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Senator Thune Stacks Commerce Committee with Unqualified Sub-Cmte Chairs

Texas blogger Juanita Jean notes with dismay Senator John Thune's choices for subcommittee chairs on the Senate Commerce Committee that he chairs:

  1. Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security: Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), from a small state with no primary international airport.
  2. Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet: Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), from a state that ranks last in K-12 education quality and last in number of residents with Internet access.
  3. Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security: Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), who voted against regulating the subprime lending industry in November 2007 and has voted against helping us keep our own data secure against warrantless searches.
  4. Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who demurs on questions about climate change and the age of the Earth by saying, "I'm not a scientist, man."
  5. Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), whose 2013 government shutdown did permanent damage to scientific research and U.S. competitiveness.
  6. Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security: Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), from a state with no interaction with the merchant marine fleet.

Senator Thune obviously chooses his subcommittee chairs on something other than expertise.


  1. Loren 2015.01.13

    And Thune was given this chairmanship based on his "expertise"????

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.13

    Next thing you know, Loren, they'll be putting Mike Rounds on a committee to handle immigration.

  3. Tim 2015.01.13

    There could be a reason why the federal government is so worthless and inefficient, just look who they keep picking to run it. The dumbing down of government.

  4. jerry 2015.01.13

    Birds of a feather with this clown car. The goal of the republican party is to destroy America. There is nothing to see here, just the reality of their goals. Wait until you get a load of Tom Price and his Social Security reform. That should get the oatmeal eaters some alarm, or maybe not.

  5. mike from iowa 2015.01.13

    I heartily agree with "Where's the beef Barbie" Rounds being a double dip.

  6. Don Coyote 2015.01.13

    Committee and sub-committe chairmanships are determined almost entirely by seniority on the committee and seniority in the Senate .... in both parties. The Republicans have a 6 year term limit; Dems don't.

  7. leslie 2015.01.13

    mfi-we need to seriously work on rounds' moniker!

    seriously, an optimist would say educate a naysayer by a committee appointment, like 1-5 appear. For para 6., at least Ne. has the mighty mo'!

    when now-retired cong. henry waxman (D. Ca.) sat on the environment committee, a brief popular youtube vid shows "him pulling his hair" over denier "proof" his colleague from georgia or s.c. talks about, a total coal lazy idiot schill despite education as a P.E.!! you know, arctic ice extent "growing" as climate "warming" yet 100 years evidence shows clear graphic sharp decline! likely listener of FOX and coast to coast!!

    rounds will likely get "all airplane-y" as proof of paying attention. staff will do the rest. and eliminating epa is a campaign promise.... :(

  8. mike from iowa 2015.01.13

    leslie-I'm kinda fond of that moniker. Ask him where's the beef and you get Round's take-get it? Sounds like round steak and that is the beef. Nevermind. Picking space cadet Cruz(Cubanadian Barbie) for space committee is the real no-brainer on the list.

  9. jerry 2015.01.13

    One thing with Democrats and seniority for those chairs, they had something on the ball as far as understanding what it is they were in the committee for in the first place. With this bunch, they are without a doubt, the most inept committee representatives to go along with an empty chair person person ever. I thought it was bad when the last Bush was in charge with his congress, but alas, this bunch has taken the cake. You can bet they will do nothing to help the country.

  10. CLCJM 2015.01.13

    It seems that they were all piced for the very fact that they have no expertise and there is no connection in their state to the very things they're supposed to work on legislation for. Easier to cause harm and accept no consequences that way.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.13

    Separation from consequences—ah, I should have thought of that!

  12. leslie 2015.01.13

    ken thune, barbie noem, "ground" rounds??? i'm down!!

  13. mhs 2015.01.13

    And no doubt had Senator Johnson made similar picks, you'd be lauding him for picking senators from states that don't have a local international airport, fishing industry, internet goliaths, etc. so that the would be free of local politics, thus better enabling them to make decisions based on the country's, and not their own states', best interests at heart. :)

  14. leslie 2015.01.13

    check johnson's appointments. you are comparing apples and oranges. tim has overwhelmingly demonstrated integrity.

  15. Troy 2015.01.13

    One of the things I love about Madville is I can get confirmation on my views. Thanks for confirming that Thune did a great job. You guys are great.

  16. larry kurtz 2015.01.13

    Uh, Troy? Thune has done zero, zip, nada for South Dakota and is poised to lose every initiative including keeping Ellaworth alive.

