I swear there are days when I don’t understand Republicans, usually days that end in “y”. Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Jack Lew as Secretary of the Treasury. Lew is, from my view in the cheap seats, not at all suitable for the office. As President Obama’s director of the Office of Budget and Management and later his Chief of Staff, he was one of the most dishonest brokers of the administration’s busted economic plans. He was a key player at Citibank before the President’s election as the company cratered and took a rather substantial chunk of our money with it. Nevertheless, Lew cashed out nicely. Any politically-aware Republican should have rejected him with more than a hint of righteous fury as a Wall Street Monopoly Man caricature who spent some of the hardest economic years in the past 50 years on the wrong side of “main street” America. His confirmation was another in a long string of Republican failures this year.
Nevertheless, John Hinderaker at Power Line saw the confirmation as a reason to praise Senator Jeff Sessions, who spent 2 1/2 hours trying to rally his compatriots to stand against Lew.
Jack Lew, the plutocrat nominated as Secretary of the Treasury by Barack Obama, was confirmed by the Senate this afternoon on a 71-26 vote. What was notable about the vote was not so much the outcome as the challenge that Senator Jeff Sessions threw down before his Democratic colleagues–try to defend Jack Lew, and if you can’t defend him, don’t vote for him. One thing is for certain: the Democrats had zero interest in trying to defend Lew’s record.
As it happens, they didn’t have to. Of the 45 Senate Republicans, 21 voted to confirm Lew, including such rising stars as Kelly Ayotte and Rand Paul. Sessions impassioned speeches had about as much effect on his fellow Senators votes as a fly’s valiant charge into a windshield would slow a speeding tractor trailer. Nevertheless, Lew’s confirmation was a win for Republicans according to Hinderaker because karma might spin ’round and get the the Democrats.
For now, Democratic Party plutocrats are firmly in the saddle. But the handwriting, perhaps, is on the wall. Their policies have failed, again and again; they have no plan to rescue the nation’s finances; they have nothing to offer but slander and hate. Won’t the day inevitably come when they get what they deserve?
No, it won’t. Political comeuppance is not inevitable. You have to create it, often through patient planning and clever maneuvering. The Republicans have had chances to lay that groundwork this year — the fiscal cliff; the debt ceiling; the nominations of John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, and Jack Lew; the sequester — and each time they shrug and claim victory because someone, somewhere made a good speech or accepted less than total defeat. The handwriting is not on the wall. America gave Democrats more power last November and, unless things change drastically, they’ll likely do so again next year. Thus far, Republicans have no answer, no plan, no fight.
No pretty but futile speech will give the Democrats the political defeats they deserve. Senator Sessions did just fine but, as with most Republican shows of defiance over the past few months, he was undone by fecklessness from within his party. If they really want to bring some comeuppance, they’re going to have to come up with a plan, a real agenda, and some backbone.
And we’ll have to stop applauding them for being graceful losers.
(Photo Credit: portobeseno on Flickr)
Category: The Republican Minority