We like to say in this country that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can reach as high as your dreams and smarts will take you.
That certainly isn’t the message Republican senators are sending when it comes to Loretta Lynch’s nomination for attorney general. Nearly two weeks after winning approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Greensboro-born, Durham-bred Harvard graduate still awaits confirmation as the nation’s top law enforcement official. Thanks to the toxic politics of the nation’s capital, she might have to wait another month before the full Senate votes.
All of this despite the fact that Democrats and Republicans – even some who oppose her – agree that the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York is well-qualified to take over for Eric Holder.
So what’s the problem? Critics say she’s too much like Holder and the man who’s trying to hire her, Barack Obama, on major issues such as voting rights and immigration. It’s a ridiculous objection. What boss picks an employee to fight his or her goals?
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What’s really holding her up is the kind of hyper-partisan D.C. food fight that’s destroying our country.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell is blocking her until Democrats stop blocking the human trafficking bill that contains an anti-abortion measure Democrats don’t like.
Give us our trafficking bill, the GOP hostage-takers are saying, and we’ll send Loretta Lynch out unharmed. It’s what passes for statesmanship in D.C. these days.
Lynch can’t even turn to her two home-state senators for help. A delegation of her N.C. supporters came away disappointed Tuesday after meetings with Richard Burr and Thom Tillis.
Burr has said he can’t support her because she seems too friendly to federal lawsuits like the one pending against North Carolina’s tough new voting requirements. Too much like Holder, Tillis has said, adding that he’d be shocked if her views on key issues differed from the president’s.
No less an Obama critic than former New York Mayor Rudy “Obama Hates America” Giuliani thinks that’s no reason to oppose her. Giuliani believes that, in keeping with tradition, a president should get deference in choosing his cabinet unless nominees are unqualified, unethical or so ideologically rigid they can’t serve the public interest.
“None of these disqualifiers apply here,” he wrote in a recent letter to S.C. Sen. Lindsey Graham – one of three Republican judiciary committee members who voted for Lynch.
Tillis clearly respects what he has called her “remarkable track record,” and admires her as a person.
“She was raised right,” he said before the committee’s vote. “She was clearly somebody who came up with a strong work ethic. She’s done a great job as U.S. attorney.”
If Tillis and Burr believe in rewarding hard work and high performance, they should prove it. They should do whatever they can – privately at this point, if not publicly – to help Lynch win confirmation.