To no one’s surprise, President Obama named Thomas Perez to head the Labor Department despite his own Justice Department’s blistering inspector general’s report on the civil rights division he headed.
This is inconvenient for the mainstream media, which might now have to explain all about the IG report, which they haven’t been covering (and which addresses a scandal they largely didn’t cover). Republicans would be advised to go page-by-page through that report with Perez. It is the last time they’ll get any straight answers.
As for the confirmation vote, a smart Republican (or maybe several) before voting should read the entire report, line for line, into the congressional record. It would be educational for some.
All-out opposition to Perez is unlikely. This is the Labor Department, after all, not our nation’s defense or our financial stability, as was the case with the Chuck Hagel and Jack Lew nominations. The Labor Department, it seems, has become the bone this administration throws to Hispanics, which is a little sad considering there are undoubtedly many Hispanic Democrats qualified for much more important posts. But so long as Obama insists on filling such posts with white-male cronies, the opportunities for Hispanics will be limited.
As for women, they are so far nonexistent among Obama’s second-term picks. (Had he nominated the eminently qualified Michele Flournoy instead of the buffoon Hagel, he would have broken another historic barrier; but maybe when Hagel washes out she’ll get her turn.)
The good news is that this will move Perez out of the Justice Department, where, according to the IG’s report, his division has become thoroughly politicized. For the nominee to fill that post, the Senate should insist on someone committed to apolitical and fair administration of the law. You know, for a change of pace from Perez.