I just called the office of my Missouri Democratic Senator, Claire McCaskill, to thank her – and you should too. Her Washington number has been busy (a good sign?), but I got through to her St. Louis office with no trouble (numbers for her Washington and regional offices can be found here).
Why did I want to thank Senator McCaskill so urgently? Today she stood up for Americans who are revolted by the cabinet nominations of the rabid circus MC that the Russians put into the American presidency. She along with all the Democratic members of the Senate Finance Committee boycotted the Committee meeting where votes on the nominations of Goldman Sachs financier Steve Mnuchin to be Secretary of the Treasury, and of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to head Health and Human Services, were slated. This maneuver deprived the Republican majority of the quorum necessary to ram the two manifestly unfit nominees through the committee.
McCaskill is a cautious woman who represents a state that went for Trump by 19 points – a fact that seems to weigh heavily on her mind – and for good reason since she’s up for reelection in 2018. Standing up to the bullies who’ve tried to pressure her to go along to get along – making big local ad buys targeting her, for instance – can’t be easy. She deserves a little love for putting principle before comfort.
But resisting the Trump-GOP combine as McCaskill did today – and, we hope, continues to do – is essential. In this particular case the two men slated for leadership positions in government are not only ideological disasters, they, in the words of the ranking Committee member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), “misled the public and held back important information about their backgrounds.” He added that:
Until questions are answered, Democrats believe the committee should not move forward with either nomination. […] This is about getting answers to questions, plain and simple. Ethics laws are not optional, and nominees do not have a right to treat disclosure like a shell game.
We may not be able to stop the nominations when all is said and done, but Democrats have got to be clear that they won’t support corrupt and unfit nominees for any office. Republicans may be scared spineless by Trump’s Twitter, but Democrats had better not be if they want to survive as a party.
Price is not only guilty of capitalizing on his privileged position as a congressman to violate insider trading laws, but is accused of explicitly lying about the nature of his questionable financial ventures during the Committee’s initial hearings. Mnuchin was part of the financial cartel that employed illegal robo-signing practices to made big bucks off the 2008 foreclosure crisis, but when called on the practice during the hearings, he gave false testimony about his bank’s use of the abusive practice. In essence, we have a president who comes from the dregs of the business world and who has dredged up some more bottom-feeders to run government agencies for him.
But worse is coming – tonight President Carnival Barker will announce his nominee for the Supreme Court. All three putative favorites are horrible. Not only are the stakes high, but the nomination of anyone other than Merrick Garland cannot be accepted by Democrats given the fact that inexcusable GOP stonewalling stole the office from this well-qualified candidate. We can only pray that Democrats will be willing to take up the burden of possibly prolonged opposition. We need to show them that we’re on their side when they do – and we can do that starting now by letting our Missouri Democrat, Claire McCaskill, know that we appreciate what she did today. Make that call.