You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

EDITORIAL: Another crony for the Cabinet

President Obama won’t get the plain talk he needs to hear

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

President Obama's choice of Hyatt hotel heiress Penny Pritzker as secretary of commerce, to be taken up Thursday by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, puts Democrats on the panel between that famous rock and a hard place.

Like the loyal soldiers they are, the panel's 13 Democrats will fall in line behind the nomination but a senator with acute olfactory perception will have to hold his nose to do it. The most vociferous opposition is coming from the Democrats' left-most base, which faults her as billionaire fat cat who doesn't like unions.

"Penny is one of our country's most distinguished business leaders," President Obama gushed in announcing the nomination earlier this month. Her most distinguishing accomplishment was her early bankrolling of Mr. Obama's meteoric rise from obscure Illinois state senator to the U.S. Senate and from there to the presidency. Ms. Pritzker raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for his campaigns and served as his 2008 campaign-finance chairman.

Ms. Pritzker's nomination puts the lie to Mr. Obama's pledge to clean up Washington's corrupt patronage and cronyism. Ms. Pritzker, who has a net worth more than $1.8 billion (not that there's anything wrong with that), will face tough questions from the committee's Republican minority about her taking advantage of offshore tax havens — the same practice for which Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats vilified Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign. We'll have fun watching the panel's Democrats tying themselves in pretzels in defense of Ms. Pritzker.

She will be asked to explain her role in the 2001 collapse of Superior Bank, which was co-owned by her family. The Hinsdale, Ill.-based bank was heavily involved in subprime mortgage lending. When the Superior failure was brought up during the 2008 campaign, the Obama team "explained" that she had "stepped down as chairwoman of the bank's board in 1994," seven years before its collapse. But as Breitbart.com observed this week, "a letter sent by [Ms.] Pritzker to the bank's employees in 2001 indicates she was still playing a major leadership role, right up to the bank's failure ." The Pritzkers subsequently were favored with a sweetheart settlement deal from the FDIC. The depositors got the short end of the bargain. About 1,400 customers lost part of their savings, an average of $6,000. One veteran is out $60,000 that he will likely never see again.

Ms. Pritzker won't have much to do at Commerce as the department is an unnecessary extravagance America can no longer afford. If we must have a secretary of commerce, he or she should be the voice of business reason. On Monday the Chicago Federal Reserve announced that its National Activity Index had fallen to negative 0.53, signaling major weakness in the manufacturing sector.

The economy will stumble as long as the administration continues to reward, Chicago-style, favored companies with subsidies and punish others with heavy taxes and regulation. A campaign crony isn't likely to walk into the Oval Office and tell the president some things he doesn't want to hear.

The Washington Times

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts