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Keep Up the Pressure

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This is a good sign that even the Cabinet of Deplorables is subject to left-wing pressure.

President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to be labor secretary has voiced second thoughts in recent days, because of a relentless barrage of criticism from Democrats, labor unions and other liberal groups, a business ally and GOP sources tell CNN.
Andy Puzder is the CEO of the company that owns the Hardees and Carl’s Jr. fast food chains.

“He may be bailing,” said a Republican source plugged into the Trump transition effort. “He is not into the pounding he is taking, and the paperwork.”

Democrats and their allies have launched an aggressive campaign against Puzder, who opposes key Democratic workplace priorities, including the goal of a $15 federal minimum wage.

His required ethics and financial paperwork also has not yet been posted by the Office of Government Ethics, which makes the filings public after nominees for top federal positions detail how they plan to comply with federal ethics rules regarding financial holdings.
Puzder’s confirmation hearings was initially scheduled for this week. It is now on hold, and likely will not be held until next month.

A couple of points here. First, the thing about CEOs is that they are not used to being accountable to anyone. They hate the idea of transparency and they hate public pressure. This is why, traditionally, they have hired politicians to do this work for them. For whatever reason, we are in an era where CEOs want to actually hold the offices. This means that they are quite susceptible to pressure, especially as we are seeing with Secretary of State nominee John D. Rockefeller and Secretary of Education nominee Ayn Rand, their business dealings are so execrable that the exposure may force them to run from the light into Peter Thiel’s coffin.

Second, if Pudzer is delayed a month, that’s a month more of workplace protections for people. If he is forced to withdraw and we have another month before another selection and confirmation, that’s 2 months of workplace protections. I am not exactly celebrating this, but small victories.

Third, it’s not like Emperor Tangerine is going to name someone much better than Pudzer if he bails. As I have argued consistently since the election, on most issues, Trump is a bog-standard Republican. On labor policy that’s certainly true. Whether he names Scott Walker or some other CEO or some anti-labor think tank hack, they are going to be terrible. But taking on these people over and over again reinforces how unpopular Trump and his positions are. And that has great value. Even someone as vile as Pudzer is susceptible to public pressure. That’s important to remember.

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  • Brownian

    Erik, the link in “Sec. of State John D. Rockefeller” is borked. (I think. Reading from a mobile.)

  • Area Man

    “He may be bailing,” said a Republican source plugged into the Trump transition effort. “He is not into the pounding he is taking, and the paperwork.”

    Okay, too lazy to deal with paperwork? I’m not sure what all being a CEO entails, but assuming it’s a real job and not an overpaid sinecure, paperwork must be a big part of the process. What the fuck was he expecting when running an entire Executive Branch department?

    You gotta love those hard-working Randian supermen. Nothing gets in the way of their achievements, as long as it doesn’t involve signing forms and shit.

    • I’m not sure what all being a CEO entails, but assuming it’s a real job and not an overpaid sinecure

      There’s your problem

      • MPAVictoria

        You would think he could afford to pay people to handle that if he really wanted?

      • Ahuitzotl

        Exactly my thoughts

    • NBarnes

      Not to mention President Second-Best’s constant whining about how people should stop being so mean to him. The constant refrain of how tender his fee-fees are is growing tiresome. Man needs to ovary the fuck up.

    • keta

      For “paperwork” think “voluntarily divulging personal and financial information for the purpose of being vetted.”

      It’s the transparency that he finds uncomfortable.

    • Warren Terra

      I assume the CEO stopped filling out paperwork decades ago, and stopped reading paperwork fewer decades ago.

    • Brownian

      You gotta love those hard-working Randian supermen. Nothing gets in the way of their achievements, as long as it doesn’t involve signing forms and shit.

      Once you’ve negotiated and signed your severance package, you’ve pretty much done the job.

    • vic rattlehead

      What the fuck was he expecting when running an entire Executive Branch department?

      He’s a CEO. When do you think is the last time anyone questioned him? Maybe a couple of Board members here and there he had to appease, but some government plebes??