  17. Jaka 2015.01.13

    If only more Dakotan's would per-use "The Madville Times"!!!!

  18. CLCJM 2015.01.13

    Troy, you are apparently as unqualified and as ignorant as Thune and everyone hen appointed to these committees. You've all overdosed on the red Koolade!

  19. Roger Cornelius 2015.01.13

    Here is a list of John Thune's accomplishments for South Dakota:
    Get the point Troy?

  20. grudznick 2015.01.13

    Mr. C, he got South Dakota mentioned in a couple of sexiest and most fit legislatures lists. And he fought against the tyranny of Obama.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.13

    Don, then those term limits appear to force the selection of subcommittee chairs who aren't very good for the job.

  22. Roger Cornelius 2015.01.13

    Tyranny of Obama? Get a grip gudz.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.13

    Troy, if my blog makes you and people of your worldview feel better, then (a) I'm not doing my job, but (b) I encourage you to encourage all of your friends to come read and comment more often. :-)

    (When I grow up, I want to be chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Blogging.)

  24. Roger Cornelius 2015.01.13

    I haven't been over to the Dump Site since Powers banned me so I finally took a quick look tonight and discovered why Troy is over here commenting, the threads and discussions over there are pathetic.
    Troy can't have an intellectual discussion with his own kind.

  25. leslie 2015.01.13

    is thune orange too? what are his priorities? booze, golf, power?

  26. leslie 2015.01.13

    troy, grudz-just noticed huffpost headlines today: 1. thune and co. gonna vote on whether climate change is real. 2. ground rounds' house is gonna vote that no new rules get passed.

    your people, troy and grudz are fucking idiots. last term this time you all came up with the obstruction, and shut down strategy. fucking idiots.

  27. leslie 2015.01.13

    george will wrote last wedsday that climate change is bogus, according to two books he read, one by a historian about the 17th century, the other about 15th century famine where parent ate children and bodies swinging from the gallows. he didn't mention what the author does.

    will doesn't mention all the exponential warming and green house gassing has occurred since then.

    he just has a column deadline, but thune el al. take this guy as gospel.

    is it that simple: will writes column. senate votes to decide if climate change is real? probably. they after all are taking credit for the economy coming around, since they have been sworn in. republicans. they run our state.

  28. Don Coyote 2015.01.14

    @ Cory: Term limits also help prevent Senators (and Representatives) from becoming entrenched, establishing fiefdoms, concentrating power and doling out patronage.

    It can also help maneuver exceptionally adept individuals into new positions. For example Paul Ryan took over Ways and Means after the former committee chair Dave Camp who retired in '14 but was also term limited.

    And term limits aren't absolute. Waivers can be given by leadership. Ryan actually served 8 years as Budget chair. I believe the benefits of term limits far out weigh the negatives.

  29. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.14

    Term limits also weaken democracy by taking the responsibility for oversight off the shoulders of the voters. Pay attention, vote, and you don't need term limits. And the idea that we should maneuver "exceptionally adept" individuals out of certain positions seems silly. You want to move people with talent out of their jobs to make way for inferior leaders? Only someone reading "Harrison Bergeron" or arguing for the sake of argument and ego rather than the general welfare would advance such a ridiculous idea.

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.14

    Roger, we are far from intellectual purity and civil perfection here, but I welcome all refugees and even hangers-on from the DWC comment section. Like Senator Thune's committee choices, DWC embraces narrow-minded ideology, while Democrats and I offer a bigger tent that embrace talent. :-)

  31. Don Coyote 2015.01.14

    @Cory: Terms limits as determined by general elections are not the same as term limits as determined by Senate rules. You are conflating the two situations.

    Who says any of these leaders are necessarily inferior or inept? Are you questioning the judgment of the polis of the various states? It seems you are.

    I grew up during the era of Senator James Eastland (22 years Judiciary) and John Stennis (12 years Armed Services) and their Senate fiefdoms. You wanted a judge nomination confirmed? It had to go through Eastland. Screw the rest of the committee. You wanted a ship built? it had to go through Stennis. Screw the rest of the committee. Do you want to return to those glory days? I guess so.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.15

    I conflate because the same principles apply. You don't want Eastland or Stennis to be chair? Don't make them chair. Vote them out, Senators. Term limits relieve the voters (in this case, those who pick committee chairs) of the burden of hard choices.

    My statement that certain Senators are inept does not insult the wisdom of the polis any more than term limits insult the wisdom of whoever is voting, regular citizens or Congresspeople.

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