It’s like musical chairs in the White House, except this game has a thousand seats and maybe 25 people playing the game. Cue the clip of Bart in the Leg-Up Program in Cypress Creek.

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Someone is fired or someone resigns, then he (or almost never, she) is replaced by somebody Trump knows well personally. By definition almost everybody meeting that description of being “trustworthy” in his understanding of the term already has an administration job. So. Deck chairs, Titanic, etc.

It’s easy to get riled up about the truly appalling human being recently appointed to head the CIA, but unusually I don’t think there’s anything for Senate Democrats to gain by opposing her nomination or Pompeo’s elevation to Secretary of State.
First, in practical terms it makes no difference what pile of garbage fills these positions, the policy will be the same.

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Which is to say there will be no policy, or policy will be whatever Our President decides it will be on a whim. I mean, what did having Tillerson in State accomplish? What did he even do? Wasn’t he just one of the dozens of people who was supposed to “control” the infant in the White House. He didn’t.

The Democratic leadership in the Senate has no spine for a filibuster on this or, apparently, anything else. Accordingly, it makes next to no difference whether individuals in the Democratic caucus vote for or against these nominees.
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As the party tends to do, the members will no doubt play 15th Level Chess trying to “strategize” the correct move here. Senators running for re-election in Republican-leaning states will no doubt conclude that it’s in their best interest to vote yes.

In principle it’s gross, and in practice it’s irrelevant. Who is this hypothetical voter out there who’s thinking, “Well I wasn’t sold on Claire McCaskill but eight months ago she voted to confirm Mike Pompeo…” It’s a delusion propagated by the Sunday talk show pundit class. Fortunately it doesn’t make any difference. Either you’re willing to coordinate an effort to block a nominee or you’re not. For the reasons outlined above this isn’t a hill worth dying on. It’s also not a “strategy” play that’s going to accomplish anything.

20 thoughts on “SIX OF ONE”

  • Dave Bearse says:

    "It’s like musical chairs in the White House, except this game has a thousand seats and maybe 25 people playing the game."

    And some of the f—–s playing still lose!

  • I couldn't agree more with your final conclusion. Who actually believes that any voter considers something like confirmations when choosing to support a candidate on the state level?

  • Trump voters _actively vote against their own economic self-interest_ in order to spite blacks and gays and women and hispanics.

    They are lost forever.

    Register first-time voters, preferably below AARP membership age, and get them to vote.

    It's the only way forward.

  • Tillerson was Putin’s choice prefered over Romney but He was doomed from the start – Trump & Tillererson were oil and water – one a truly successful business man , the other a failed fraud in business and charlatan – not to mention their great disparity in wealth – also an irritant to the Donald – we will never know how disparate their net worth until Trumps taxes are released – also Tillerson had to go once he started being a little too tough on Putin –

  • J. R. Ewing was going to smooth out the sanction friction while Captain Bone Spurs sailed in on the Leonov ship to play a round of quid pro quo golf with his Chekist masters. Eventually, as Bratva would have it, the vatrushka started to burn in the oven and the borscht left permanent stains at the scene of the crime.

  • In light of "Herr Drumph's!" reputation as a near invertebrate, I wouldn't be surprised if Tillerson had annoyed someone at Faux news or some other orifice of propaganda.

  • PrairieBear says:

    Not only do the Senate Dems have no spine for any filibusters, many of them have gone merrily along and voted in favor of handing the POTUS expanded surveillance powers, increasing the already bloated beyond measure "defense" budget, and dismantling what's left of the Dodd-Frank regulations. Same as House Dems.

    But we're supposed to vote for them come November because Russia. Can't wait to see how that works out.

  • I don't really disagree with you on substance, but I feel it's worth pointing out that Senate rules were changed under Reid to eliminate the filibuster for most executive appointments. (Due, of course, to the Republicans' willingness to slow-walk all of Obama's nominees all the time.) On the whole I think having an up-or-down vote is a good thing and it'll be helpful should the Democrats hold the Senate and the White House again some day, but at the moment it means there's not much that can be done unless a couple of GOP Senators are willing to defect.

