It’s not that nothing is being said or done about it. It’s just that what’s being done hardly measures up to the type of muscular reaction needed, given the contemptible treatment Senate Republicans are meting out to President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch. Various Democratic senators, including Charles Schumer, have spoken out about the outrage – this abominable “how not to govern” bit of theater by the GOP. The president has made known his disgust at their tactics. Rev. Al Sharpton has opted for a hunger strike strategy. But the collective impact of all of this and whatever else may be happening out there comes up way short, as far as manifesting anger commensurate with the indignity being heaped on this African American woman, the nominee since last November, by the crud now calling itself a Senate majority.
We come face to face again, unfortunately, with conduct that by now we know a controlling element of the GOP is all too capable of. But being aware of their capacity for reducing governance to slimeball behavior doesn’t make it any more tolerable. And as good as this raunchiness may look on a scorecard within the GOP support base, for the rest of the citizenry it should serve only as build-up against the notion that anything resembling proper handling of the people’s business could come from handing such a mandate to Republicans.
It was on Nov. 8 last year that Loretta Lynch was nominated by the president to replace Eric Holder. And it was on Feb. 26 that the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-8 in favor of the nomination. By rights, this was a nomination that should have been voted on by the full Senate even before the new Congress convened in January, the nominee’s fitness for her current post of U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York having received a Senate thumbs-up by acclamation when she was nominated by Obama in 2010 to serve in that office for a second time. But practical good sense having given way to political staging, the Lynch nomination was summarily assigned a place in limbo. The nominee, from all appearances a patently non-political player, became a bargaining chip in the bare-knuckled political games they’re so fond of in D.C.
As some have pointed out, you would think that with the visceral feeling of antagonism toward straight shooter Holder evinced by Republicans, there would be every urge on their side to see him exit the Justice Department. But that obsessive GOP distaste for the man, and what he stands for, and the imagery of this disgraceful treatment of the first African American female chosen to be AG, evidently don’t weigh heavily enough, as Republicans see the equation. Ergo, closing in on six months since her historic nomination was announced, it languishes, held hostage by the spiteful antics of Mitch McConnell and his confederates in the Senate who have refused to bring the nomination to the Senate floor for a vote.
Here indeed is a black pride clarion call about which indifference should not be an option. We’re not surprised, with the hard-right tail that wags the GOP dog, that there’s nary a hint of sensitivity in Republican circles about what their repugnant behavior toward Lynch means to people of color. We’re not surprised either that in the Judiciary Committee, 8 of its 11 Republicans voted against so supremely credentialed a nominee. It is for people of color, certainly, but also wherever in the polity decency exists, for the shame of this inexcusable delay of Lynch’s confirmation to be dramatically held up to the glare of public scrutiny.
What should the tactic be? Who knows? But on the progressive/moderate side of the fence, they need be aware that bottom-feeder combat to which Republicans resorted in the Lynch nomination have long since become common GOP practice. On its face Sharpton’s hunger strike initiative looks to be the kind of protest technique that would leave the doers of this particular evil completely unfazed. Whatever the action plan, principals arrayed against the well-heeled army of right-wing strategists need to remain mindful, as they evidently were not for the last mid-term elections, that getting themselves behind the eight-ball is flat-out bad news for the country. The country, among other things, doesn’t want the confirmation of a well qualified Loretta Lynch languishing while Republicans play vendetta politics, or whatever it is they’re playing.
Latest word out of Washington seems to suggest a bit of reason perhaps coming into the picture. Let’s hope that by the time this is being read Loretta Lynch is, or is close to being, attorney general of the United States.