Wendy Sherman was confirmed this week for the No. 3 job in the State Department. She sailed through the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on a 13-6 vote and then was confirmed by unanimous consent on the Senate floor. Mary Kissel writes in the Wall Street Journal Political Diary e-mail:
In the Clinton administration, Ms. Sherman played a key role in the 1994 Agreed Framework, which was supposed to end the North’s nuclear program but instead propped up the regime and gave it time to work on a uranium enrichment program. In 1998, after the North launched a missile over Japan, she again pushed for talks. As a result of these policies -- which the Bush administration continued, thanks to another appeaser, former State official Christopher Hill -- Pyongyang has nuclear capabilities, has proliferated its technologies to rogue regimes like Syria and has launched several fatal attacks on its democratic neighbor, South Korea.
Ms. Sherman has refused to acknowledge these mistakes. In an op-ed for the Korea Times in 2009, she blamed the Bush administration for the Kim regime’s nuclearization and advocated a “grand bargain” with the North -- an idea that even Seoul doesn’t support. She is currently vice chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group, known within the Beltway as the chief cheerleader for Chinese interests.
While Ms. Sherman wouldn’t be the final word on Asia policy at State, she would gain a powerful platform, especially given her close personal relationship with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But forget partisanship: Even Democratic senators should question whether Ms. Sherman’s appointment is in America’s national interest.
Republicans who have railed against our lackadaisical stance toward North Korea and who have vehemently objected to the entire approach of this administration went meekly along, declining to even put her confirmation to a roll call vote.
I’ve written before on Sherman’s appalling record on North Korea. There was ample reason for rejecting the nominee. And while it is understandable that Democrats would have no objection to a Clinton advocate of appeasement, it is frankly appalling. In addition to her dealings as a lobbyist, she was a handsomely paid executive for Fannie Mae’s foundation, which spent gobs of money on pet projects of lawmakers. Her record is, in many respects, indefensible.
But then Republican senators have been negligent before in vetting and holding up unfit nominees. Despite plentiful grounds for rejecting the nomination of Eric Holder, an overwhelming majority confirmed him as attorney general. How is that working out? Although Tim Geithner was a negligent, if not dishonest, taxpayer, he too sailed through.
The impression one gets if you listen to the mainstream media or the Democrats is that Republican senators are obstructionist. The reality is that they have been timid in their constitutional role to provide advice and consent. Voters should start pressing them on why they have rolled over on so many nominees.