On Pompeo, Hypocrisy Reigns | RealClearPolitics


As members of the U.S. Senate think about find out how to vote on CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be secretary of state, they need to take one significantly persuasive quote to coronary heart: “My normal rule is that the president will get to decide on who he desires or who she desires for his or her Cupboard members.”

These phrases weren’t uttered by an official contained in the Trump administration or certainly one of their allies exterior. Somewhat, they’re the phrases of former Vice President Joe Biden, who served with President Obama and spent a long time within the Senate, together with a number of years atop the very overseas relations committee charged with vetting Pompeo’s nomination.

Humorous factor about Washington: Whereas almost everybody pays lip service to presidential prerogatives when a president from their get together occupies the White Home, they turn out to be much less deferential when the president leads the opposite get together. If something riles the American public, it’s blatant political hypocrisy. And on the subject of government department nominations, hypocrisy in Washington has reached a fevered pitch.

At No Labels, we don’t typically take a place on who ought to serve in a president’s Cupboard. However we now have a significant drawback with how the presidential nomination course of is being abused.

In 2011, No Labels launched our “Make Congress Work!” reform agenda, during which we wrote: “When our Founders gave the Senate ‘Advise and Consent’ energy over presidential appointments, they hoped it could encourage the president to nominate certified individuals and keep away from conflicts of curiosity. Right now, it’s the senators themselves who appear to have conflicts of curiosity, with key presidential appointments routinely held up for trivial causes or to serve the slender pursuits of a single senator.” We famous on the time the egregious instance of Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby placing a blanket maintain on 70 Obama administration nominees with a purpose to safe further funding for his state.

This conduct was flawed then. It’s flawed now. The president is the elected chief of the nation, chosen by the nation’s residents by way of a democratic course of to run the manager department. Until somebody is blatantly unqualified or ethically suspect, we share former Vice President Biden’s principled normal that the president ought to get to decide on his or her Cupboard officers and advisers.

Chances are you’ll disagree with CIA Director Pompeo’s political beliefs. Chances are you’ll take difficulty together with his strategy to overseas coverage. However when you’re a member of the U.S. Senate, these disagreements merely aren’t compelling grounds to oppose his nomination.

Except for main the CIA, Pompeo can be a former congressman who served on the Harvard Regulation Evaluate and completed first in his class at West Level. He’s clearly certified to run the State Division.

He additionally has the president’s belief, as evidenced by his being chosen by Trump to make a top-secret go to to North Korea earlier this month to satisfy with its chief, Kim Jong Un.

Within the subsequent few months, Trump is prone to meet straight with Kim to debate North Korea’s destabilizing nuclear program. It could possibly be probably the most vital and consequential negotiation on the Korean peninsula for the reason that finish of the Korean Battle.

Wouldn’t America’s greatest pursuits be served by our president having a trusted secretary of state by his facet? Various senators apparently don’t assume so.

Mike Pompeo won’t have been the selection any variety of the nation’s senators would have made had they been elected president. However that’s the purpose—they werent elected president. Donald Trump was and which means giving him a point of deference when selecting who serves in his Cupboard.

None of that is to say that Congress must rubber-stamp each nominee. The Founders required senatorial recommendation and consent for a purpose. However within the case of Pompeo, as with so many in the course of the Obama years, this appears as soon as once more like nothing greater than political posturing.

Solely now, the price of this posturing is rising. America is challenged by North Korean nukes, a resurgent Russia and Iran and an unfolding disaster in Syria, simply to call a number of of the world’s metastasizing issues.

Many senators are keen on the saying that there are moments when one must put “nation over get together.” That is a type of moments.

Ryan Clancy is chief strategist for No Labels.