Senate Republicans are currently engaging in a concerted and damaging effort to weaken governance and government by blocking highly qualified appointees.
One such blatant example involves Philip Coyle who has been appointed by President Obama to be Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. By statute the appointment requires Senate confirmation. Coyle has been approved by the parent Committee (Commerce, Science and Transportation) that oversees his nomination. His nomination had bi-partisan support there.
Coyle has recognized professional qualifications and expertise from his extensive 40 year experience in military research, testing and development matters. He has evaluated over 200 major defense acquisitions. He is an alumnus of the Defense Department in the Clinton years, serving as a Sub-Cabinet offical who was confirmed by the Senate with Republican support.
The Heritage Foundation, and its allies, have falsely asserted that Coyle is opposed to missile defense. Quite the contrary, the Heritage Foundation, and its fellow travelers, negligently and recklessly confuse criticism of unnecessary acquisitions and testing and with opposition to missile defense.
The opposition to Coyle has significance beyond Coyle’s confirmation. It is part of a concerted effort by Senate Republicans to prevent the Obama Administration from staffing the government with competent people that reflect the views of the Administration.
A “hold” by Senator DeMint (R-SC) prevents the Committee approved nomination from getting to the Senate floor. A “hold” allows one Senator to block the whole Senate from acting. It imprisons the Senate by the arbritrainess of one Senator. A Coyle appointment, and other non-Cabinet appointments, are under the radar of publicity. It allows the Senate Republican Senators to block appointments by the “hold” amd the threat of a filibuster by counting on continuing invisibility. This pattern of behavior affects many domestic appointments and federal judges as well. It is part of Congressional Republican negativity. It weakens governance and government.
To overcome this irresponsible behavior Majority Leader Reid has to end the “hold” system and force the Republicans to either oppose or filibuster Coyle and other appointments or surrender the Senate’s influence to the whims of DeMint and his cohorts.
The Coyle matter also requires public officials who have served Presidents Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush to speak up for Coyle and his qualifications. John Bolton, as a political ideologue, won’t. Those former professionals who consider themselves professionals should speak up. Not to do so weakens American governance and our national security.