  • @Ed
    Nah, pretty sure opposing the twin ghouls Pompeo and Gina "Extradition Torturer" Haspel is pretty good for political Karma. Maybe if the Dems actually opposed the odd war criminal, they'd actually start jailing them the next time around.

    Obama refused to prosecute Bush's torture squad (i.e. Haspel) because he was "looking forward instead of backwards". Forward to what exactly? There can be no justice in the future without addressing the injustices of the past.

    When Trump voters voted for Democrats, they weren't exactly voting in favor of their economic interests either. See NAFTA, bank deregulation, union-busting, charter schools, etc.

    So yes, register new voters, but make sure to offer them some actual material policies besides more warmed over capitalism, deregulation and anti-union rhetoric (it's been telling to see how lukewarm Dems have been on the West Virginia wildcat strike).

  • Hey, if it doesn't really matter to voters down the line, why NOT vote against a woman who violated the UN Convention against Torture? Sure it won't stop her nomination from going forward, but doing the right thing for the right reason (she's a criminal) is, uh, the RIGHT THING TO DO?

  • @Ed + others re "Who is this hypothetical voter out there who’s thinking, “Well I wasn’t sold on Claire McCaskill but eight months ago she voted to confirm Mike Pompeo…”

    I try to pay attention to what those already elected actually do once in office compared to their campaign & talk show rhetoric. If my support for Ds over Rs hinges on my belief/hope that the Ds will run people who are morally and ethically preferable to Rs as is reflected in the agenda, policies, and personnel they support then giving Trump a yes vote for cabinet nominees that are flaming piles of shit tells me they might not be trustworthy enough in the coming struggle to wrest control from the Rs and REVERSE all of their odious 'accomplishments'. Voting to confirm the torture lady and an unhinged shit-bag is bad for any D that does it.

    I'm not sure I am advocating filibuster but do not give #PresidentShithole your hand-shake and a 'yes' vote and then be surprised that your hand is covered in shit. It isn't a good look.

  • Dang, I thought about this some more, and I'm just gettin' madder. If any of the Dems in congress actually believe their OMG RUSSIAN COLLUSION rhetoric (I personally think the Pres is a fascist grifter, but not Putin's puppet) why have they voted to confirm Trump's various nominees over and over and supported for example, oh, I don't know, financial deregulation? (THAT worked out really fucking great last time, right? Oh, wait.)

    Seems to me like the #Resistance isn't resisting a goddamn thing. And voting to confirm a torturer makes you a collaborator.

  • Geoff: I think being a fascist grifter makes me very much a believer in the collusion stories. "Puppet"? Nah. Unless Putin continuously sweetens the deals, Trump is not someone who stays bought.

  • Marcus is amazing today:

    Remember: Torture is a capital crime under US law. Conspiracy to commit torture bears a life sentence. Under US law, conspiracy is border-less: US citizens cannot go abroad and commit that crime with impunity. Under international law, torture and conspiracy to commit torture are serious crimes. While people in Washington are arguing about silly bullshit like who left jizz on whose dress or paid off which porn star, administration officials that have committed capital crimes are walking free, and are being investigated by the people who helped bury that crime.

    Gina Haspel is allegedly the person who signed the order to destroy the ‘tapes’ of Abu Zubaydah’s torture. I.e.: she destroyed evidence of a capital crime. Trump is an incompetent goofball at hiding evidence of conspiracy compared to her; she’s the real big-leagues thing.

    Read more:

  • I'll be VERY interested to see where Sen. Feinstein (whom I helped elect to the Senate long ago and far away) comes down on this. She fought the CIA over release of info. on the US's "enhanced interrogation" program and her committee was actually SPIED ON by them (CIA) during the run up to the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's Torture report, approx. NINETY PERCENT of which is still classified. This was only THREE YEARS AGO, btw. My prediction: she'll cave entirely, though she (or her staffers, anyway) knows a hell of a lot more about the whole rendition/ torture regime than we mere citizens (who fucking paid for it) ever will.

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