Judd Gregg: Commerce Secretary?

President Obama is considering Republican Senator Judd Gregg for the Commerce Secretary post, Sam Stein reports for HuffPo.

There is a strong possibility that Barack Obama will ask Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) to serve as his Secretary of Commerce, Democratic Senate aides tell the Huffington Post.

The move would fill a vacancy that has lingered since Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew his nomination. And provided that Al Franken emerges victorious in the Minnesota recount, it would give Democrats in the Senate a 60th caucusing member, as New Hampshire’s Democratic governor John Lynch would appoint Gregg’s replacement.

[…]

The potential of Gregg leaving the Senate will almost certainly set off an intense lobbying effort from his fellow Republican senators to persuade him to turn down the Commerce post. Already, a GOP operative writes in to say: “No way that Gregg takes it.”

Given that handing over the seat to the opposition party — and giving them a “filibuster-proof” majority — would make him a hated figure among Republicans, it’s virtually inconceivable that he’d do this.  Frankly, I can’t imagine leaving the Senate to be Commerce Secretary even without the political fallout.

Another shrewd move by Obama, though, if he goes through with this.  At the very worst, he comes across as being “bipartisan” while making a bold partisan power grab.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Mithras says:

    Frankly, I can’t imagine leaving the Senate to be Commerce Secretary even without he political fallout. Frankly, I can’t imagine leaving the Senate to be Commerce Secretary even without he political fallout.

    Edit needed.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Fixed. Copy-and-paste rather than cut-and-paste.

  3. Rick Almeida says:

    I dunno, he’s an outlying member of his caucus facing uncertain re-election prospects in his rapidly-bluing state in 2010. Perhaps he’s envisioning a career arc like:

    Commerce 2008 -> Treasury 2012 -> Governor 2016 or retirement, speeches, & sinecures for the rest of his life.

    It really doesn’t seem unfathomable to me, and as far as handing a 60-seat majority to the Dems, can Gregg be too comfortable in his own party now?

  4. Franklin says:

    I always misread his name as Judge Dredd, if that helps anything.

  5. Eneils Bailey says:

    Scrapping up Judd Gregg off the slaughterhouse floor and making him SecCom will do little for Gregg but give Obama the opportunity to hoot and howl about bi-partisanship.

    If he is named and then accepts, I can’t wait for the earth-shaking policies he will help implement for the average American. Maybe he can convince the Chinese to re-enforce all the poot panels in the underwear they sell in the US.

    This is just being considered to get another Democrat in the Senate.

    Secretary of Commerce; their reigns over the years have really impacted everyday life.

    Sure…Sure… they have.

  6. Steve Verdon says:

    Another shrewd move by Obama, though, if he goes through with this. At the very worst, he comes across as being “bipartisan” while making a bold partisan power grab.

    Or not since it is so easy to show the partisan thinking behind it.

  7. Brett says:

    We’ll have to see what Obama offers Gregg (assuming he still goes through with it now that it has become news that it will give them the 60th Senate Seat). They undoubtedly know the Republican Senators will lobby like crazy to prevent him from going, and perhaps Obama can offer him a follow-up position in Treasury (or something else) if he takes the Commerce job.

  8. Steve Verdon says:

    Obama can offer him a follow-up position in Treasury (or something else) if he takes the Commerce job.

    Serious commitment issue there. Promising to give him an appointment IF Geithner leaves, and IF Gregg wants to stay, there is still nothing that says Obama can’t renege on the deal. Basically cheap talk in game theory parlance.

  9. Triumph says:

    If this guy gets the gig, he will have to rename the position to:

    Judd Gregg, Commercee Secretaryy

  10. just me says:

    I think reelection for Gregg is in doubt-really in doubt given that every GOP head at the national level has rolled since 2006. Although it isn’t certain-depends a lot on who the democrats run against him.

    However, I have heard rumors that many democrats want Lynch to run in 2010 (he says he isn’t interested, but I don’t believe him). If Lynch really wants the seat, he might actually cut a deal to appoint somebody from the GOP, only because appointing a democrat to the seat would prevent him from running unless the appointee cut a deal to not run for reelection in 2010.

    If Gregg takes the job he will definitely be hated among the GOP, but I am not sure it hurts him in the long run politically-a cabinet post through 2012 or longer may look better than an almost sure loss in 2010-even if it does turn the senate over to the democrats and creates a filibuster proof majority once Franken is sworn in.

  11. steve s says:

    Judd Gregg has a brain, which means that among republicans he’s a hated RINO. I can see him ignoring the GOP’s desires and jumping ship. Hopefully Obama will succeed in this and the Party of Stupid will have less power to obstruct good policy.

  12. sam says:

    Interesting factoid about Judd Gregg: He won the lottery.

    Sen. Gregg wins $853,000 in Powerball

    Another shrewd move by Obama, though, if he goes through with this. At the very worst, he comes across as being “bipartisan” while making a bold partisan power grab.

    Or not since it is so easy to show the partisan thinking behind it.

    Of course it just might leave his political opponents wondering and worrying what the hell he’ll do next. Not a bad strategy I’d think.

  13. Dave from Oregon says:

    Perhaps this is restating Steve S’s point, but it has to make the Republican leadership even more nervous to know that their one remaining strength is precarious.

    If this works, President Obama has played this very very well.