When I read last week that President Barack Obama told Republican leaders ‘I won’, in response to Republican opposition to a government-growing stimulus bill, I thought of bees. You see, there is nothing more menacing to a 10,ooo pound elephant than the sound of angry bees. The pachyderm is known to run to avoid a sting.
A former Congressional staffer and reporter sent a San Francisco Examiner editorial to his e-mail distribution list that captures an unspoken sentiment among many Republicans in town. “Covering GOP becomes Obama’s doormat,” captures the essence of quiet Republican thinking. It is reproduced below in its entirety.
Hopefully, we will see Republicans in the very near future crush these outbursts on the spot, and, as this editorial discusses, become a loyal opposition. The Democrats control the Congress and the White House. The Republican Party must not give them any political cover for programs that grow the size of government, increase taxes, or weaken our national security. None.
They may have the votes, for now. They won control by running to the center of the leadership of the Democratic Party. If we want the Democrats to be stung in the 2010 elections, the GOP needs act like the minority party. By and large, it was conservative ideas that propelled moderate Democrats to elected office. Be the party of ideas, remind people what makes the GOP different.
And, fight (even when stung).
Examiner Staff Writer 1/25/09
Too many Senate Republicans are turning tail rather than demanding concrete answers to obvious ethical questions from three of President Obama’s most important Cabinet picks. Have these GOPers forgotten the difference between having an open mind — a good thing — and lying down like doormats?
The three nominees who merited far more serious scrutiny were Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder and Timothy Geithner — for secretary of state, attorney general and Treasury secretary, respectively.
Clinton was approved Wednesday after receiving kid-glove treatment from her former Senate colleagues. Holder’s confirmation seems on a glide path, thanks to Republicans cowering after Democrats rebuffed Sen. Arlen Specter, the Judiciary Committee’s top minority member. Specter wanted a mere two witnesses to be subpoenaed before Holder moved forward. Geithner’s confirmation appears on track after he explained away his failure to pay four years’ worth of federal taxes as the fault of TurboTax, the online tax-preparation software. Apparently, “TurboTax did it” now replaces “the dog ate it” in the pantheon of excuses.
None of this is to say any of the three Obama nominees should not be confirmed. But few Senate Republicans have even attempted to explore important, well-established facts about each of the three nominees, even though less-serious résumé blemishes have sunk other nominations. Nobody expects gentlemanly Senate Republicans to savage nominees as Democrats routinely did in the past when the Bush administration put forward its picks. But is it asking too much to insist on concrete answers to vital ethical questions? Or to label evasions as such and withhold support as a consequence?
After all, even the liberal New York Observer editorialized a few years ago that Clinton was “unfit for elective office.” Does nobody in the Senate care that she was tied to sleazy Hollywood fundraising on her behalf by multiple felon Peter Paul? Was it not even worth reviewing the 1995 deposition in which an independent counsel cited her for false statements under oath? It is one thing to decide these and other problems do not disqualify her — but it is a dereliction of duty to refuse even to review the cases.
Likewise with Holder, who was queried far too gently about his help in securing presidential pardons for 16 Puerto Rican terrorists. Ditto with Geithner, who actively applied for and accepted an allowance to cover the taxes he didn’t pay.
Senate Republicans seem to have forgotten the second word in the familiar phrase “loyal opposition.”