Senate Democrats are preparing to put Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks through a grinding confirmation process, weighing delay tactics that could eat up weeks of the Senate calendar and hamper his first 100 days in office.But that still doesn't justify the headline:
Multiple Democratic senators told POLITICO in interviews last week that after watching Republicans sit on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court for nearly a year, they’re in no mood to fast-track Trump’s selections.
But it’s not just about exacting revenge.
Democrats argue that some of the president-elect’s more controversial Cabinet picks -- such as Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary -- demand a thorough public airing.
“They’ve been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. We’re going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified?” fumed Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “It’s not obstruction, it’s not partisan, it’s just a duty to find out what they’d do in these jobs.”
Democrats to give Trump Cabinet picks the Garland treatmentWrong. Democrats can't "give Trump Cabinet picks the Garland treatment." No Democrat expresses the intention of "giv[ing] Trump Cabinet picks the Garland treatment." The worst these appointees are going to experience is this:
Any individual senator can force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold procedural votes on nominees. Senior Democrats said a series of such votes are likely for many of Trump’s picks.Do I have to explain the obvious? Merrick Garland did not get a vote in the Senate. Merrick Garland did not get a vote in the Judiciary Committee. Merrick Garland did not get a hearing. When Democrats completely block a Trump Cabinet appointment, then they'll be giving the appointee "the Garland treatment."
Democrats could conceivably force up to 30 hours of debate for each Cabinet nominee, which would be highly disruptive for a GOP Senate that usually works limited hours but has big ambitions for next year.
And because, for the mainstream media, the flip side of "both sides do it" is "actually, Democrats are worse," we're told this:
Eight years ago, when the roles were reversed, with Barack Obama taking office and an all-Democratic Congress, Republicans were mostly deferential to the incoming president. On Obama's first day in office, the Senate confirmed seven of Obama's Cabinet nominees. By the end of that week, it had cleared more than a dozen senior-level positions, all without dissent except for Hillary Clinton’s nomination to be secretary of state, for which the GOP demanded a roll call.Yes, because Republicans chose to be obstructionist about appointments that weren't likely to make the nightly news. It took seven months to confirm Tom Perez as head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, presumably because Republicans didn't like the idea of having a career civil rights lawyer in the job. And Republicans saw to it that Obama's judicial appointments were slow-walked, as Slate's Doug Kendall noted in late October 2009:
Trump almost certainly won’t be receiving similar treatment.
Only three of [President Obama's] 22 lower court nominees have been confirmed so far. The latest one, Roberto Lange for a federal district court in South Dakota, was cleared last week after waiting for three and a half months (including three weeks on the floor). The slow pace of the president's nominations is part of the problem. But the larger issue is a new form of obstructionism in the Senate.So what else makes this situation Garland-like? What other false equivalency can Politico offer?
It seems clear that Senate Republicans are prepared to take the partisan war over the courts into uncharted territory -- delaying up-or-down votes on the Senate floor for even the most qualified and uncontroversial of the president's judicial nominees.
Historically, the Senate began hearings before Inauguration Day for every attorney general nominee from a newly elected president since Dwight Eisenhower, with the exception of a nominee carried over by George H.W. Bush from the Reagan administration who was approved without a hearing. Incoming Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she highly doubts Sessions will be confirmed on Inauguration Day.Omigid! Not allowing Jeff Sessions to be sworn in by January 20 -- that's exactly as bad as keeping Garland off the bench altogether!
She, like other Democrats interviewed for this story, said that Republicans’ treatment of Garland is impossible to forget.
“Past is present, and what goes around comes around. Now, those are pretty hackneyed sayings, but those are really true around here,” Feinstein said in an interview.
Not all Democrats are on board with a strategy of delay.
Informed that Democrats might hold up Sessions and other nominations past Jan. 20, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia responded: “That’s just bullshit.”
“My God, I think we should have an attorney general in place on Jan. 20. I sure do believe that," added Manchin....
Get ready for more of this from the media.