Quick Takes: Rushing Hearings on Trump Nominees

* Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to rush through hearings on Trump’s nominees before they’ve completed background checks and ethics clearances. As Norm Eisen tweeted yesterday, this is simply another example of his hypocrisy.

In case that is difficult to read, the image is of a letter McConnell sent to Reid in 2009 enumerating the things that needed to be completed before hearings were scheduled on Obama’s nominees – including background checks and ethics clearances. McConnell writes:

In consultation with our Ranking Members, we affirm our commitment to conduct the appropriate review of these nominations, consistent with the long standing and best practices of committees, regardless of which political party is in the majority.

* After hearing from Democrats about the need to slow down the process, yesterday McConnell suggested that he would move forward with the rushed hearings and that Democrats need to “grow up.” That elicited some A+ trolling from Schumer on twitter today.

* Here is a huge reason why it is important to take some time in considering Trump’s nominees:

Members of Congress, transition team officials, real estate lawyers, lobbyists and executives in New York who know Trump expect him to be a chairman-of-the-board style manager in the White House.

Trump, they say, doesn’t usually like getting into day-to-day minutiae or taking lengthy briefings on issues. He doesn’t have particularly strong feelings on the intricacies of some government issues and agencies, these people say, and would rather focus on high-profile issues, publicity and his brand.

And he’s expected to grant his Cabinet lots of autonomy — at least until he sees something as a problem or an issue involves significant publicity or money.

* Senate Democrats are planning a late night tonight.

On Monday night, Senate Democrats plan to stay up late, delivering floor speeches and Facebook Live broadcasts attacking the Republicans’ drive to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. They will also pressure Republicans over their push to defund Planned Parenthood and to make significant cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) organized the effort, which will include multiple conference calls with a range of groups from Families USA, to Planned Parenthood, to the Service Employees International Union. Several dozen Democratic senators are expected to participate…

“We are taking to the floor and social media to denounce this plan and warn the American people that the Democrats will be fighting tooth and nail against this potentially catastrophic move,” Schumer said in a statement provided to The Huffington Post.

* At least one conservative – Philip Klein – is willing to be honest about why Republicans are struggling to come up with a plan to replace Obamacare.

Republicans are in serious danger of repeating Obama’s mistake, because they are having a tough time stating a simple truth, which goes something like this: “We don’t believe that it is the job of the federal government to guarantee that everybody has health insurance.”

* Professorial Obama is at it again. This time with an article in Science titled, “The irreversible momentum of clean energy.”

Although our understanding of the impacts of climate change is increasingly and disturbingly clear, there is still debate about the proper course for U.S. policy—a debate that is very much on display during the current presidential transition. But putting near-term politics aside, the mounting economic and scientific evidence leave me confident that trends toward a clean-energy economy that have emerged during my presidency will continue and that the economic opportunity for our country to harness that trend will only grow.

* Three Obama alumni – Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor – have started a new web site called Crooked Media. Referring to their former podcast, Keeping it 1600, they talk about what will/won’t be different.

We tried to keep the conversation substantive, funny, honest, open, and focused on the overwhelming probability that Donald Trump would lose in November.

We were a little off on that last one. But we were wrong about more than just the outcome of the election. We were wrong to focus so much on punditry instead of advocacy. We were wrong to talk more about what would happen instead of what should happen. And most of all, Hillary Clinton was wrong to not come on our podcast.

It is why she lost.

Here’s what we’re still right about: Now, more than ever, we need a better conversation about politics in this country. Trump’s victory is a reflection of what’s decayed all around us — in our political parties, our government, our media, our democratic institutions, and our culture. But even as Trump’s win has proven many assumptions wrong, there’s one last assumption we’re not ready to jettison: that America can be decent and fair and hopeful and for everyone. And we can all play a role in making that true.

* Finally, we need to maintain a sense of shock at the appalling things that Trump and his spokespeople say/do. An example would be Kellyanne Conway’s suggestion that Meryl Streep was “inciting people’s worst instincts” with her comments last night at the Golden Globes. Let’s remember that Streep was calling for a commitment to empathy and accountability. On the other hand, Conway’s boss is the one who was busy inciting people’s worst instincts not that long ago.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.