As Trapper John and others ably explain. Hilda Solis is getting a lot of pushback as Labor Sec nominee. This is good old anti-union coupled with a helpful does of let's hurt Obama any way we can. But my issue in this diary is why Washignton feels a strong advocate for one branch of the government is ok at cabinet, and why another is not. Particularly, why is it good that strong defense Republican is in at Defense under a Dem, but a strong Labor Democrat is not at Labor.
As Kos and others have said, bipartisanship is not a functional strategy on Capitol Hill for Dems right now. The Repubs set the goals, the Dems struggle to met them, and like Lucy, the Repubs move them again, or ignore them entirely.
Time and again Dem presidents have chosen Republicans in a number of Cabinet positions, but the reverse is rarely if ever ( I know of no instance, but please correct me if i am in error) true. Usually the position is Secretary of defense, so often that the Repubs seem to have inherited the position permanently**.
So then, what about Dems inheriting Labor?
Simply said, if a Republican defense advocate as SecDef is so important to military and intelligence security against external threats and challenges to the nation, then why is a Democrat labor advocate not equally important for the fiscal health and security against internal threats and challenges of this country? Indeed, how can a nation with weak fiscal security ever hope, in the long run, to have strong military or intelligence security?
Call me a pessimist, but the only rationale I can see is that Washington still does not see advocacy for working people, lower and middle class alike, as crucial to the health of the nation and recovery from this fiscal crisis. 700 billion for banks went though easily, with billions more in various initiatives beyond that, yet a similar sum for working Americans is being chopped up, mangled, and delayed.
Bipartisanship is cooperation, and cooperation in a crisis is key. The Republicans and the Washington elite are not cooperating. Pure and simple. Put the best people in the positions you have. IF Gates is the best for SecDef fine - but Solis is the best for Labor. Help for banks? Ok, if necessary. But help for Working America is necessary too, so get on it.
If the other side is not cooperating, stop rolling over. Punish, in some way, noncooperation to return the noncooperative parties to cooperation. That is part of established game theory, is it not? Call out those who are blocking Solis and hammer them, Mr. President. Step in and show there will be consequences for partisanship in vital sectors of the recovery. Get Hilda Solis through, and help out the security of Working America and, through them, the security of the Nation itself.
** Personally, There are plenty of Dems who could helm Defense. The fact that so many in Defense and on Capitol Hill campaign against a Dem SecDef is a growing internal security problem in and of itself.