      Also in my experience there are a lot of managerial types (and lawyers) who think they can just get away with not doing shit like that when they don’t feel like it. Stonewall stonewall stonewall. Got a problem? Fuck you! Stonewall stonewall stonewall. Hard attitude to change, even if they should have known that being vetted for a Cabinet position was on another level.

    • JBC31187

      I remember the story about how Trump was expecting to just inherit President Obama’s staff, as opposed to having to think about his own. I wonder if that would have been better; the remnants of the Obama administration salvage as much as they can while Trump shits the national bed.

      • vic rattlehead

        My god, I laughed until I cried when I read about that. And then I just didn’t stop crying. Good lord what a maroon.

        • rachelmap

          I guess they had to tell him he’d have to put his own people in, but it would have been funnier if they hadn’t.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        That was just for the low-level White House staff, though, not the Cabinet.

  • AMK

    Third, it’s not like Emperor Tangerine is going to name someone much better than Pudzer if he bails.

    Given how low the bar has been set, I think there’s a chance you get some bland functionary who’s there to collect a paycheck and check boxes, rather than somebody with the real fire in the belly to kick to poors and make life hell for people.

    • vic rattlehead

      Bartleby the Labor Secretary.

      Roll back Obama era workplace protections!

      I would prefer not to.

  • Warren Terra

    A couple of off-topic feel-good (then feel sad, of course) Obama stories today:

    Obamas visit swing set they donated to DC shelter

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited the Jobs Have Priority Naylor Road Family Shelter in Washington where the White House donated the Obama daughters’ backyard swing set earlier this month.
    ….
    Obama bent down to say hello to the kids playing on the playground, who ran to greet him.
    ….
    It was first offered to the Trump family before being donated, the official said, but they declined.

    And, on a more ominous note, This genuine Barack Obama quote in the New York Times:

    Aliens are about to invade!

    (It’s a Michiko Kakutani piece about Obama’s book reading habits. Nothing surprising, and yet more fitting of Obama for Abraham Lincoln’s mantle, but it’s a good piece).

    • Abbey Bartlet

      A couple of off-topic feel-good (then feel sad, of course) Obama stories today:

      That’s another thing Comey, Putin, and 100 million assholes stole from us: getting to appreciate the last few days of President and First Lady Obama.

      • vic rattlehead

        Quite the contrary in my case-I appreciate him even more! Probably the first workweek in a LONG fucking time (possibly ever) where I’m NOT looking forward to Friday.

        Jesus fuck, forget Trump for a second-it’s really been 8 years?

        Make your last three and a half days count, Mr. President. Friday afternoon and beyond-fasten your fucking seatbelts guys…

        Also-can we please repeal the 22nd amendment?

      • Woodrowfan

        it was set up right outside the oval office so he could see his kids playing on it while he was working…

    • Richard Gadsden

      Ken Liu (the translator of Three-Body Problem – the novel you’re referencing) was nearly losing it on twitter when he realised Obama had read it. Several of us suggested he should get a physical copy of the Times and send it to Cixin Liu, the author (who is Chinese). It’s a cracking book, and comes highly recommended from me as well as from the President.

      It won the Hugo Award for best sf of 2014 (in 2015). Last year’s winner was N. K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season (also brilliant). I suspect that’s on Obama’s “to be read” list – not least because Nora is an African-American woman.

  • Aexia

    He is not into the pounding he is taking

    HIs wife wasn’t into the pounding she was taking either.

    • Bruce Vail

      Yeah, I have a sneaking suspiscion it is not the disclosure paperwork that is sinking the Puzder nomination, but that old wife-beating thing.

    • malraux

      I kinda thought it was more likely with an unsuccessful run, but I still maintain that its kinda likely that Melania Trump divorces him and sells a tell all memoir as her source of cash.

      • Brad Nailer

        A divorce I can almost see (and I do love the image of little Reince Priebus scuttling after her, begging her to reconsider “for the good of the party”). A tell-all book is doubtful. Trump seems to have his way of getting non-disclosure agreements attached to his legal decisions. Melania would probably be facing the mother of all NDAs if she bailed.

