by Roland S. Martin
When you win the White House, you get to pick the team you want. Sure, that sounds simple and doesn’t need any clarification, but it’s clear that simplicity and clarity is lacking in Washington, D.C.
A Republican wins the White House and Democrats do all they can to muck up the waters and score political points by trying to keep the president from naming the team he wants. The Dems did it when President George W. Bush was office. And now that President Barack Obama sits in the Oval Office, Republicans are doing everything they can to prevent the president from filling critical vacancies.
Right now, there are 82 vacancies in the federal judiciary. Some of these critical positions have been vacant as long as 4 1/2 years. Seriously.
How dumb is this game in the nation’s capital? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has not had a leader confirmed by the U.S. Senate in six years. SIX years.
Democrats are quick to cast blame on Republicans for their shameful stalling tactics. And all of them must share the blame for refusing to grant hearings and up-and-down votes to the president’s picks. But the case of Patty Shwartz is evidence that Democrats can also mess with the president.
On Oct. 5, 2011, President Obama nominated Shwartz, a federal magistrate in Newark, to the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.
It wasn’t until two months ago that she was confirmed. Why did it take 553 days? Because Menendez objected. What was his reason? He says because of some answers she gave during an interview.
Were the questionable answers made public? Nope.
So when it was time to vote on her nomination, Menendez shamelessly takes to the floor of the U.S. Senate to extol the virtues of Shwartz and says no one should vote against her.
It’s this kind of pathetic behavior that causes many Americans, including yours truly, to hate this city, its politics and how it operates.
There is critical business that needs to get done, and too many politicos want to score cheap points in order to do it.
Look, your party didn’t win at the ballot box, so now you want to exact revenge.
Instead, run a better campaign.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has threatened to change the Senate rules, but he won’t do it. Why? Because the day the Democrats are in the minority and the GOP controls the chamber, they want to be able to do the same thing.
This is why D.C. is full of it. The whole game is based on not changing the rules because one day you will want to do the same thing as the other guy.
The reason this doesn’t get as much attention as Benghazi or the IRS is because it’s not sexy enough. Folks may think, “Hey, it’s just a few appointments.” But remember, if you’re one of the appointees, your entire life is placed on hold. You are stuck in a land of inaction so as not to jeopardize the appointments.
The Senate should change its rules and declare that no appointee, regardless of who is sitting in the White House, should have to wait longer than six months. From the time the president appoints a nominee, the clock should start ticking. After six months, a committee vote and an up-and-down hearing should take place.
This is basic. This is logical. And this is common sense.
Then again, that’s three reasons why it will never happen, thanks to the United States Congress.
Roland S. Martin is an award-winning CNN analyst and author of the book “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as Originally Reported by Roland S. Martin.” Please visit his website at RolandSMartin.com. To find out more about Roland S. Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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