Richardson fallout?

RICHARDSON FALLOUT?…. OK, so Bill Richardson is out as Commerce Secretary, and the Obama transition team will no doubt have to scramble to quickly find a capable replacement. (Atrios and Matt both seem interested in the gig. The confirmation hearings would be highly entertaining.)

But the next question is, does any of this matter? I rather doubt it. Every incoming president seems to have one cabinet nominee run into trouble — Linda Chavez, Zoe Baird, and John Tower are the three most recent examples — and at least Richardson is bowing out before Congress returns and well in advance of confirmation hearings.

I think Chris Cillizza’s sense of the political landscape sounds about right.

Despite the setback posed by the Richardson news, polling suggests Obama has built up plenty of good will during his transition process and is not likely to be knocked off track by today’s news. […]

While Richardson’s business friendly record likely would have helped the Obama Administration in its outreach to that crucial community in the negotiations over how to heal the economy, it’s hard to see it as badly derailing those efforts.

Make no mistake: Obama and his team would have preferred that this Richardson withdrawal had never happened — particularly on the eve of the president-elect’s trip to Capitol Hill tomorrow to make the case for his economic stimulus plan.

But, this is far from a death blow for Obama’s momentum heading into the inauguration.

Agreed. I suppose the RNC and Fox News will try to raise a fuss, but in general, I suspect most of the political world won’t care much at all. It’s no doubt annoying to the transition office — some vetters will get a stern talking to — but in the bigger picture, Richardson’s withdrawal seems like little more than a speedbump.

Yes, Obama is headed to the Hill to start the legislative work on his “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan,” but let’s be honest — did anyone seriously believe that Richardson would play an important role in shaping and/or advancing the policy?