- The Washington Times - Monday, January 9, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The mainstream media loves to lament how our politics have become so partisan and divided, but they never seem to place the blame on the Democratic Party.

Take, for example, President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks. It’s been tradition — and is so declared in the Constitution — that Congress provide “advice and consent” on the president’s appointments.

Yet the press, along with the Democratic Party, seem to be reveling in the prospect of delaying and obstructing Mr. Trump’s picks, some of which will come under scrutiny beginning this week.

“Tighter vetting urged for Cabinet,” a Washington Post headline read Sunday. “Ethics office warns of rush on confirmations; Democrats call for delaying hearings amid review backlog.”

“Democrats to give Trump Cabinet picks the Garland treatment,” Politico wrote, detailing: “Delay tactics could sap momentum from the president’s first 100 days. ‘What goes around comes around,’ one lawmaker says.”

Except, this is not how Washington has — or should work.

After President Barack Obama was elected in 2009, Republicans held a minority in the Senate — just 41 seats. The Democrats in 2017 hold 48 seats, still in the minority.

Rather than plan filibusters or urge confirmation delays until after background examinations are completed, Republicans green-lighted Mr. Obama’s picks. In 2009, the Senate confirmed 10 of Mr. Obama’s cabinet selections; seven the day he was inaugurated. Thirteen of Mr. Obama’s picks were confirmed by voice vote, meaning no votes were even cast and there was no voiced opposition.

Even controversial choices — Hillary Clinton for secretary of state, Eric Holder for attorney general — were quickly approved.

Mrs. Clinton was confirmed with 92 votes in favor, with only two opposed. Mr. Holder was confirmed with 75 votes — another clear majority — with Sen. Jeff Sessions (who is now nominated to the post) approving of the pick.

But the Democrats have decided to go down a different path — a more partisan and ugly one.

“Democratic senators plan to aggressively target eight of Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees in the coming weeks and are pushing to stretch their confirmation votes into March — an unprecedented break with Senate tradition,” a Washington Post report said.

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) “accused Trump of trying to seat a ‘rigged Cabinet’ of nominees who ‘have made billions off the industries they’d be tasked with regulating,’” The Post wrote.

It continued:

“Any attempt by Republicans to have a series of rushed, truncated hearings before Inauguration Day and before the Congress and public have adequate information on all of them is something Democrats will vehemently resist,” Schumer added in a statement to The Washington Post confirming his caucus’s plans. “If Republicans think they can quickly jam through a whole slate of nominees without a fair hearing process, they’re sorely mistaken.”

How unfortunate.

All of this is made-up drama — fake news if you will. The Democrats’ past willingness to utilize the nuclear option — that is, to push through presidential picks with just a majority vote, not the 60-vote threshold — mean Democrats won’t have much say in this process, no matter how many emails MoveOn.org puts out or how many marches the left organizes.

Instead, the press should be focusing their stories on potential Republican defections — for that’s where the real hurdles to Mr. Trump’s picks will come.

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