The Edmond Sun

Opinion

March 7, 2014

HEY HINK: Obama loses vote in Democrat-controlled Senate

EDMOND — This week, the Senate dealt President Obama a humiliating defeat. His nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division was derailed by a 47-to-52 talley with eight Democrats among the “no” votes. This outcome is tragic for all concerned; the president, the nominee, the Senate and the American people.

This is a tragedy for the president because, at the worst possible time, this rebuff is a reflection on his rapidly declining influence as a leader. He’s being ignored, mocked and ridiculed by leaders around the world. Disdain for our president and a dismissive attitude about America’s resolve and capabilities encourage our enemies and render the world a more dangerous place than it was eight years ago.

No doubt, the Senate’s rejection of President Obama’s nominee with support from members of his own party will be additional ammunition for those who regard him as a weak match in the “play-for-keeps” world of international struggle for advantage.

The humiliation of this defeat is all the more painful as the Senate, back in November, changed its longstanding rules to make it easier for the president. This change was intended to choke off the minority’s ability to oppose the president’s nominations which should allow his choices to sail through on a simple majority vote. Since the Democrat president has the advantage of a Democrat majority in the Senate, approval of his nominees should be a “cake walk.” If the president could muster even a modest level of influence, he should have had smooth sailing. Even with the help of a dramatic rule change, Mr. Obama wasn’t able to get this nomination through.

This is tragic for Mr. Adegbile because he never should have been exposed to this humiliation in the first place. On the surface, it appears that Mr. Adegbile, an attorney, is being penalized for diligently representing his client. But this nomination amounted to the deliberate waving of a red cape in the face of a frustrated bull looking for any excuse to charge. The atmosphere in Washington is so adversarial that the president’s opponents will seize on any pretext to erect roadblocks.

By this nomination, the president erected blocks of his own. Mr. Adegbile’s involvement as the high-profile defense attorney for a nationally known thoroughly unapologetic “cop killer” made him the perfect target for an all-out political feeding frenzy.

Then, there’s the “Eric Holder” complication. There are deep reservoirs of mistrust and resentment seething around the Holder Justice Department. There’s no need to catalog them all here, but the lingering contempt of Congress charge stemming from the “Fast and Furious” program, the false statements contained in search warrant applications, the appointment of an Obama donor to investigate executive branch misbehavior — all this contributes to frustration levels that provide fertile ground to those on the lookout for political “payback.”

Even if the president had been successful in getting this nominee confirmed, his appointment would have been poisoned by a virtual tidal wave of ill feeling. Mr. Adegbile was a needless sacrifice in a totally unnecessary battle.

The Senate is a loser because this latest debacle is the most recent act in a series of sad, undignified exhibits amounting to tawdry political theater.

Rather than come to grips with the real dynamics leading up to this struggle and regrettable outcome, the losers slide into the petulant role of “name callers.” In a sad display of “sour grapes” attitude, Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa, demeaned anyone with justifiable reservations about Mr. Adegbile’s nomination by suggesting the nominee would have been confirmed if he had been white. Sen. Harkin now joins the growing list of those cynical partisans willing to apply the term “racist” to anyone who disagrees.

This situation is tragic for the American people because at this time in our history, we want and need to have confidence in our president. This defeat in the Senate is another alarming demonstration of how fast he is declining. It’s also tragic that Mr. Adegbile’s rejection is being seized on by provocateurs who profit by creating, nurturing and spreading the seeds of racial mistrust and resentment. At a time when we yearn for leaders who have the ability and will to unite the American people, we find ourselves plagued by politicians committing countless diplomatic, political, social and mathematical blunders while working overtime to exploit our differences.

This was never really about Mr. Adegbile. For the last few years, Senate confirmation hearings have been proxy wars testing which special interest groups could exert the most muscle. In this particular conflict, everyone involved was a casualty.

 I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

MIKE HINKLE is a retired attorney and Edmond resident.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results