FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Republicans Hate Thomas Perez

by DAVID MACARAY

We’ll all need to buckle up in preparation for some dramatic and historical confrontations in the coming weeks.  No, we’re not talking about college basketball’s “March Madness”  (Go UCLA!)  We’re talking about the confirmation hearings of Thomas Perez, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Labor.  By all accounts, the Republicans plan to use a full-court press to kill his nomination.

So why is the Republican Party opposed to Perez’s appointment?  Basically, it boils down to two reasons:  (1)  Because Perez is unabashedly pro-worker, pro-union, pro-immigrant, and pro-civil rights; and (2)  because Obama nominated him.

As to the first reason, Perez’s record as head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (since 2009) is going to raise some concerns.  Among other things, while at the DOJ, Perez (the Harvard-educated son of Dominican Republic immigrants) fought against unfair mortgage lending, supported the working rights of the nation’s veterans (many of whom are minorities), and went after bad cops and discriminatory immigration practices with a vengeance.

According to those who know him best, Perez rejoices in fighting for people who don’t have the resources to fight for themselves.  Going to bat for the underdog is both noble and commendable—in many ways, a uniquely American endeavor.  While most of us would consider such a person a “humanitarian,” many Republican senators consider such a person a “trouble-maker.”  And yet, with a straight face, they continue to refer to liberals as “elitists.”  Go figure.

Their second reason is reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s initial reluctance to sign a treaty with the USSR.  Reagan feared that any agreement the Soviets “liked” had to be one that was bad for America.  And the same goes for the president’s nominee:  If Obama likes somebody, there must be something wrong with him. In truth, this knee-jerk opposition transcends ideology.  Senate Republicans will try to torpedo Obama’s nominees just to mess with him.  Recall Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing for Secretary of Defense.

Even though Hagel was a former Republican senator himself, as well as a decorated combat vet, John McCain and Lindsay Graham used the hearings to brutally attack him and embarrass the president.  Their beef?  Hagel had previously criticized the Iraq “surge” tactic, and had implied that the Israeli lobby was powerful.  McCain and Graham’s naked hypocrisy was insufferable.  If there were any justice in the world, the master-at-arms would’ve grabbed a bullwhip and publicly flogged both men.

No one can say whether or not Perez will be confirmed, but one thing is certain:  He will not be candid.  Perez will not risk further alienating the opposition by expressing his true feelings about labor unions.  He will not praise organized labor’s role in U.S. history, he will not lament the sharp decline in union membership (now at a pitiful 11.3-percent), and he will not draw attention to the obvious correlation between union membership and a healthy middle-class.

In order to avoid being “Borked,” Perez will adopt the “Souter” defense.  He will go intellectually limp.  He will give a whole new meaning to the term “vague.”  He will speak in generalities so broad and vacuous, no one will have a clue what he’s talking about, and when confronted with a direct and unavoidably controversial question, observers will fear he’s lapsed into a fugue-like state.

We’d all like to believe that Perez will take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to publicly defend the American labor movement, and issue a resounding and bitter indictment of the anti-labor forces attempting to undermine it, but that’s not going to happen.  With circumspection the order of the day, organized labor will miss yet another opportunity to have its case presented by someone who knows what he’s talking about.

David Macaray, CounterPunch’s labor correspondent, is a Los Angeles playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor,” 2nd Edition). He was a former labor union rep.  He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 27, 2017
Darlene Dubuisson – Mark Schuller
“You Live Under Fear”: 50,000 Haitian People at Risk of Deportation
Karl Grossman
The Crash of Cassini and the Nuclearization of Space
Robert Hunziker
Venezuela Ablaze
John W. Whitehead
Trump’s America is a Constitution-Free Zone
Ron Jacobs
One Hundred Years That Shook the World
Judith Deutsch
Convenient Untruths About “Human Nature:” Can People Deal with Climate Change and Nuclear Weapons?
Don Fitz
Is Pope Francis the World’s Most Powerful Advocate for Climate Stability?
Thomas Mountain
Africa’s War Lord Queen: The Bloodstained Career of Liberia’s Eleanor Sirleaf Johnson
Binoy Kampmark
Short Choices: the French Presidential Elections
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Monetizing My Mouth
Michael Barker
Of Union Dreams and Nightmares: Cesar Chavez and Why Funding Matters
Elier Ramirez Cañedo
“Let Venezuela give me a way of serving her, she has in me a son.”
Paul Mobbs
Cellphones, WIFI and Cancer: Will Trump’s Budget Cuts Kill ‘Electrosmog’ Research?
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
The Closing of Rikers: a Survival Strategy of the Carceral State
April 26, 2017
Richard Moser
Empire Abroad, Empire At Home
Stan Cox
For Climate Justice, It’s the 33 Percent Who’ll Have to Pick Up the Tab
Paul Craig Roberts
The Looting Machine Called Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
The Dilemma for Intelligence Agencies
Christy Rodgers
Remaining Animal
Joseph Natoli
Facts, Opinions, Tweets, Words
Mel Gurtov
No Exit? The NY Times and North Korea
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Women on the Move: Can Three Women and a Truck Quell the Tide of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse?
Michael J. Sainato
Trump’s Wikileaks Flip-Flop
Manuel E. Yepe
North Korea’s Antidote to the US
Kim C. Domenico
‘Courting Failure:’ the Key to Resistance is Ending Animacide
Barbara Nimri Aziz
The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer
Andrew Stewart
The People vs. Bernie Sanders
Daniel Warner
“Vive La France, Vive La République” vs. “God Bless America”
April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail