Former President Bill Clinton said it best in his speech at the 2012 Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he shredded the Republican presidential ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for lying about cuts to Medicare. “It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did,” Clinton ragged about the GOP ticket that went down in flames to a second run for a Democratic ticket of Obama-Biden.
Ohio’s junior senator in Washington, Republican Rob Portman, showed how brassy he can be when he criticized former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray for timing his resignation as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in order to prevent President Donald Trump from naming an interim director to run the bureau.
In an interview on “NBC’s Meet the Press,” Portman said Cordray resigned a week earlier than he was planning to in order to put his deputy in charge as a way “to circumvent the normal process, (which) would be that the president would have the ability to appoint somebody on an interim basis until Congress confirms a new director.”
“My hope is … we won’t play those kinds of games,” Portman said about Cordray’s long awaited resignation. Portman’s brass is very shiny and thoroughly transparent. History shows Portman played that same game when Senate Republicans chose to disregard their constitutional duty by not acting on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the supreme court by then President Barack Obama.
Portman’s political polar opposite, Ohio U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, joined the fray on CFPB succession by filing a legal brief that argues Cordray’s chosen temporary successor should remain on the job until Trump’s pick for the post is confirmed by the Senate.
The game Portman and Senate Republicans played in 2016 was to shamelessly evade the “normal process” and their constitutional duty, running out the clock so a conservative replacement for Antonin Scalia would be seated if a Republican won the White House in 2016. The plan Sen. Portman supported to circumvent the normal process on supreme court nominations worked when Donald Trump pulled off a national magic trick few thought possible, given Trump’s many personal flaws and business failings. Playing for time, uber-conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, not Garland, fills out the high court.
Portman’s duplicity on Cordray versus Garland is so brassy bright it might blind anyone who stares, or thinks about it, too long.