With the news that Tom Daschle has withdrawn his name to be HHS Secretary, it's time for the netroots to consider some names they would like to see in that position and start pushing one, and hard.
When Bill Richardson withdrew his name to be Commerce Secretary, alternatives were largely ignored, and we ended up with Judd Gregg. Not exactly the best alternative in the world.
Below, I'll float two names to get the discussion going.
The most obvious choice is Howard Dean. Nobody can really question his qualifications for the position, but he will have baggage. Namely, fierce partisanship that rubs some the wrong way, and a poor relationship with the President's Chief of Staff. The question will be whether Dean has the temperment to push through health care reform...working within the Obama administration and with Congressional Democrats.
I will throw a second name out there, mainly because I know the guy and I'm standing up for my fellow Marylanders: Tom Perez. He's got a lot of upside: progressive, Hispanic, early Obama supporter, ties to Senator Kennedy (who will be a major player in health care reform legislation), and former head of the Office of Civil Rights at HHS. Only downside for Tom is that he isn't a big "name" in a cabinet seemingly made up of all-stars. Does Perez have enough gravitas for the position?
Seems to me now is the perfect opportunity to start putting some names out there. Fire away.