With apologies to Willie Nelson:
“Georgia, oh Georgia
No, no, no, no, no peace I find
Just an old sweet song of Senate Dems in charge
Keeps Georgia on my mind
Democrat arms will reach out to me
Republican eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to Dems in charge!”
After the November 3 Presidential election, the current makeup of the United Senate stands at 50 Republican Senators to 48 Democratic Senators. The State of Georgia will decide the ultimate control of the US Senate with a January 5, 2021 runoff for the 2 United State Senate seats. In the 2020 Presidential election, Georgia, a historically red state, turned blue for the first time since 1992 by voting for President Elect Joe Biden over President Donald Trump. Joe Biden won Georgia with a mere 0.2% of the vote (12,670 votes) winning the state with 49.5% (2,474,507 votes) to Trump’s 49.3% (2,461,837 votes) giving the state’s 16 electoral college votes to Biden in the winner take all vote.
In both Georgia U.S. Senate races, since no candidate surpassed the necessary 50% of the vote in order to secure the seats, Democrat Raphael Warnock will again face off with incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, as will Democrat Jon Ossoff against incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue. Democrats have been the minority in the United States Senate since 2014 with Republican Senator Mitch McConnel, who just was elected to another 6-year term, as Senate Majority Leader.
If Democrats win both Georgia races, the Senate will be divided 50-50, but they will have an effective majority and the ability to confirm Biden nominees without Republicans because Vice President Kamala Harris will be able to break any and all ties, including legislation, without Republican votes.
ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES
Four years ago, President-Elect Donald Trump was clear proof that elections have consequences and at times very bad consequences. President Elect Trump proceeded to appoint members to his cabinet who were often at odds and had absolute contempt for the very government agencies they were to oversee. Most of Trump’s appointments were more interested in dismantling government rather than making it work. The Republican Controlled Senate had no problem in getting them all approved.
Some of the best examples of Trump’s appointments who had contempt for the agencies they were to run are worth noting:
Former Texas governor Rick Perry who advocated shuttering the Department of Energy he was to lead.
Betsy DeVos, appointed Secretary of the Department of Education was a leading proponent of voucher programs that divert taxpayer funds from public schools and she has been an embarrassment.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt who repeatedly sued the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt made the false accusation that Obama wanted to kill the oil industry and spike gasoline prices to near $8 a gallon. Pruitt once questioned whether the EPA had engaged in a conspiracy with environmental groups to file friendly lawsuits resulting in stricter regulations.
African American Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development who criticized rules designed to combat segregation in housing.
Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor who fought labor rules intended to protect workers.
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn served as Trump’s first national security adviser for just 24 days before he was ousted in February 2017 over his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump’s inauguration. Flynn plead guilty for lying to federal agents about those contacts and on November 25, 2020 Trump pardoned Flynn. After Trump lost the election, he issued a Presidential pardon.
“COMPETENCY AND EXPERIENCE” IN BIDEN CABINET SELECTIONS
On Tuesday, November 24, President Elect Joe Biden announced some of his Cabinet picks. Those picks included former State Department officials Antony Blinken as Secretary of State and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as Ambassador to the United Nations and former CIA official Avril Haines as director of National Intelligence and former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary. In making the announcement, President Elect Joe Biden said:
“To the United States Senate, I hope these outstanding nominees received a prompt hearing, and that we can work across the aisle in good faith to move forward for the country. ”
In a dramatic contrast to Trump, who distained the very government he led, President Elect Biden has placed emphasis on “competency and experience” with his initial appointments, and there is not a single “wako” among them. Biden is surrounding himself with longtime aides and veterans of the Obama administration, many of whom have already worked together for years and with Biden. Biden has appointed a national security team who collectively are known for securing some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory.
More on Biden’s cabinet pick thus far is worth noting:
President Elect Biden’s pick for Secretary of State Antony Blinken worked for Biden in the Senate for years, and he held the posts of Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy National Security Adviser. With the appointment of Blinken to serve as secretary of state, Biden signals he wants to rebuild relationships with foreign leaders and international organizations that Trump destroyed.
Alejandro N. Mayorkas has been designated by Biden as the next Secretary of Homeland Security and would be the first Latino and first immigrant to hold the position. Mayorkas is a lawyer and former Deputy Homeland Security Secretary, a former director of the department’s legal immigration agency. Mr. Mayorkas will likely be expected to roll back the Trump’s punitive immigration policies.
National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, was the deputy to that post under President Barack Obama. Sullivan’s list of accomplishments include being a Rhodes scholar, a graduate of Yale Law School, he was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, worked as chief counsel to Senator Amy Klobuchar and he worked for Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and African American, was announced as Biden’s choice as Ambassador to the United Nations. Biden plans to restore the post to cabinet-level status after Mr. Trump downgraded it, giving Ms. Thomas-Greenfield a seat on his National Security Council. Ms. Thomas-Greenfield brings more than 35 years of experience in the foreign service, having worked as the U.S. ambassador to Liberia and served in posts in Switzerland, Pakistan, Kenya, Gambia, Nigeria and Jamaica.
Avril D. Haines has been designated as the next Director of National Intelligence. Haines will be the first woman to serve as the nation’s top intelligence official. She has strong ties to the intelligence community and served in both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations. She is a trained physicist and also helped oversee a number of covert programs at the National Security Council beginning in 2010 and then as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2013 to 2015, including the controversial targeted killing program involving precision drone strikes, some of which killed civilians. While Haines received criticism from progressives over her involvement in the drone program, her work to increase oversight of those operations, as well as her strong credentials in intelligence work, should satisfy progressive critics in the Senate.
