As usual, the Republicans are thumbing their nose at the American People and the rule of law. They don’t care what laws they avoid or even break as long as they get their way. We have seen it before, but not to this level.
Starting tomorrow, Trump’s nominees for his cabinet will begin having their hearings in the Senate to be approved. The Republicans are going to ramrod through these nominations because according to Mitch McConnell “we won” so suck it up.
I don’t have any real problem with quickly holding hearings, but I do have a problem with the way McConnell is doing business. First he is going to hold hearings at the same time. There are actually members of the Senate who serve on more than one committee. Meaning that they will have to pick which hearing they sit in on. We will actually have confirmation hearings without having full committee membership attending due to conflict of hearing times.
But, that is the small, what some might say insignificant, part of the problem. The biggest part of the problem is that not all of the nominees have even completed and submitted their paperwork to the Office of Government Ethics.
The way this process usually works is that nominees fill out a questionnaire and submit it to the OGE and the OGE begins processing the applications to ensure there are no conflicts of interests.
Every President before this president-elect followed the usual practice of submitting the “paperwork” to the OGE even before they made the announcement of their picks. This gave the OGE and the FBI time to properly conduct their investigations so when the confirmation hearings took place the committee members had a full report they needed to make a reasonable judgement.
However, this year that isn’t the case. The OGE sent a letter to Democratic Senators complaining about the quick process and worried that their work will not be completed before the hearings are even over much less begin.
OGE Director Walter Shaub wrote in his letter:
The announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me. This schedule has created undue pressure on OGE’s staff and agency ethics officials to rush through these important reviews. More significantly, it has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings.
He also wrote that this appears to be unprecedented. He said: “I am not aware of any occasion in the four decades since OGE was established when the Senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process”.
Of course Republicans and the transition team aren’t very worried about confirming potentially people with huge conflicts of interest. Even that mind-numbing idiot Newt Gingrich said we don’t have to worry because all of these people “are hugely successful people”.
Senate Democrats are asking that these hearings be delayed until the OGE and the FBI complete their investigations and/or at least until they nominees complete all of the questionnaires they seem to think are not very important.
How can any Republican honestly state that these investigations are not important and a necessary part of the process? It is true that as McConnell has said, seven of President Obama’s 2009 nominees were confirmed before the inauguration. Yet, it was also true that they all filled out the proper paperwork and had their investigations completed before being confirmed. Big difference.
Other experts agree this is unprecedented. “This is unprecedented,” Trevor Potter, former chair of the Federal Election Commission, tells the Washington Post. “This suggests that there has been a real breakdown between the transition and the Office of Government Ethics.”
There are not a lot of reasons for this quick ramrod of the nomination hearings unless the Republicans are afraid they will unveil ethics problems with any of the nominees. What other sane reason could they give. Sorry, but “we won” so we don’t have to follow normal rules is just not good enough of an argument for anyone.
If that isn’t the reason, then they must be looking at avoiding normal democratic processes in order to set up a Republican Authoritarian Government. The one thing we have been able to count on during our history, is the peaceful and almost unheard of transition between the current President and the incoming President.
In all my years following politics, I have never seen so much coverage about the transition as I have this year. The Republicans seem willing to avoid any common decency during this transition and that is simply unheard of in the past by either party.
This kind of behavior does not bode well for the future. It seems like we are being told to shut up and do as we are told. It doesn’t give us much belief that if one or more of these nominees are later found to be in serious conflict of interest, that we can count on the Republicans to do anything about it.
I am beginning to get the feeling that this will be the most unethical, most corrupt, and most radical government we have ever seen in our country. I am also beginning to believe that our media or more importantly our so-called “independent press” isn’t going to do anything about it either. They all seem to be eagerly willing to “normalize” Trump and his gang of extremists. There are a few exceptions, but not enough.
If you have been wondering why Trump seems to love Putin so much, these actions are showing us that is exactly what Trump wants to be as our president. Trump wants to become America’s Putin. A person I believe to be a power-hungry corrupt businessman wants his presidency to be like a power-hungry corrupt politician like Putin.
If you look at everything piece by piece, you will miss the full picture. You have to look at everything as it ties to everything else. Kellyanne Conway said the other day we need to “look into Trump’s hears and not listen to what comes out of his mouth”. Maybe she is right. If we look into his heart, we will then the authoritarian wanna-be that he really is. Does she really want us to see that?
Do McConnell and Ryan want a real Congress or a Politburo. We have a Politburo in North Carolina and we are seeing our democracy here being depleted piece by piece. We will continue fighting our Politburo here, we need to fight it in Washington before it gets to far along. We cannot let that happen to our country.