        • witlesschum

          Yup, no fun for the rest of us if she gets tired of this shit.

          (ETA)
          I love the Reince Priebus (that name is so cartoonishly villainous, guy never had a chance) image, but at this point I think Trump’s pretty much insulated from that kind of scandal or embarrassment, so Priebus would probably be like “Oh, well. At least it’s not pissing hookers this time.”

        • malraux

          Right, and that works as long as no one wants to fight on it. But given that I suspect that a fair number of quality attorneys would be willing to take the case on for a much more modest fee than previously, I’d have hope that the prenup would get tossed.

    • vic rattlehead

      I have a problem where I subconsciously make puns-I wonder if this is what’s happening here. I remember discussing an Arson case in criminal law when called on by the professor and I, without thinking, used the phrase “burning desire.” It took me a second to figure out why people laughed.

  • Peterr

    Overheard at the Department of Labor . . .

    Flunkie tasked with getting Puzder up to speed: Mr. Puzder, let’s start with the mission statement of the Department of Labor:

    To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

    Puzder: You’re pulling my leg, right?

    Flunkie: Excuse me?

    Puzder: OK, good joke. Now give me the real Labor Department mission statement.

    Flunkie: That is the real mission statement, sir.

    long uncomfortable silence, then Puzder pulls out his cell phone

    Puzder: Hello, Bannon? What the hell were you thinking, getting me to agree to quit my job as a powerful CEO to protect the rights of burger flippers and soda jerks? You’ve got a sick sense of humor, Steve . . .

  • AR

    I misread this on first glance and thought some weird cosmic force was going to put Jay Rockefeller in as Sec of State and I was briefly relieved that when I missed a major news story something good might have happened.

  • Lizzy L

    The more times public pressure from the left (though I prefer to think of it as the center, myself) actually results in a postponement or a withdrawal, the better it feels and the more energy people will have to continue to push back. Winning is very important to T, so every time something goes sideways for one of his appointees, it’s a win — for US.

    Also, Puzder is a putz. Can I say that?

    • Hogan

      Can I say that?

      You better.

  • thebewilderness

    Think of the money Melania’s husband will save by not filling these positions!

  • BlogWood

    Sand in the gears: if Pudzer is delayed a month, that’s a month more of workplace protections for people. If he is forced to withdraw and we have another month before another selection and confirmation, that’s 2 months of workplace protections. I am not exactly celebrating this, but small victories.

    Trump: Monday will be day one of administration http://bit.ly/2j2I6Lw

    “…[D]ay one – which I will consider to be Monday as opposed to Friday or Saturday. Right? I mean my day one is gonna be Monday because I don’t want to be signing and get it mixed up with lots of celebration,” Trump said, according to a transcript of the interview.
    Trump will be inaugurated on Friday and is expected to attend celebrations that night.

    • MPAVictoria

      Why not make it a long weekend and start tuesday?

  • Morbo

    My doctor says I should drink less. Easier said than done.

    • JBC31187

      Oh, lord. I was hoping they would focus more on Russia at this point.

  • Murc

    Whether he names Scott Walker or some other CEO or some anti-labor think tank hack, they are going to be terrible.

    I would love it if he appointed Walker.

    For the simple reason that anyone he appoints won’t be better than Walker, but Scott Walker, for a variety of reasons, seems to be absolutely untouchable in Wisconsin. Getting him out of the statehouse would introduce someone who we might have a better chance of beating.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I felt the same way upon hearing Terry Branstad is leaving us for his second home in China. It will be interesting to see if Branstad’s intensive grooming of Lt Gov Kim Reynolds (you almost *never* see a photo of one without the other) pays off

  • Bitter Scribe

    the thing about CEOs is that they are not used to being accountable to anyone.

    I have to disagree with you there, at least when it comes to public corporations. CEOs of those have to do plenty of accounting to shareholders, often in the form of analysts from major investors.

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