20 September 2005
Neese backs away
Terry Neese has asked that her nomination to be Director of the US Mint be dropped. Here's her statement:
I am honored that President Bush nominated me as the first Oklahoman to serve as Director of the United States Mint.
After clearing an exhaustive FBI investigation, an IRS review and the Office of Government Ethics requirements, I have reflected on my decision to move forward and have regretfully asked the President to withdraw my name from consideration.
I am deeply thankful to the President for placing his confidence in my abilities.
I am looking forward to spending meaningful, quality time with my 83-year-old mother, husband, daughter and grandchildren.
I also want to thank all of the Oklahomans for their counsel and support.
I will continue my longtime work and passion as an advocate for small business and women and minority business owners in Oklahoma and across the nation.
That's all she's saying. Given her track record, I seriously doubt anyone would have discovered anything negative. Publicist Brenda Jones, speaking to The Oklahoman, says it's just that Neese really didn't want to end up in Washington full-time:
She just had to come to grips with what this would mean to her family. She felt like being so far away is inconsistent with the priorities in her life, which has always been family. She regretfully but voluntarily had a change of heart.
And that would seem to be that.
Posted at 6:33 PM to Soonerland
You know, I thought of Neese when all the Michael Brown effluvium hit the fan, and wondered if she was qualified to lead the Mint or if it was just more political cronyism.
I stopped worrying when I realized I couldn't possibly imagine what special qualifications it would take to run the Mint, other than knowing how to run a large organization.
Well, given the charter, you might need significant experience in manufacturing and security, but unless there's some penny-ante crisis looming, it's hard to see what could go too wrong.
(Then again, the President has proven able time and again to exceed what the "what else could go wrong?" expectations...)
It's certainly a lower-end position than, say, Secretary of the Treasury. I'll grant you Dubya's tendency to fill too many slots with political hacks FEMA is just one example but Neese's trail goes all the way back to Bush 41 with no negatives to speak of, so I'm inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Good on her! Even though it is unfortunate, since she sounds like the kind of person with the kind of values that would do DC some good. If she's interested in a job in Tennessee, tell her to jump on I-40 and truck on over.
I don't think Michael Brown is (or was) a bad person, just that he was not qualified for the job he accepted. I'd think any political appointee seeking confirmation right now should expect a lot of questions along those lines.
I'd guess the Director of the Mint has to know how to move a lot of metal and keep it from being stolen. I admire the can-do spirit, the "Gosh, I've never manufactured billions of coins before, but I'll give it a try," but I think the administration has used up all of it's learning-on-the-job chits.
She should run the Small Business Administration or something, or get one of the traditional patronage appointments for people with no governing skills, like ambassador to Patagonia, or maybe Micronesia.
I hear they sell micro-knees at cost.