From the Peoria, Ill. Journal Star — Originally published Wednesday, Jan. 4

… We don't know what got to [Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Tom] Daschle, who had vowed on Monday to see the nomination through despite the tax controversy hanging over him, with vocal support from President Barack Obama and many Democratic senators.

Perhaps it became apparent to him that yet another Cabinet or high level nominee with tax problems was just one mulligan too many for the Obama administration …

Maybe Daschle recognized how lame it was for such a seasoned political pro to describe his initial failure to pay $128,000 in taxes owed for indirect income as "completely inadvertent." … Shouldn't a former Senate majority leader know better? Perchance he figured it looked especially bad for a secretary of health to skip out on his Medicare taxes, as well.

Possibly Daschle fell on his sword because it became obvious he could only hurt the credibility of the White House he wanted to help. In fact health care is a big deal to this administration … and Daschle likely would have been a drag on that. …

Whatever the case, Daschle ultimately did the right thing by stepping aside.

Our bigger concern at this point is what these episodes say about Obama and Senate Democrats, who had given every indication that they would have confirmed Daschle anyway.

… There have been some encouraging signs from Obama — his willingness to reach across the aisle and to engage Congress in his decision-making, for example. But "change you can believe in" and a "new era of responsibility" were the catch phrases of his campaign. …

Countless of his supporters took those words seriously. We did. He will be judged on how well he delivers on them. This has not been a good week.