More often than not, presidential nominees to important cabinet positions sail through the confirmation process in the Senate, much the same way as nominees for the Supreme Court do. The standard has been to let a president have the people he wants around him. However, that should never be a blank check for any president. The reason the Constitution gave the Senate confirmation authority was to provide a check on any presidential appointments that are not, in the senators’ view, in the best interests of the nation. Therefore, the Senate has a serious responsibility to judge carefully all nominees.
This past week, the Senate approved John Kerry’s nomination to be Secretary of State, which is perhaps the most prominent cabinet-level job in the government. He is now the face of the United States in dealings with other nations. This is the man who, back during the Vietnam War, accused his fellow soldiers of committing genocide. He then threw his medals over the fence at the White House. Political disagreement is protected speech. Those who served with him also have the identical free speech privilege. When Kerry ran for president in 2004, many of those fellow soldiers took him to task for distorting their service, and they effectively countered his views.
Now he has this high-level position. We are supposed to trust him. I trust him just as much as I trust President Obama. I believe they are cut from the same cloth, and their similar worldviews may do considerable damage to the nation. I’m trying to remember when Kerry was ever on the right side of a foreign policy issue, at least from my perspective. I’m drawing a blank. Does he really understand the threats we face?
There is good reason to be concerned.
Then there’s former senator Chuck Hagel being put forward for Secretary of Defense. This is a man who has made derogatory comments about Israel and has opposed almost every effort to combat terrorism. He even said the Iranian government is legitimate despite the obvious fraud in its previous elections. In his confirmation hearings last week, he embarrassed himself with his lack of knowledge and his constant walkback on previous comments. Even Democrats are finding it hard to say positive things about him after his dismal performance.
One shouldn’t be surprised, though. He’s actually a very fine representative of the man who nominated him.
Why do I keep wanting to end my posts with comments like “We’re in big trouble”?