One of the biggest problems facing our nation and its governance is that a great many of our elected representatives are completely uninterested in using their position to do anything besides pushing absurd ideological culture war battles without any regard to context or anything resembling reality.
That much was made clear this morning during the nomination hearing for Dr. Saule Omarova, who President Biden has appointed to lead a branch of the Treasury Department. Dr. Omarova was born in the Soviet Union and was a member of the Young Communists, as all children born in the Soviet Union were. She moved to America in 1991 for a semester abroad at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, where she studied the modern American theory of democracy and eventually worked her way through law school, the banking sector, and finally the Treasury Department during the Bush years.
All the rest of her long and decorated career didn’t seem to matter to Sen. Kennedy, who obsessed over her mandatory enrollment in the Young Communists and demanded to know over and over if she had formally resigned from the Soviet equivalent of the Boy Scouts, which, we somehow must remind him, hasn’t existed for nearly two decades.
we often forget that senator kennedy is the dumbest senator pic.twitter.com/oYfe3wGm8U
— Marisa Kabas (@MarisaKabas) November 18, 2021
Sen. Kennedy followed up with his bigoted red-baiting smear campaign by declaring that he didn’t know whether to call her “professor” or “comrade:
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA): “I don’t know whether to call you professor or comrade.”
Someone off-camera: “Oh my goodness.”
Dr. Saule Omarova, Biden’s comptroller currency pick: “I’m not a communist. I do not subscribe to that ideology. I could not choose where I was born.” pic.twitter.com/CEiCWNwx2N
— The Recount (@therecount) November 18, 2021
Of course, you don’t have to dig too deep to figure out why Kennedy and the rest of his Republican cronies are so intent on smearing Dr. Omorava — it’s because she is intent on regulating the reckless and unrestrained banking sector, where she worked in the run-up to the 2008 economic collapse and saw firsthand what kind of damage the oligarchy can do if their instruments of greed are left to their own devices.
“They [the banks] know that I won’t let them do whatever they want. I’m not the one to easily go along with whatever big banks would tell me is ‘good for them, therefore good for the country.’ I want to make sure that what is good for them is also good for the country,” said Omarova in an interview with NYMag. “I’m also very reasonable, and I will have an open door, and I will work with any bank that wants to do good for the country. Any bank that wants to channel credit into the real communities, real economy, I’ll be their best friend. If wealthy banks genuinely commit to doing good for the United States, then they have nothing to be afraid of from me. Nothing.”
The issue, of course, is that the only thing the banks will genuinely commit to is sucking every last kernel of profit they possibly can out of the American people and leaving the rest of us homeless and penniless in their wake. While the Trump admin was more than happy to let Wall Street and the rest of corporate America pillage, extort and exploit to their heart’s content, Biden is showing surprising pushback with his nomination of Dr. Omarova — and that is why these decaying morons are intent on pulling out the Red Scare playbook to trash a talented immigrant who raised herself from nothing to the highest levels of government.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.