Biden’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen was chair of the Federal Reserve and chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. If confirmed, Ms. Yellen would be the first woman to lead the Treasury in its 231-year history. During her tenure as Federal Reserve chair from 2014 to 2018, Ms. Yellen oversaw a record-long economic expansion that would go on to drive unemployment down to its lowest rate in 50 years and which helped produce a thriving economy that was upended by the coronavirus pandemic.
Former US Senator and Former Secretary of State John Kerry is Biden’s nominee to fill the created post of Presidential Climate Envoy.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain was chief of staff to both Vice Presidents Al Gore and Biden himself and he was the Obama administration’s Ebola czar.
Retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis, a former NATO supreme allied commander Europe and who has worked with much of Biden’s new team and this to say:
“The team is bringing competency and experience, which are two separate things but deeply interwoven. … There are deputies stepping up into full roles, seasoned hands returning to the job. They tend to be calm and centered and they won’t all fight over the ball.”
REPUBLICAN SENATORS ALREADY INTENT ON OPPOSING CABINET PICKS
The Senate has a long-standing tradition to allow presidential cabinet selection and nominees without much opposition. But all that changed dramatically when Republicans gained control of the Senate and when Barrack Obama was President. Given recent remarks, things are to get even worse with President Joe Biden. The overwhelming majority of Senate Republicans have remained absolutely silent on Trump’s defeat. Many have not even referred to Biden as the President Elect.
Ever since Republicans won Senate control in 2014, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been extremely heavy handed, even saying it was his intent on making Obama a one term president. McConnel blocked dozens of nominations made by Democrat President Barack Obama. The most notable was in 2016 when the Mc Connel refused to even hold confirmation hearing on Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court Merrick Garland arguing it was 11 months before Presidential election and voters needed to have a say with the Presidential election. McConnell had no problem cramming the confirmation of Trump nominee and conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett 6 weeks before the 2020 election. McConnell is refusing to comment on Biden’s cabinet nominations speaks volumes.
A few Republican Senators quickly condemned Bidens cabinet picks. US Senator Marco Rubio, Florida, a senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee, which has jurisdiction over State Department nominees, wrote on Twitter that Biden’s Cabinet picks “will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline.” Republican US Senator Tom Cotton, went out of his way to quote criticism from 2014 by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates that Biden has been wrong on “nearly every” major foreign policy issue. Cotton wrote on Twitter about Biden:
“Now he’s surrounding himself with panda huggers who will only reinforce his instincts to go soft on China.”
Senate Republican John Cornyn, Texas went so far as to say he assumed Cabinet picks would be “negotiated if Biden becomes president” an obvious reference to Trump’s continued efforts to contest the election results with hopes of Trump prevailing.
REFUSING TO CONCEDE
On Thursday, November 25, Thanksgiving Day, President Trump said he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden. This is the closest statement he will likely make to conceding the election to Biden. Trump also reiterated false claims of massive voter fraud. Trump said it would be hard for him to concede under the current circumstances and declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration. The electors are scheduled to meet on December 14.
The White House is under the concurrent control of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United States Secret Service. Come January 20, 2021 at 12:00 Noon when Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46 President of the United States, if Trump and his wife, and 14-year-old son and family members are not move out, they will be forcefully evicted.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Democrats winning both United States Senate seats is a very tall order and would defy the expectations of many national political pundits . The reason for that is the small margins Biden won by in some battleground states and with Republicans gaining seats in the Democratic-majority House of Representatives. Republicans will still have at least 50 seats in the new United States Senate.
Notwithstanding, Democrats really have no other choice but to make the strongest effort they possibly can to win both Georgia Senate seats, otherwise the Senate Republicans will not hesitate to be the biggest obstruction to any and all policies of the Biden Presidency. If one or both of the Senate Seats goes Republican, Mitch Mc Connel will remain majority leader and will do whatever he can to deny any and all of President Joe Bidens cabinet picks that McConnel objects to. Least anyone forgets, party affiliation and loyalty to Donald Trump is all that matters to Mitch McConnel. It was Mc Connell who made sure that some of the most unqualified and downright shady and flaky Trump appointment picks got through the United States Senate.
Biden’s campaign noted before Biden announce his first cabinet appointments that Republicans said they would support experienced and qualified nominees. Biden adviser Jen Psaki told CNN:
“We don’t need a fabricated crisis in the Senate and I don’t think the American people are going to tolerate that if there’s a refusal to move forward with qualified nominees,”
The fact that Mitch McConnel has remained silent on Biden’s initial appointment makes it more likely than not qualifications mean absolutely nothing to Senate Republicans. If one or both Georgia Senate Seats remain Republican, the Gridlock Opposite Party (GOP) will continue the control the United States Senate with an iron first. As with the case with President Obama, Republican Senators have every intent of obstructing any efforts made by the Democrats to reverse the disastrous policies of Trump.
Come January 5, the Georgia runoff elections should be on every one’s mind, at least to those that recognize that the 4-year nightmare that has been Trump, along with his Republican Senate, will not end if the Republicans maintain control of the United State Senate.