DeMint Brings “DeStupid” Against Obama

March 29, 2010

South Carolina’s Repug U.S. Senatorial mistake tells us the following from The Hill today (here)…

A day after the Senate adjourned for Easter recess President Obama said he was going to appoint 15 of his nominees during the break, depriving the Senate the opportunity to vet and vote on any of them.

Wrong – as Think Progress tells us here (quoting White House Communications Director Jen Psaki)…

Many of these fifteen individuals have enjoyed broad bipartisan support, but have found their confirmation votes delayed for reasons that have nothing to do with their qualifications. … Because of political posturing, these fifteen appointees have waited an average of 214 days for Senate confirmation. […]

To put this in perspective, at this time in 2002, President Bush had only 5 nominees pending on the floor. By contrast, President Obama has 77 nominees currently pending on the floor, 58 of whom have been waiting for over two weeks and 44 of those have been waiting more than a month.

And DeMint went onto the Bob Schieffer program “Faze The Nation” yesterday to trot out the same old whine about the Senate being denied an opportunity “to vet and vote on any of them,” to which TP says in response…

Despite what DeMint is saying, the problem is that Republicans were preventing (Craig) Becker (nominated for the NLRB) from receiving an up-or-down vote. Becker, in fact, has never received such a vote, thanks to a GOP filibuster (which was joined by Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln). In February, the motion to file cloture on his nomination was defeated by a 33-52 vote (with 15 senators missing the vote), eight short of the 60 needed to proceed to debate and a final vote. Even if all of the non-voting members had voted no, Becker still would have received the approval of a majority of the Senate.

There’s a similar story for many of other Obama’s nominees, including Erroll Southers, the man Obama chose to lead the Transportation Security Administration. DeMint led the opposition to Southers — in an attempt “to prevent TSA workers from joining a labor union” — who eventually chose to withdraw from consideration because of the delays.

More on Southers in a minute; the Hill article by DeMint includes him in a list of President Obama’s “Top 10 Failed Nominees and Appointees,” including the following (I’ll just look at 5 from the list for now):

White House “Green Jobs” czar Van Jones resigned after he it was discovered he signed a statement in support of a 9/11 “Truther” group.

Which, last I checked, was perfectly legal behavior (free speech and all that, you know).

Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) withdrew his nomination to become Health and Human Services Secretary after it was discovered he failed to properly pay his taxes.

Concerning Daschle, DeMint is actually correct, but the following should be noted (here)…

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s pick for health and human services secretary, Tom Daschle, failed to pay more than $128,000 in taxes, partly for free use of a car and driver that had been provided to him by a prominent businessman and Democratic fund-raiser, administration officials said Friday.

Mr. Daschle, concluding that he owed the taxes, filed amended returns and paid more than $140,000 in back taxes and interest on Jan. 2, the officials said.

After over a year of ridiculous partisan warfare with the Repugs, though, I wonder if Obama would have been as quick to accept Daschle’s resignation now as he was soon after he was inaugurated, when he was still all “hopey, changey” and like that.

DeMint also mentions Bill Richardson, who “withdrew his nomination to become Commerce Secretary because of an ongoing investigation into whether he doled out government contracts in exchange for campaign money” (as Wikipedia tells us here, “In August 2009, federal prosecutors dropped the pending investigation against the governor”).

Now, about Southers; here is DeMint…

(He was) Obama’s nominee to serve as director of the Travel Security Administration, (but he) withdrew after refusing to answer questions about collective bargaining and false testimony he presented to Congress.

From HuffPo (here)…

Southers said he couldn’t give DeMint a definitive answer on the collective bargaining issue because it wasn’t a yes or no question (the type of answer DeMint demanded), and required access to information he wouldn’t have had until he was confirmed.

And finally from DeMint…

Maj. Gen. Robert A. Harding, Obama’s second nominee to service as director of the Travel Security Administration, withdrew his name after it was discovered he received “service disabled veteran” status for sleep apnea.

Call me crazy, but based on this, it looks like sleep apnea could be a legitimate service disability (I would imagine that it would be difficult to, say, navigate a tank if you’re dozing off due to such a condition).

This is all typical for DeMint and his childish little games, though, also in evidence here in which he opposed the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act in 2007 after an agreement had supposedly been reached on it between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao.

As usual for a Repug, DeMint isn’t interested here in the whole “advice and consent” thing the Senate is supposed to perform here as opposed to trying to score cheap political points (which I’m sure will comfort DeMint’s equally clueless legion of teabagger followers).

Of course, having looked like a first-class rube over the passing of health care in the wake of DeMint’s call to stop it because “It will break (Obama) – It will be his Waterloo,” I suppose DeMint has to do something to try and remain relevant somehow.

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