Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Confrimation Process is Flawed--Film at 11

Hans Von Spakovsky responds to his critics now that he has withdrawn as a possible FEC commissioner.
In 17 years of practicing law I'd never been accused of ethical or professional lapses. Since my arrival in Washington, however, I've been called corrupt and unethical, and labeled as everything from a Klansman to a Nazi (my last name seems to generate that latter pejorative) for my work at the Department of Justice.

All of these charges were levied because I dared to take a different view of the law than the political left in the area of civil rights, voting and election law. Those outside Washington cannot conceive how far advocacy organizations, party activists and congressional staffers are willing to go to personally destroy anyone who doesn't agree with their political agenda.

In 2001, I joined the Justice Department as a career lawyer in the civil rights division. True enough, I had been warned the division was a cauldron of left-wing political activism. In fact, in a 1990s redistricting case, a federal judge criticized the career lawyers of the division for behaving like the in-house counsel of the ACLU. He said that "the considerable influence of ACLU advocacy on the voting rights decisions of the United States Attorney General is an embarrassment."
So a conservative gets lambasted by the liberal establishment. Pardon me for saying, but "Ho hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm"

Sorry fell asleep while typing.

Look, von Spakovsky is not the first and won't be the last political appointee of either party to be smeared. He's a big boy and knew what was coming. Complaining about it after the fact seems to be an interesting way to expand one's lecture circuit credentials.

But here is my problem, and von Spakovsky notes this as well. In the modern age of press coverage of confirmation hearings, what we get is grandstanding Senators, desperate for a few hours of television, willing to say or do anything that might be considered inflammatory and worthy of 20 seconds on CNN.
My own hard feelings will pass. But the political system has been damaged once more by the poisonous tactics of the left, and there is no reason to think that the whole sorry spectacle will not be repeated again and again and again. So long as such tactics are accepted and even encouraged by politicians and the media, it will become harder and harder to find ordinary citizens willing to submit to the character assassination that now passes for our confirmation process.
How many more times will this country allow the character assassination to continue unchecked.

Jobs like FEC commissioner, and most of the politically appointed jobs in America are doled out based upon political positions--that has been a fact of life for a really long time. Political appointments are a vestige of the patronage system and quite frankly, a President has the right to choose nominees that he or she trusts.

However, the FEC is a special creature, not unlike judges, because of the intensely political nature of the job, political questions come with the job. So here is a thought, close the confirmation hearings to televised and radio press, keep it open for the print press and the public. In short, don't give Senators the soap box. Of course, that won't happen with Senators without some sort of punishment, like not getting re-elected, attached to it, so it is unlikely to occur. But really, can we not just get back to qualifications?

One other item worth noting as well. Why don't more nominees cry foul while they are in the public confirmation process. It seems to me the best way to draw attention to the character assassination of either party during the confirmation process is for those who are in teh process to stand up and call attention during the process, not when you are gone from the process.

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