Thursday, December 10, 2020

Aye, Aye, Captain

Hours after Joe Biden selected Lloyd Austin as his nominee for Secretary of Defense, The American Prospect's David Dayen wrote

President-elect Joe Biden’s choice of retired Gen. Lloyd Austin for defense secretary raises a number of concerns. Austin left military service in 2016 and sprinted to cash in, taking lucrative jobs on a number of corporate boards. He has board seats with the weapons maker Raytheon and Nucor steel (supplier of raw material for weapons), and a role in an investment firm that cashes in on the experience of recent government officials. But this isn’t just about Gen. Austin.

This isn't about only General Austin, for reasons stated and unstated. The Senate extended a waiver to President Trump's first nominee for defense secretary, General James Mattis, who thereafter was approved to head the Pentagon. Now Democratic senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, scrambling vainly for a spine, states

This is becoming a trend, and I don’t like it. It is difficult to imagine voting for a Mattis waiver and not an Austin waiver. I think for everybody it’s going to be hard to justify doing it for one distinguished retired general officer and not another.

He doesn't like the trend, so he's going to support it.  It is not "becoming a trend" because of one nominee, Mattis. It is "becoming a trend" once it is invoked a second time, especially if there is little reason for it. A waiver is required because the nomination presents an extraordinary situation, and there is no claim there is one here.

We've gone through four years of Stepford Senators, Republicans backing Donald Trump whatever he has done, said, or tweeted. Instead, departments require good managers who will reverse years of conservative governance and set the nation on a badly-needed progressive path. We must be spared four years of Democrats giving every nominee- black, white, Asian-American, Pacific-Islander, or tribal; male or female; straight or gay-  of President Biden a pass.


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