Politico, 2/2/9

Sen. Judd Gregg will be nominated as the new Commerce secretary Tuesday morning, giving President Obama a fresh independent voice in his Cabinet but at a huge cost to Republicans and the larger Senate.

The run-up to the nomination has focused on backroom deals, from New Hampshire’s statehouse to Washington, to preserve the balance of power in Congress. And Tuesday’s White House announcement is expected to be accompanied by one by New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch that will ensure that Gregg’s seat won’t switch to the Democrats before the 2010 elections.

But lost in the shuffle is the greater dynamic: Gregg himself and the fact that Obama, while talking a good game about bipartisanship, is draining the Senate of the very talent he needs to achieve this goal.