Well, some of you have already read the title to this missive and answered the question from your own perspective. I think this is a valid question considering the routine display of the theater of the absurd which we are forced to endure. It is as if we no longer need daily soap operas — they have been replaced by the over-the-top drama of Senate confirmation hearings. And yesterday was another example.
As reported by CNS News:
“In her confirmation hearing on Wednesday in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Jack Reed (D.-R.I.) asked Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, whether she had ever been alone in a room with Trump. “You’ve been working with the administration now for fifteen months,” said Reed. “You have had the opportunity to brief the president. Have you ever been alone with the president?” “Senator,” Haspel responded, “I’m usually there with Senator [Dan] Coats [the Director of National Intelligence], a brilliant analyst who delivers the actual analytic briefing, and usually the national security adviser, the vice president.” Reed then explained that his question was inspired by fired FBI Director James Comey’s claim that President Trump had asked him in a private meeting for his personal loyalty. “There have been allegations—Mr. Comey, one—that while he was alone the president asked for a personal pledge of loyalty,” said Reed. “If you were ever approached by the president and asked for a personal pledge of loyalty, what would you respond?”
“Senator, my only loyalty is to the American people and the Constitution of the United States,” Haspel responded. “I am honor bound and will work very hard to deliver to this president and his administration the best performance and intelligence CIA can deliver.” She further told Reed: “I don’t believe that such a circumstance would ever occur.”
Perhaps I am confused, but what exactly did this line of questioning have to do with serving as the Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency? This is why I asked the question: it’s as though we have these utterly incompetent senators droning on about irrelevant inquiries, only to serve the purpose of drama and ideology. Remember the line of questioning from US Senator Cory Booker of former CIA Director, and now Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo about same-sex issues? There are some who decry this was necessary to ensure that SecState Pompeo was not “homophobic.” I would offer this question: why did Barack Obama deliver $150B of laundered cash to Iran, a country that executes people for same-sex relationships?
My point is evident. Yes, I know the Article I enumerated power of the Legislative branch is to have oversight of the Executive branch. However, I wish the oversight — and the questions — were pertinent to the issue, and not some far-fetched conspiracy theory, like basing a question on someone as dishonorable as James Comey. Why not ask about operations and funding? Why not stay focused on what the critical roles, missions, duties, and responsibilities of the CIA, or any government agency are for the person seeking confirmation? The reason these in-depth, serious questions are lacking is because these confirmation hearings have just become good old made-for-TV drama.
And, yes, I’m going to say what we all know is true: the progressive, socialist, left started it. The scoldings levied upon folks like Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas ushered in a new era of disgusting and despicable behavior from those who call themselves US Senators.The scoldings levied upon folks like Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas ushered in a new era of disgusting and despicable behavior from those who call themselves US Senators. Click To Tweet
The American people are not tuning in for an episode of Days of Our Lives. We want to see — and know — that we have highly competent individuals seeking positions of leadership in our government. I will never forget the Obama nominees for several ambassadorships who had never traveled to their nominated countries, nor spoke the language. What a joke — a disrespect of the seriousness of the position to be filled.
I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t care less if Gina Haspel had been alone with President Trump. I think we should be more concerned about who has been left alone with disgraced NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Then again, the left has become obsessed with a salacious porn star. The last thing we need is for Senate confirmation hearings to morph into a lighter version of the Jerry Springer Show. You know, there could come a day when folks in the gallery start shouting to egg on some blather from a Senator.
I think the real issue with all these hearings is that most of the folks on the dais don’t have a clue. Many are fed questions by their staff, or assigned talking-point questions from their party leadership. One thing for certain, the intellectual discourse tends to be lacking at these hearings.
Hopefully, one day we will restore a sense of “regular order” where nominees are judged, questioned, not on the basis of politics, but on principle and policy. That would require a higher level of competence from the folks sitting on the dais. And, that requires a higher standard from us, the voting electorate.
During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
He is a Fox News Contributor, Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom, and, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, published October 16, 2018, from Brown Books Publishing Group.