Vitriol in Cabinet Vetting ; Nomination Process Becomes More Pointed in an Era of High-Speed Opposition Research

By Dante Chinni and Abraham McLaughlin writers of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, January 11, 2001 | Go to article overview

Vitriol in Cabinet Vetting ; Nomination Process Becomes More Pointed in an Era of High-Speed Opposition Research


Dante Chinni and Abraham McLaughlin writers of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


No one ever promised George W. Bush a lengthy honeymoon, but as confirmation hearings accelerate on the president-elect's Cabinet, the question may be:

Does he get one at all?

The era of bipartisanship, alive and well last week, is already vanishing as tempers and temperatures rise.

From the beginning, the man who called himself a "uniter" and talked up his ability to work with Democrats and Republicans in Austin, Texas, was told that Washington is a different world. If he didn't believe it then, he may now.

Though Mr. Bush's nominee for Defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, begins today what is expected to be an easy confirmation, the quick exit of Linda Chavez as secretary of Labor has hardened partisan feelings - and may be a precursor of what's to come on other cabinet vetting.

To a certain extent, this is to be expected, given the close election and the even split in Congress. But more fundamental changes are also at work that make honeymoons in Washington far from guaranteed. As a result, even cabinet confirmations, once relatively benign procedures, have become a stage for epic battles.

"The honeymoon-period era lasted up through Bush I," says David Gergen, an adviser to four presidents.

But since then, the political landscape has changed significantly. For one thing, the rise of third-party candidates has prevented recent presidential winners from securing mandates. There's also been an increase of partisanship on Capitol Hill.

Bickering across party lines is of course not new in Washington, but the extent of that squabbling has grown. Political disagreements used to emerge in policy debates once an administration was on its feet. Now they have moved front and center into the cabinet-confirmation process.

And the hardening of the process, which began with the elder Bush's failure to get John Tower confirmed as Defense secretary in 1989, and firmed up with President Clinton's Cabinet struggles in 1993, seems to be solidifying with Bush in 2001.

In an era of super-fast Internet search engines, massive video archives, and Lexis-Nexis - a searchable record of every major news publication - anything a person wrote or said on TV in the past decade can be pulled up in moments and fed to a growing media.

In 1960, there were about 1,000 reporters with Capitol Hill credentials. Today there are more than 4,000. The 24-hour cable news networks and talk-radio stations create "an almost carnivorous demand for political news," notes G. Calvin Mackenzie, a political scientist at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

Also, interest groups barrage elected officials and the media with information about a nominee. "I can generate 5,000 to 10,000 calls tomorrow" to Congress about a bill or a nominee, boasts David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Vitriol in Cabinet Vetting ; Nomination Process Becomes More Pointed in an Era of High-Speed Opposition Research
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.