Card Check, etc.: Deflecting Questions during Confirmation

By January 9, 2009Economy, Labor Unions

Guess we’re not the only ones who saw it this way. From the Los Angeles Times, “Hilda Solis deflects Republican questions over union issues“:

Reporting from Washington — Senate Republicans spent much of this morning trying to draw Barack Obama’s choice for Labor secretary, Rep. Hilda L. Solis (D-El Monte), into a fight over union issues.

But she gave them little ammunition, repeatedly refusing to express her opinion on hotly contested issues such as organizing rights. And at the end of her relatively brief confirmation hearing, Solis’ nomination did not appear to be endangered.

Pretty good account. Meanwhile, the New York Times’ version is amusingly, uh, nuanced; see “Republicans Criticize Solis’s Support for Union Bill”:

At her confirmation hearing for labor secretary on Friday, Representative Hilda Solis was challenged by several Republican senators for supporting a bitterly contested bill that would make it easier for workers to join unions.

But Ms. Solis calmly deflected those jabs and declined to discuss the bill by saying that she has not yet talked about it with President-elect Barack Obama, who co-sponsored the bill when he was in the Senate.

“Jabs?” We heard questions being asked about important matters of public policy. “Calmly deflected?” Do you mean, “Did not answer?”

So much for the media demanding accountability and transparency.

As said earlier, this kind of deflection dance is standard operating procedure. The transition team’s murder board undoubtedly prepped Rep. Solis to avoid controversy by not answering questions, offering generalities and pleasantries instead. We would have done the exact same thing in her place. The goal of the President-elect’s nominees is to be confirmed with a minimum of fuss, preventing any controversy that reflects poorly on the incoming Obama Administration. Rep. Solis did a very good job in that regard today, deflection and all.

UPDATE (4:50 p.m.): Should have also cited this passage from NYT account:

While Republicans sought to trip her up over the Employee Free Choice Act, three Democratic Senators — Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Bernie Sanders of Vermont — invited her to praise labor unions for how they have helped lift wages and preserve the middle class.

“Sought to trip her up?” C’mon. Asked guestions. They asked questions.

See also this well-done account at Workforce Management, “DOL Nominee Solis Dodges Questions on Unionization Bill at Senate Hearing.”

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