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Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Sen. David Vitter
President Obama's nomination of Thomas Perez for labor secretary is an "inspired choice," according to the Communications Workers of America. Steelworkers President Leo Gerard says Perez "understands the challenges that working families face in this country." The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force calls him a "champion of civil rights." Despite—or, let's be real, because of—all that, Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter says he'll block the nomination because of his testimony about the New Black Panther Party.
"Thomas Perez's record should be met with great suspicion by my colleagues for his spotty work related to the New Black Panther case, but Louisianians most certainly should have cause for concern about this nomination," said Vitter, in a statement. "Perez was greatly involved in the DOJ's partisan full court press to pressure Louisiana's Secretary of State to only enforce one side of the law - the side that specifically benefits the politics of the president and his administration at the expense of identity security of each and every Louisianian on the voter rolls."
Translation: SCARY SCARY BLACK MEN. In fact, the Justice Department decided to drop the New Black Panther Party case months before Perez was confirmed to lead the civil rights division, two investigations have concluded that that decision wasn't inappropriate. The only way Vitter is dragging Perez into this is that he gave incomplete—but not intentionally misleading—testimony in one of those investigations into something that wasn't wrong and happened before he was with the civil rights division to begin with. But we're not talking about the facts here, we're talking about the opportunity for Republicans to try to associate Perez with the New Black Panther Party in the public eye.

Additionally, Vitter is upset that the Justice Department filed suit against Louisiana over enforcement of Section 7 of the Voting Rights Act. Vitter's not alone in making a fuss over the Perez nomination, of course:

Before the President even announced Perez’s nomination, Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R-AL) released a statement attacking him for serving as President of the Board of an organization that advocates on behalf of low-income immigrants and Latinos. The words “illegal immigrant” appear three times in Sessions’ statement, which is barely more than a paragraph long.
And as for far-right commentators like Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin ... well, you don't even want to know.

Regardless of whether Vitter and his allies actually manage to derail the Perez nomination, their vituperative opposition should do wonders for the Republican Party's efforts to prove to the world that it's not narrow-minded and out of touch.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 01:31 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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