Nancy Killefer – Obama’s Curvin Richards

Alex’ post on Nancy Killefer ‘withdrawing’ from an Obama administration post after becoming the umpteenth (well, third) prominent nominee to have “tax issues” reminds me of former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson’s firing of backup running back Curvin Richards after a second fumble in one game.

Had Emmitt Smith committed such an infraction — or Troy Aikman or Michael Irvin or any of a handful of star players (Leon Lett comes to mind) — they’d have not suffered the same fate.  But, alas, ol’ Curvin was much more expendable and cutting him sent a message about accountability.

We’ve already established that Timothy Geitner is Mr. Indispensible.   My guess is Tom Daschle is at least a Leon Lett. [*] Nancy Killefer?  Not so much.

*UPDATE:  Guess not – Daschle Withdraws as HHS Nominee

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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. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    While I tend to agree with your anaalogy, James, I would hasten to point out that the three people you cite are not the only Democrats so burdened.

    This is not simply the Obama administrattion; This is an image problem within the party as a whole, not just those who managed (however they did) to get nominated for one position or another within the administration. How many ethics questions have popped up among Democrats, within the last year? Be sure to include the state levels. (Spitzer, Blago, etc)

    Does anyone think, for example that the current situation with Rangel, where the Dems are apparently bent on ignoring his nonsense, isn’t causing image problems for this administrattion?

    All that’s not helped by the impression that the reason nobody’s asked these folks ‘have you paid your taxes?’ is because, as I said before, such matters simply aren’t important to them. Each time another one of these things comes up, the image is rightly reinfored.

    Clearly the shine is off the Democrats already. No chance left of taking the supposed moral high road.

  2. RW Rogers says:

    Killifer’s withdrawal serves as a useful distraction. The insignificant amount involved ($298+$600 in fines and $50 in interest) is laughable compared to Geithner and Daschle. Both you and Alex fail to appreciate that Geithner didn’t just make an “innocent mistake.” When the IRS caught his “mistake” for the tax years 2003 and 2004, Geithner chose to not tell the IRS that he’d made the same “mistake” on his 2001 and 2002 returns. At that point, it ceased being a “mistake.” An honest person would have corrected their earlier “mistakes” at that time, not sit back and wait for the statute of limitations to run out.

  3. carpeicthus says:

    Sadly unaware of football analogies, but Daschle has been benched.

  4. Franklin says:

    Few level-headed folks ever thought the Democrats didn’t have as many scandals as the Republicans. The house will get dirty again, I’m sure, but it’s been swept clean of Bush filth (something that would NOT have happened if McCain was elected).

    Obama still has over 1300 days before I get to vote on whether he did a good job. I’m glad to see two of the three tax cheats gone. I’m glad that only a tiny, tiny fraction of appointees are lobbyists. And I’m glad that we’ve turned the page on illegal torture and horrible foreign policy. It’s not perfect, but so far it’s an improvement.