After being held hostage by a ruthless Republican majority for an absurd 164 days, Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s choice to replace Eric Holder at the Justice Department was easily confirmed by the Senate by a margin of 56-43 with ten Republicans voting for the first African-American woman to serve as Attorney General of the United States.
And it’s about damn time. Lynch’s wait was longer than the last seven Attorney Generals combined. Normally, I despise The Huffington Post, but give the devil his due; they were right on point with how ridiculously excessive the delay was for Lynch.
Look at Lynch’s predecessors. John Ashcroft waited 42 days to get confirmed as President George W. Bush’s attorney general. Janet Reno waited just 29 days to be confirmed as President Bill Clinton’s attorney general. If you add up the number of days the previous seven U.S. attorneys general waited to be confirmed, and combine them, that’s still less than 163 days.
“Gazillions of mosquitoes were born, lived to be old in mosquito years and died in less time than Lynch has been waiting. Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears and Dennis Rodman all got married and filed for divorce in less time — combined! For the love of God, Earth was created in less time.
There was NO justification for the Senate holding Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be Attorney General hostage. Absolutely none. Lynch waited 10 times longer than the average attorney general nominee and had waited longer than the first 54 a.g. nominees combined from the presidencies of George Washington to Woodrow Wilson.
Both sides of the Senate share the blame for the historical delay. Harry Reid could have pushed for Lynch’s hearings and floor vote to be conducted while Democrats still controlled the Senate, but he punted to Mitch McConnell, who proceeded to put the nomination in the deep freeze while Republicans squabbled with Democrats over the unrelated sex-trafficking bill.
Lynch’s nomination was supported by wild-eyed liberals like Jeb Bush, Rudy Giuliani, former FBI director Louie Freeh and former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. This was a moderate and mainstream career prosecutor President Obama selected, but from the shabby way the McConnell Senate treated her you would have thought she was the second coming of William Kunstler.
Obama did not choose Lynch to provoke the Republicans. Anyone he nominated would do that. It doesn’t take much to set off nuts like Ted Cruz. Never one to pass on an opportunity to throw bloody chunks of red meat to his brain-dead devotees, he denounced Lynch as “lawless” and then was the only senator to skip the vote. What an asshole.
It was not about partisanship, but pragmatism that led Obama to tap Lynch to be Holder’s successor. She is not a committed Leftist, progressive or liberal. She’s a career prosecutor with impeccable legal credentials. Not being an ideological purist made her confirmable and even then she faced an unprecedented degree of stonewalling and footdragging from the obstructionist Republican-led Senate and all this for a job she won’t even have in two years.
Lynch will likely be a less controversial A.G. than Holder who never backed away from a fight with Republicans on the Hill whom are probably toasting his departure. Will Lynch handle the harassment from Congressional Republicans as well? She’ll likely get her as the GOP have plenty of investigations planned for the last two years of the Obama Administration.
I’m past the point where putting a person of color or woman in a place formerly occupied exclusively by straight, Christian White males is a reason to raise my glass. Under Holder and Obama, the Justice Department has declined to indict anyone for violating the civil rights of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Will Lynch be any different in the cases of Tamir Rice or Walter Scott? I’m keeping an open mind, but my expectations are low.
I take pride in Loretta Lynch becoming the nation’s first female African American Attorney General, but when I disagree with her decisions, it will be no different than when I disagree with the first African American President.