Today, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) stood up for all Americans — and yes all conservatives — who value limited government and transparent leadership. In withdrawing his name from consideration for Secretary of Commerce, he chose principle over career.

In Senator Gregg’s released statement, he said: “It has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me. Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.”

It had become apparent to Senator Gregg that the “stimulus” was in fact, not designed to stimulate the economy, but to advance a radical liberal ideology. He realized that socializing health care wasn’t stimulating, nor was ending welfare reform as we know it, nor returning Americans to an era of dependency rather than an era of self-reliance. It had become apparent to Senator Gregg that the Department of Commerce should maintain oversight of the independent U.S. Census. The White House had pressed for complete control.  However, the U.S. Census isn’t a manipulative political tool, but a critical asset of the government used to measure seats in Congress and federal resource distribution. Although Senator Gregg respected President Obama, and his leadership, he also realized the President needed a full level of support from his Cabinet, and that conservatives needed a full level of support in the Senate.

This courage came at a cost. Surely this embarrassment to the Obama Administration will not earn him bargaining chips in future White House negotiations. Surely the White House will keep a keen eye on the senator’s re-election, if he chooses to run again. Also remember that the role of Commerce Secretary would have opened new career doors, new popularity, new perks and new wealth. Being a senator isn’t exactly a bad job, but combining both experiences surely was a tempting offer.

Senator Gregg stood down from his nomination knowing that nobody would hold him personally accountable for the “stimulus” if he chose to stay, and knowing that his vote wouldn’t stop the bill from passing. While Senator Gregg’s courage to cast his single vote in favor of core conservative principles may not change the outcome, it may cause at least one more senator to look inside his or her heart and courageously join him to say no to the return of welfare, the implementation of government-controlled health care, the doubling in size of federal departments and the persecution of religion — and say yes to the real stimulus that hard-working Americans have earned — their own money and control of their own lives.

Courage in Washington doesn’t come cheap, and it doesn’t come easy, so it should be recognized when it occurs. Well done, Senator.