" to do the job. Because Capone is dead. The President can then show how fiscally responsible he is.
So there it is. I urge everyone to contact President Obama and encourage him to nominate Al Capone to the job of Commerce Secretary. Capone fits the bill as a member of the Obama Cabinet perfectly. Hey, it isn't any more cynical than Obama's picking of Sen. Gregg for the job.