A daily email I receive combines several stories from a variety of sources. A recent one included a really terrifying–and not entirely implausible–assertion. The letter detailed the hundreds of holds that Senator Tuberville has placed on military appointments, and went on to point out that Rand Paul has been blocking Ambassadors and other State Department nominees, that J.D. Vance is blocking appointees to the Department of Justice, and Josh Hawley is similarly blocking Army civilian appointments.
The item concluded with “They’re keeping the roles open for Trump. The next coup is already underway.”
Now, I have to believe that this is a wild surmise–that the anti-American buffoonery of these MAGA culture warriors is simply more evidence of GOP idiocy and dysfunction.
But I will admit that reading the list and assertion made shivers run down my spine.
I’d been aware of Tuberville’s holds. Anyone who reads the news has seen stories about the damage his intransigence continues to do to America’s military readiness. But I have assumed that Tuberville’s obvious stupidity and deep investment in culture war rhetoric explained it. (You will recall that, just after being elected to the U.S. Senate, Tuberville –whose past experience was as a college football coach–was unable to identify the three branches of government.)
I hadn’t been aware of the other machinations to block government activity, so I did some checking. According to CBS News, Rand Paul has announced his intent to block all State Department nominees until the Biden administration releases documents related to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the Senate to “swiftly” confirm more than 60 nominees to key foreign policy positions, warning in a letter sent to all senators Monday that leaving the roles unfilled was damaging to America’s global standing and national security interests.
“Vacant posts have a long-term negative impact on U.S. national security, including our ability to reassure Allies and partners, and counter diplomatic efforts by our adversaries,” Blinken wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by CBS News. “The United States needs to be present, leading, and engaging worldwide with our democratic values at the forefront.”
There are currently 62 nominees awaiting confirmation in the Senate, of which 38 are for ambassadorial roles across multiple continents. Of those, “several” have been pending for more than 18 months, a State Department official said.
Rolling Stone has reported that J.D. Vance has been handing out “wokeness” questionnaires to State Department nominees whose Senate confirmations he’s placed on hold.
Vance claimed that the point of the surveys was to establish if any of the nominees had “radical” viewpoints that would cloud their treatment of foreign policy. “If you are injecting your own personal politics in a way that harms American national security and diplomacy, that’s not fine,” Vance told Politico. “The questions all try to get at those issues.”
Politico has confirmed that odious Senator Josh Hawley has been at this for quite a while–he caused chaos in 2021 by blocking confirmation of several State Department nominees, in a continuation of what Politico characterized then as “the unprecedented GOP-led campaign to slow-walk most of President Joe Biden’s picks for top foreign policy posts.”
Hawley apparently continues to play the blackmail game; in January of this year, Defense News reported
The Senate is on track to confirm many of President Joe Biden’s seven remaining Pentagon nominees after Democrats reached an agreement with Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., to break his yearlong logjam on Defense Department confirmations in the last Congress.
And just this October, a month ago, according to a publication of the American Legion, Hawley announced that he would put a hold on Army civilian nominations until the service earmarks $41 million for new housing at Fort Leonard Wood.
After doing the above-reported, fairly superficial research (i.e. asking Dr. Google), I’ve concluded that these self-important characters are probably not capable of co-ordinating and conducting a coup. That doesn’t mean that their tantrums aren’t doing a considerable amount of damage.
“I won’t do my job until you give me what I want” isn’t a particularly attractive way to conduct Senate business, but then, the Republicans in the House and Senate are–to put it kindly–immature and self-promoting. Forget putting country above party–these pompous jerks won’t put country above self.
When We The People wonder why the federal government isn’t functioning well, I think we have a significant part of the answer.