Replacing Tom Daschle

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Now that the former Senate Majority Leader has withdrawn his nomination to become Health and Human Services Secretary, speculation in Washington turns to who might take the job–two jobs, actually, if you count the newly created White House post for health care reform.

What we know of Barack Obama in situations such as these is that he is willing to make an unconventional choice. Who would have predicted him naming New Hampshire Republican Senator Judd Gregg to be Commerce Secretary, when his pick of Bill Richardson fell through? So I’ve got an out-of-the-box suggestion that he might consider. My suggested nominee is a proven problem-solver on the health care issue, who has shown that he is willing to invest whatever political capital it takes to get the job done. Someone who has shown that, on this issue, he can work pragmatically across party lines. Someone who has partnered with Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the chairman of the Senate health committee, on a plan. In fact, he’s the only person in America who has ever put together and passed a universal health care program.

That man: Mitt Romney.

UPDATE: Marc Ambinder likes my idea. Jonathan Cohn steps even further out of the box.

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