Former Saturday Night Live comedian, Senator and sometimes book author Al Franken, a potential Democratic contender for President in 2020, appears to have done some poor rejigging of his Senate webpage devoted to the issue of the Executive Branch and Judicial Nominations.
Franken, who would like you all to know he takes holding Donald Trump to account very, very seriously– meaning by definition, he’s going to be playing the role of obstructionist these next few years– has scrubbed the page of callouts against obstructionist tactics he previously derided. Because, you know, that’s what Beltway politicos do: Claim purity, innocence, valor and morality when they’re doing whatever hotly-debated thing, but accuse their opponents of being evil, cowardly, and generally against Mom and apple pie when said opponents do it.
Here’s a shot of Franken’s old page. Note the references to “unprecedented use of filibusters, holds and other procedural tactics.”
Here’s a shot of Franken’s new page. Note how it’s all about “thorough examination” of nominees, also known as slow-walking.
There’s nothing very surprising about this, but it’s worth remembering that so far, a lot of Democratic efforts to “thoroughly examine” Trump nominees has entailed revisiting already well-covered, thoroughly-understood controversies in a way that breaks exactly no news, or brings exactly no new information to the table. See for example Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearings, which focused on decades-old charges of racism without any new information being brought forward to substantiate any of these allegations, while Democratic senators took a pass on asking questions about things like civil asset forfeiture, where Sessions would absolutely have made news one way or another with a response, and put fresh information on the table for Senators to weigh.
It’s also worth remembering if and when Franken launches a campaign for President. It’s always amusing to see a Senator who wants to be given the job where they make the nominations defend obstructionism when they’ve had a wildly inconsistent approach to nominations depending on which party’s President is making them, and which party they belong to. Maybe not Stuart Smalley amusing, but still funny.