Thursday, February 07, 2019

Quick Hits: Volume CLXXXII

- Within the past year or so, prominent U.S. Senate Democrats (oh hai Sens. SandersFeinsteinHarris and Hironohave shown hostility to federal judiciary/cabinet nominees during confirmation hearings. Most inquiries have to do with the nominees' faith/religious affiliation and the implication that aspiring judges would be unable to issue legal rulings independent of their worldview.

The latest interrogation comes courtesy of a certain senator from New Jersey who recently declared his candidacy for President of the United States.

Sen. Cory Booker (D–N.J.) squared off with D.C. Circuit nominee Neomi Rao at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday, asking the potential judge if she has ever employed any LGBT law clerks. While the question raised eyebrows for multiple reasons, the most glaring is that she's never been a judge, so she's never had any law clerks (ed. - You would think an attorney would know this)—LGBT or otherwise.

But the question itself is suspect: It implies that sexuality should be part of the test for determining an applicant's suitability for hire. "Um, to be honest I don't know the sexual orientation of my staff," Rao said, when pressed by Booker. "I take people as they come, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation."

Regardless, it would appear Booker is almost encouraging some sort of quotas here or perhaps even advocating  that a potential employer discriminate against a certain segment of the population (i.e. non-LGBT individuals). Either way, it was an all around embarrassing performance for a sitting U.S. senator as well as presidential candidate.

- We've had some pretty treacherous weather here in Minnesota over the past two weeks. As such, a lot of my fellow Minnesotans (and western Wisconsinites) in my Facebook feed are on cue with the ol' "ZOMG, WHY DO WE LIVE HERE?!?!?!" lament. And interestingly enough a fair amount of those folks have a cabin on a Minnesota or Wisconsin lake where they retreat for weekends in the summer. So I would say to them please make that exact same inquiry when basking in a Friday night sunset on a lake in July.

- Sen. Amy Klobuchar is scheduled to make a major announcement this Sunday afternoon at Minneapolis's Boom Island Park. The speculation is she will declare her bid for President in 2020.

As the possibility grew of Klobee's candidacy, the Huffington Post came out with a piece on how she's having difficulty assembling a presidential campaign staff due to her reputation of being a horrible boss.

(S)ome former Klobuchar staffers, all of whom spoke to HuffPost on condition of anonymity, describe Klobuchar as habitually demeaning and prone to bursts of cruelty that make it difficult to work in her office for long.

It is common for staff to wake up to multiple emails from Klobuchar characterizing one’s work as “the worst” briefing or press release she’d seen in her decades of public service, according to two former aides and emails seen by HuffPost.

Although some staffers grew inured to her constant put-downs (“It’s always ‘the worst,’” one said sarcastically, “‘It was ‘the worst’ one two weeks ago”), others found it grinding and demoralizing. Adding to the humiliation, Klobuchar often cc’d large groups of staffers who weren’t working on the topic at hand, giving the emails the effect of a public flogging.

For those of us who run in political social circles in the Twin Cities, this HuffPo story is more a confirmation than a revelation. However, it's interesting that it took a national media outlet to determine the veracity of these rumors. Seems to me these current and former staffers would have been accessible to local media.

Regardless, life as Amy Klobuchar knows it is now over. I for one look forward to the rearing up of Klobuchar's sour demeanor which we know is there but has been carefully concealed for 12+ years.


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