Score one for Ohio’s U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown this Monday afternoon. Up with President-elect Donald Trump’s selling out of the working class, he will not put.
With Trump selecting a true basket of deplorables for his cabinet, he’s handed Democrats every excuse they need for “extreme vetting” of the incoming administration, and according to Brown that’s just what they intend to do.
Despite running on a message of economic populism toward the working class, Trump is poised to install the richest cabinet in American history, with at least three Wall Street insiders in cabinet secretary positions, and half a dozen more directly counseling the president in other ways.
In fact, the “great Vampire Squid” sucking at the face of America – as the invaluable Matt Tiabbi describes Goldman Sachs – is poised for a return to political influence it hasn’t seen since the griftopian days of the George W. Bush administration.
(It’s not the only thing harkening back to G.W.’s reign: An unduly aggressive foreign policy posture, tax cuts primarily benefitting corporations and the wealthy, the evisceration of social programs, privatization and profiteering; I haven’t seen one new idea yet, much less an old one that isn’t still bad.)
But Democrats are signaling they will not be accepting the oligarchical empowerment of the banking class in the Trump Cabinet lying down.
Senate Democrats are preparing to put Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks through a grinding confirmation process, weighing delay tactics that could eat up weeks of the Senate calendar and hamper his first 100 days in office.
Multiple Democratic senators told POLITICO in interviews last week that after watching Republicans sit on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court for nearly a year, they’re in no mood to fast-track Trump’s selections.
But it’s not just about exacting revenge.
Democrats argue that some of the president-elect’s more controversial Cabinet picks — such as Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary — demand a thorough public airing.
“They’ve been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. We’re going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified?” fumed Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “It’s not obstruction, it’s not partisan, it’s just a duty to find out what they’d do in these jobs.”
Senate Democrats can’t block Trump’s appointments, which in all but one case need only 51 votes for confirmation. But they can turn the confirmation process into a slog.
I anticipate the next four years will be “a slog” in every iteration, especially for those of us bound by duty to follow the news cycle each day. An inch, they shall not get. As Brown says, not because of partisanship. Because everything the Trump Administration has signaled means real-life misery for millions of people.
D.C. DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure. He has also written for Government Executive’s RouteFifty.com, the National Journal’s The Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He is the Associate Editor of The Athens NEWS in Athens, Ohio. DeWitt can be found on Facebook and Twitter @DC_DeWitt.