Political bloggers: Obama nominees missteps serious but not critical. Obama has strong but limited influence over Cong. Dems.:

This week's National Journal poll of leading political bloggers asked, "How much damage have controversies surrounding the nominations of Tom Daschle, Timothy Geithner and William Lynn done to President Obama's image?" On the Right, the leading choice was "some", with about a quarter answering "a great deal" or "only a little." On the left, the leading choice was "only a little" (53%), while "some" got about a third.

My view: "Daschle's tax avoidance was impossible to defend as minor or just an honest mistake. It helps Obama in the long run that he will not be in the Cabinet, since he would have been a visible link between the administration and the Rangel/Dodd/Frank congressional culture of corruption. Lynn broke no law (even though his lobbying work offends the far left), and Geithner's original error really was caused by his tax software (as demonstrated by my Volokh Conspiracy colleague James Lindgren)." I think Daschle is a big setback this week, but it will eventually be forgotten--and having someone like Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen rather than Daschle will be much better for Obama (and the country) in the long run.

The second question was: "Based on events of recent weeks, how much sway do you think President Obama will have over congressional Democrats?" On a 1-5 scale, the Left voted for 4.0, and the Right for 3.2. My vote was a tenative 4. "We don't know yet for sure if Pelosi/Obey turning the 'emergency stimulus' into a massive permanent increase in ordinary domestic spending was contrary to Obama's wishes. If so, it suggests that Obama's influence over Congress may be weak. If Obama likes what the so-called 'stimulus' has become, this suggests that the new administration might be as fiscally irresponsible as the previous one."