The Spectacle Blog

Obamanoms, Chapter 2

By on 4.24.09 | 10:12AM

There must be something in the water in Seattle. First, Obama nominates the incompetent Seattle chief of police to be his drug czar, then he nominates King County executive (of which Seattle is a part) Ron Sims to serve as his deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Sims' political and management career has been riddled with scandal and mismanagement, yet Republicans in the Senate don't seem interested in holding Sims -- or the administration that nominated him -- accountable.

According to numerous press reports, Sims gave a low-interest-rate HUD loan to build a four-star hotel at the Seattle Tacoma International Airport. The hotel was owned by a union pension fund manager and one of the world's largest hotel and casino operators. These loans are intended to clean up blighted areas and usually go to nonprofits, low-income housing developers, and social service agencies. So this explains Sims' "experience" for the HUD job, I suppose.

But, wait…there's more. Sims' hand-picked chief medical examiner, Richard Harruff, never lost his job despite losing a body, selling organs, a lawsuit about an involuntary organ donation, gross photo contests, lawsuits over sexual harassment, employees being paid to provide semen samples, an investigator stealing and consuming drugs from the dead, bodies left on the floor, and chemicals being poured down the drain illegally. Bet HUD is getting excited about having Sims for a boss?

Perhaps another aspect of Sims' career that is attractive to Obama: in 2004 Sims' head of elections oversaw an Election Day that featured: felons voting, dead people voting, hundreds of ballots discarded only to be discovered after the vote, provisional ballots were counted without eligibility verification, a number of people were able to vote twice, and unregistered voters' ballots were counted. But then again, this is a Democrat we're talking about.

It's not like any of this isn't on the public record. Yet during Sims' Senate confirmation hearing, only two Republican Senators weighed in on Sims, and judging by the transcript, neither laid a glove on the left coaster. Heck, they didn't even try to get into the ring.

Sen. Richard Shelby: "I'm here to support you all and as Republicans we look to getting you confirmed."

Sen. Mike Johanns: "I can't imagine any problems with any of your confirmations."

Maybe things in the Senate have changed a bit over the years, but last time I checked, being the party of opposition meant you actually opposed something. And in the cases of the Obanoms, we're not just talking about saying "no" for no other reason than to oppose. These are men and women who are not worthy of serving our nation in positions of power and influence. 

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