Quick, name three past secretaries of HHS. Okay, two? One? Don’t even know what HHS stands for? Don’t worry, most Americans probably would fail this little quiz. If you passed, take your honors as a super geek.
In normal times, the head of the Department of Health and Human Services is not exactly a rock star, not even in Washington circles. But things are different with an administration aiming to bring about the biggest change in national health care since Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law at Harry Truman’s presidential library in Independence, Missouri.
Tom Daschle’s withdrawal leaves a fascinating and crucial vacuum to fill in Barack Obama’s emerging Cabinet.
Two out-of-the-ballpark names to speculate about are (out of left field) Howard Dean, and (from way out there in right field) Newt Gingrich.
Liberals would surely be pleased with Dr. Dean, but he and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have some serious fence mending to do before that could happen.
Gingrich? Now before you lefties have a collective heart attack, think about it. Something as big as overhauling our entire health care system will be tougher to get done on a purely partisan basis. There are Republicans who want to play.
As much as it would infuriate liberals, picking Gingrich would be a hyper-bipartisan move. Would it confound the GOP into submission on health care? Maybe not, but it would be a bold move to change the political dynamics that have killed reforms in the past.
Is the Obama “Honeymoon” Over?
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