Wednesday, January 11, 2017

You are too dumb, demoralized, and deplorable to care about the Senate confirmation crime

I dare say that my headline got your attention.  The Senate Republicans, especially, their Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, think that you are too dumb and/or demoralized to pay attention to the confirmation process being trashed as you read this.  Trump agrees, I will bet, because he also thinks that most of you are deplorable, not worthy of respect.  If all that pisses you off, it should.  And you should call your Senators and bitch about what is happening.

The New Yorker's Evan Osnos reports on how Senate Republicans gut the confirmation process.  Below are selected snippets.

... the most remarkable thing about McConnell’s desire to “get past” the process of vetting before the vetting has happened is not what it says about his commitment to political tribalism above all other values. That was already well-established, after all. No, the truly remarkable story it reveals involves the sheer recklessness of the incoming Administration. The vetting process is not, as some of Trump’s neophyte advisers might suspect, just a ritual performed for weak-kneed “goo-goos,” the good-government types in comfortable shoes. On the contrary, it is meant to be a cold-eyed political demolition derby: a controlled explosion that can protect an Administration by preventing a problem appointee from getting inside the inner sanctum.

For the past twenty-five years, every President, Democrat and Republican, has lost one or more Cabinet choices because of vetting before they entered the Administration. In 1989, the Senate rejected President George H. W. Bush’s pick to head the Defense Department, former Senator John Tower, of Texas, after he was accused of heavy drinking and womanizing. (Tower even offered to abstain from drinking; that wasn’t enough.) Bill Clinton lost two picks for Attorney General—Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood—over discoveries about the immigration status of their household employees. Two of President George W. Bush’s proposed appointments—Bernard Kerik, for Secretary of Homeland Security, and Linda Chavez, for Secretary of Labor—had to drop out for similar reasons. And Barack Obama lost former Senator Tom Daschle, his first choice for Secretary of Health and Human Services (he had failed to pay income taxes on a car and driver), and Governor Bill Richardson, of New Mexico (allegations, later disproved, of improper political financing), a would-be Commerce Secretary.

Trump is making an astonishing bet that he will be the first President in a quarter century to manage not to have a single nominee disqualified. And he is betting that the American people, having just elected the first modern President to refuse to release his tax returns, are, in effect, done with ethics. He is betting that, like his oft-cited prediction that he could shoot someone and not lose votes, virtually nothing that could come out after a nominee is confirmed will undermine his Presidency. He is betting, in effect, that we’re too dumb or too demoralized to care. 

The enduring question will be, Does it work? Will Trump and McConnell succeed in effectively gutting one more norm that was once erected to defend the American people from abuse by their public officials? McConnell thinks so. He has predicted that “up to” seven nominees will be confirmed by Inauguration Day, on January 20th. ...

As of Monday morning, only eight of Trump’s twenty-one nominees had submitted their tax returns to committees, according to Democrats quoted in the press. Will Americans swamp the switchboards again to demand better? Republicans are betting that the answer is no.

You need to understand one other thing.  
Donald Trump believes that "you can’t respect people because most people aren’t worthy of respect." Check out my October post on that.

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