In large part it used to be that the President gets the cabinet nominees he asks for. Days after his inauguration, Obama told Republican leader Cantor: “Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.” Obama did so in rejecting many of the ideas that Republican leaders brought with them to a White House meeting.
But Obama need not have worried about offending GOP leaders with that quote. He had already gotten many of his top cabinet nominees confirmed by the Senate with Republicans largely voting for swift confirmation.
Not so with Trump, but the double standard goes far deeper than that. Check this chart of confirmation votes for Secretaries of State:
Note that Democrat nominees largely sail through by nearly unanimous margins with large GOP support. The favor is not returned when GOP nominees face a vote. Dems slow walked Bush's pick of Condoleezza Rice in 2005 just as they are doing so now with Trump nominees. Only now it's much worse.
Dems Unprecedented Boycott
Dems have taken their petulance to a whole new level of partisan rancor with Trump nominees. Witness the number of hearings where Democrats have taken the unprecedented step of not showing up at all when votes were set thus blocking the nomination from moving forward in committee with the lack of a quorum. This behavior is so extreme that Republicans have been forced to change the rules about quorums to move forward. Democrats are creating an atmosphere so charged with blind partisan obstruction that it weakens the gentile traditions of the U.S. Senate that have served the country well for so many decades.
Dems Unprecedented Demands
And when Dems do show up for hearings they make ridiculous demands of nominees. Before boycotting the committee vote to send confirmation of EPA Administrator designate Scott Pruitt to the floor Democrats insisted he answer more than 1,200 questions; an unprecedented and transparent political ploy to slow his nomination. Some perspective from Environment and Public Works Chairman Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY):
“Let’s be clear, attorney General Pruitt has answered more questions than any past EPA administrator nominee in recent memory.And the questions Dems ask are not the typical yes or no question. Many demand decades of records as documentation. Sen. James Inhofe(R-OK) lists some Dem demands:
“He answered a total of more than 1,200 questions.
“Pruitt has answered over 1,000 more questions than the EPA Administrator nominees from the incoming Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations.
“The letter that the ranking member sent me dated January 30 highlighted what he believed were a lack of substantive answers from the nominee.
“To that, I would quote my colleague from Rhode Island, in 2013, when he stated during the McCarthy nomination business meeting that: ‘It is not the minority’s right to get nominees to agree with them in advance.’
“The minority may not like all of Attorney General Pruitt’s answers, but he’s given them answers.
Senator Carper’s 119th question: “For each listed matter in which the State of Oklahoma has been a litigant or petitioner against the EPA, please provide any and all documents (including any and all written or electronic correspondence, audiotapes, electronic records, videotapes, photographs, telephone messages, voice mail messages, e-mails, facsimiles, daily agendas and calendars, information about meetings and/or discussions, whether in-person or over the telephone, agendas, minutes and a list of participants for those meetings and/or discussions, and transcripts and notes of any such meetings and/or discussions) from the date on which your office first began to prepare the litigation at hand, to the date of this letter, between you (or other employees of your office) and each representative of each non-governmental entity with whom you (or your office) communicated about the litigation.”Such excessive requests set a nearly impossible standard for confirmation and it's one that no Democrat nominee has EVER been asked to meet and one that no Democrat President would ever tolerate. It's a clear attempt to abuse the Senate's power of "advice and consent" and not one designed to provide clarity to the views of the nominee.
Senator Markey’s 61st question: For each year since 1995, (that’s 22 years of record) please provide information regarding the State of Oklahoma’s environmental enforcement efforts specifically: descriptions of each environmental enforcement action (including investigations and enforcement proceedings) initiated by the AG’s office, including the date the action was initiated, the name of the subject of the action, and the nature of the action and environmental violation that led thereto, the annual budget, the number of employees, AND descriptions of each environment enforcement action (including investigations and enforcement proceedings) that was closed, including a description of the resolution of the matter, whether a fine or penalty was levied (and if so the amount of such fine or penalty), whether non-monetary remedies were required (and if so, what), and whether a criminal prosecution was initiated in the matter (and if so what the resolution of the prosecution was).
If Democrats continue to damage and isolate themselves from the mainstream of American society in an attempt to appease their unstable and totalitarian left wing base that's their right. But it's also the right of the GOP to take steps to override these efforts. And since Democrats did away with the filibuster of presidential appointments, the Senate GOP is fully within it's rights to take whatever steps are necessary to conduct the people's business. If Senate Democrats persist in this vendetta of blind, raw partisanship, GOP leaders will have no choice!