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The Senate has confirmed Merrick Garland as Attorney General by 70-30 (GOP leader Mitch McConnell was among 20 Republicans voting to confirm) and Martha Fudge as Secretary of HUD by 66-34.

I generally think that unless there are serious reasons to reject a nominee (like that Xavier Becerra is a vicious leftist partisan with zero qualifications for running Health and Human Services), then Presidents should be allowed to pick the people they want for their team. Elections have consequences, and this is one of them, as unhappy as it might be.

However, in these cases, the Republican confirmation votes are drawing heavy criticism.

Garland was so evasive and acted so clueless when asked about major issues he’ll be dealing with that he was either lying under oath or he hasn’t looked at a newscast in 20 years. Neither bodes well for his job. His refusal to say whether he would kill the Durham investigation or prevent its findings from being made public virtually insures that the only plotters of a genuine coup against the legitimately-elected government in the past five years will get off scot-free.

As for Fudge, as Matt Margolis recounts at the link, she carries more baggage than American Airlines. She has a long history of being a radical race-baiter, viciously insulting Republicans, and spouting insane racial conspiracy theories. And she got the votes of 16 Republicans.

Again, while I generally think Presidents should be allowed to pick their teams, both of these nominations could have been confirmed 51-50. It wouldn’t have prevented them from taking office, but at least it wouldn’t have given Americans the impression that these are acceptable, bipartisan, mainstream choices when they are anything but.

It was bad enough when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was accused of covering up the true number (about 11,000) of COVID deaths in nursing homes that he'd forced to take in coronavirus patients. But here’s a new wrinkle: Fox News reports that the state has a similar directive barring group homes for those with developmental disabilities from requiring COVID tests for admission and readmission. According to state records, 6900 residents of those homes got the virus, and 552 died.

All this is in addition to two…no, three…no, four…no, five…wait: SIX sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Cuomo.

Cuomo is denying any wrongdoing and dismissed these as minor incidents. He said, “There is a spectrum of allegations. There’s capital crimes, there’s physical violence, right? Down to more minor allegations…There’s allegations and there’s allegations.” He explained, “No one ever told me at the time that I made them feel uncomfortable. Obviously, there are people who said after the fact they felt uncomfortable.”

I’m sure that sounds perfectly reasonable to him, but I can’t help imagining how the media would eviscerate any “clueless, Neanderthal” Republican who said it.