Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) is the main culprit in the Republicans shameful roll-over-and-play-dead routine in confirming Wendy Sherman for the number three role at the State Department. Josh Rogin reports:
Two senior GOP Congressional aides told The Cable that Sherman benefitted from some last minute assistance from Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), whose office contacted the offices of other GOP senators this week to urge them not to block the confirmation. Sherman’s mother once worked for Isakson and so he felt an affinity for her and decided to lobby on her behalf.
“I had previously voted against her nomination earlier this week when it was brought before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but I have received information since that leads me to change my vote,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), said in a floor statement Thursday.
“My good friend Senator Isakson of Georgia spoke to me about his 30-plus-year relationship with the Sherman family. Ms. Sherman’s mother, Miriam “Mimi” Sherman, started working for Northside Realty, Senator Isakson’s business based in Marietta, GA, in the late seventies and eighties. Mimi Sherman, who passed away in 2005, was a terrific person, and Senator Isakson was very happy to call her a close friend and fellow coworker. He also has known Wendy during this entire time and knows that she embodies the same qualities that her mother did. He is confident that she is qualified for the position and will do a great job at the State Department as undersecretary of State for political affairs.”
A disgusted aide of another senator on the committee tells me that Sherman got through largely “because Sen. Isakson used to employ Sherman’s mom.” Really? “Really,” he replied, oozing contempt from every pore. But of course the other senators went along with this nonsense.
A few observations are in order. First, it is simply unacceptable for any senator to put the interests of the country, especially with regard to national security, to the side for reasons of personal friendship. And if Isakson really believes that Sherman the younger is acceptable simply becasue her mother is a good egg, then he’s a fool who shouldn’t be entrusted with important decisions.
Second, certainly this sort of back-scratching goes on all the time. But that doesn’t mean it should be tolerable. And more to the point, we’re not talking about some assistant secretary deep in the Education Department. This is a critical national security post.
Finally, the Senate minority leader should take this sort of conduct into account in future committee assignments. The voter most definitely should take it into consideration should Isakson seek another term. It’s this kind of incident which fuels the “throw the bums out” mentality of the Tea Party.