Millions of protesters took to the streets in American cities, as well as cities around the world, last weekend to protest the Trump regime and to support progressive values, and the answer from those who are identified as the firebrands of Democratic Party, like Senators Warren and Brown and faux Democrat Bernie Sanders, is to vote yea on Trump nominees. I've seen all the rationales for these votes from the senators themselves and Democratic supporters. Statements like "we have to pick our battles" and "we can't block them all anyway." "We don't know what kind of backroom deals the Dems are making" and "Don't criticize. We must stay unified." I am astonished we are using those kinds of excuses and indulging in this kind of wishful thinking usually reserved for normal political times, because, as you well know, these are not normal times.
Furthermore, we strongly condemned Senators Rubio, McCain, and Graham for voting for Rex Tillerson despite their harsh criticism of him, but then we excuse Senators Sanders, Warren, and Brown for the same behavior.
In Senator Brown's voting statement, he says, “Carson is not the nominee I would have chosen to lead HUD. But despite my reservations ... I will give Dr. Carson the benefit of the doubt based on commitments he has made to me in person and to this Committee in his testimony and written statements." Senator Brown willingly gives the benefit of the doubt to Ben Carson, a man who is imminently unqualified, but more importantly, is not tethered to reality. How can you take the word of a conspiracy theorist and fantasist? How exactly do you trust the word of an unstable man?
In an email, a Warren spokesperson also pointed to Carson’s written answers to the senator’s questions, including his pledge to 'strongly support' existing homeless reduction programs." On her Facebook wall, Warren also pledged to hold him accountable. She thinks she can hold an unhinged man like Carson accountable, much less a man whose boss is an equally unhinged tyrant.
Bernie Sanders has already offered to support a $10 minimum wage if Trump will play nice and to work with him on trade as a reward for killing the already dead TPP. The same Sanders, who roundly criticized President Obama for compromising with the GOP, now excuses his vote for Mattis and Kelly with "in a Trump cabinet likely to be loaded up with right-wing extremists, all of whom I will oppose, I hope General Mattis and General Kelly will have a moderating influence on some of the racist and xenophobic views that President Trump advocated throughout the campaign."
Meanwhile Trump talks about taking Iraqi oil endangering Americans on the ground there advising Iraqi forces. Trump is moving ahead with a wall along the Mexican border that will cost billions of dollars. We just discovered he's using unsecured phones and refuses to take calls from Pres. Merkel. Now he's going to ban refugees from Muslim countries, which by all accounts plays into ISIS propaganda. I am having difficulty seeing how either Mattis or Kelly is bringing moderation to Trump's actions or policies.
Additionally, I wish someone would explain to me why, if Mattis and Kelly are reasonable men, they have chosen to be advisors to Trump and then be nominees for a Trump cabinet position. That seems counterintuitive to me. I am also most wary of generals, who can exert strong influence over the military, serving as heads of the departments of defense and homeland security. What happened to the principal of citizen control over our Armed Forces?
From Vox there is this:
There’s also the strong institutional pull for Democrats to follow historical precedent and let the president choose his Cabinet nominees. In its history, the Senate has only voted down nine presidential Cabinet nominees, according to Josh Huder, a congressional scholar at Georgetown. Almost all of President Obama’s picks sailed through in 2009 without much resistance. And that was at a time when Republicans in the minority could still filibuster them — meaning they could have blocked them, but didn’t.
Again, let me point out this is not the time to follow historical precedent because there is no precedent for a Trump presidency in America. Precedents didn't matter when Barrack Obama was president. The comparison to Trump's cabinet picks and President Obama in the above paragraph is absurd. President Obama selected competent men and women to lead his administration, not buffoons, scoundrels, and crooks. Let us never forget that the Republicans obstructed President Obama's legislation at every opportunity and blocked appointees to judicial vacancies. Judge Merrick Garland never even got a hearing.
Embedded in whatever deal or compromise the Republicans are serving up is treachery and betrayal. Accepting any offer or pledge from anyone of them is akin to accepting a piece of rotten apple from someone. "Look this piece is almost good. Take it" and we respond, "Why, thank you. So generous of you." That piece is still rotten. The Resistance is a full-bodied movement. Sticking one's toe in the water is not acceptable; this Resistance calls for a complete submersion.
Yes, other Democratic senators voted for the nominees besides the three senators I have mentioned, but it is these three that progressives have proclaimed as their leaders. The Senators' actions do nothing to further progressive values in this country. Their actions do nothing to support the resistance movement. We have never in our history needed strong leadership from the Democratic Party as much as we need it now and that means no adherence to precedence, political norms, and unrealistic expectations of cooperation from any of the nominees. When our senators vote for these nominees, they are normalizing them.
We must send a loud and clear message to the Republican Party that we are not going to abide by this travesty of a cabinet. We will not approve the lesser of two evils. We must send a strong message to our party leaders that we will not allow those who have the least to lose are allowed to pick our battles for us. We will not accept political compromises when our rights are usurped and the very lives of our brothers and sisters are in grave danger. Never ever.