Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Republicans Hate Thomas Perez

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

More articles by:

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

October 18, 2018
Erik Molvar
The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lockheed and Loaded: How the Maker of Junk Fighters Like the F-22 and F-35 Came to Have Full-Spectrum Dominance Over the Defense Industry
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s “Psychological Obstacles to Peace”
Brian Platt – Brynn Roth
Black-Eyed Kids and Other Nightmares From the Suburbs
John W. Whitehead
You Want to Make America Great Again? Start by Making America Free Again
Zhivko Illeieff
Why Can’t the Democrats Reach the Millennials?
Steve Kelly
Quiet, Please! The Latest Threat to the Big Wild
Manuel García, Jr.
The Inner Dimensions of Socialist Revolution
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ Over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Adam Parsons
A Global People’s Bailout for the Coming Crash
Binoy Kampmark
The Tyranny of Fashion: Shredding Banksy
Dean Baker
How Big is Big? Trump, the NYT and Foreign Aid
Vern Loomis
The Boofing of America
October 17, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
When Saudi Arabia’s Credibility is Damaged, So is America’s
John Steppling
Before the Law
Frank Stricker
Wages Rising? 
James McEnteer
Larry Summers Trips Out
Muhammad Othman
What You Can Do About the Saudi Atrocities in Yemen
Binoy Kampmark
Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson
David N. Smith
George Orwell’s Message in a Bottle
Karen J. Greenberg
Justice Derailed: From Gitmo to Kavanaugh
John Feffer
Why is the Radical Right Still Winning?
Dan Corjescu
Green Tsunami in Bavaria?
Rohullah Naderi
Why Afghan Girls Are Out of School?
George Ochenski
You Have to Give Respect to Get Any, Mr. Trump
Cesar Chelala
Is China Winning the War for Africa?
Mel Gurtov
Getting Away with Murder
W. T. Whitney
Colombian Lawyer Diego Martinez Needs Solidarity Now
Dean Baker
Nothing to Brag About: Scott Walker’s Economic Record in Wisconsin:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail