Labor Secretary Designate Solis must be confirmed. The fact that the Secretary of Labor Designate is in the crosshairs of a couple of GOP Senators should not give us pause or come as a surprise.
The GOP has made economic policies its main platform plank for at least the last 40 years. While their results have been disastrous some Republicans are not ready to cut and run from the trickle down legend that has been the core tenet of their economic mythology.
The Department of Labor has long been a strange relic to economic conservatives. Where DC visitors to the DOL see an office building the GOP sees a wicked temple inhabited by evil wizards that actually count the unemployed and study statistics that often contradict core conservative economic superstitions. The questions to Solis were reminiscent of a witch dunking where there are no right answers. If Solis had drowned she would have been human and acceptable but her survival, due to her accurate and honest answers, indicated her pre-supposed guilt.
I reviewed the Solis hearing that seems to have befuddled the GOP inquisitors and found the Secretary Designate to be very even handed. Solis admitted that she sponsored the Employee Free Choice Act (apparently a type of anti-GOP spell) and that President Obama has endorsed it. However Solis also repeatedly indicated that she was not clear what her role would be in the coming debate surrounding the Act due to her potential new position and her inability to yet speak for the administration. Solis gave the same nuanced answers to Senate Democrats that wanted assurances about a host of progressive labor agenda items that she gave to the GOP. The Secretary Designate was trying to express and open mindedness to a middle ground while respectfully deferring to the new President (who by the way was still President elect at the time of the hearing.).
What gives some in the GOP the real jitters though is not the message as much as the messenger. Solis wears her working class roots on her blue collared shirt sleeve. Solis proudly embodies the current generation of blue collar workers yearning to become Obama's green collar wage earners. Solis will be hard to marginalize as an out of touch intellectual as is the customary right wing attack against economic progressives. In fact Solis as the face of labor will set GOP consultants struggling to find a whole new frame of distortion. What truly makes Solis's emergence remarkable is not only her Latina roots but also her working class background
The choice for some reason has been made to avoid another public hearing for Solis and offer GOP Senators one on one meetings with her. I say let this process see the light of day. Allow America's working families to see the GOP questioning of the Congresswoman that is now taking place in their secret Senate office suites. Allow Hilda Solis from El Monte to answer her critics publicly, straight from the very center of her working class soul. America's workers hunger for more than a champion that understands them; they desire a champion that is them. Let Solis be Solis and her GOP detractors be themselves and the choice will then be clear.