By JOHN KANELIS
Wherever he is, the late, great, legendary U.S. House Speaker Sam Rayburn is shaking his head.
One of his political descendants, the guy who represents his Northeast Texas House congressional district, Republican John Ratcliffe, has gotten the call yet again from the president to become the nation’s head spook.
Donald Trump wants John Ratcliffe to become the next director of national intelligence.
Why would Mr. Sam be confused? For the same reason many of us are baffled. You see, Ratcliffe got the call this past summer. Then the fecal matter hit the fan when it was revealed that Ratcliffe allegedly inflated his professional history. It turned out he wasn’t as well-versed on intelligence matters as he said he was. He had served as a U.S. attorney in Texas, but his work had next to nothing to do with prosecuting criminals accused of national security matters.
Senate Republicans, in addition to Democrats, were tepid – at best – in their initial response to Ratcliffe’s nomination.
Trump pulled Ratcliffe’s nomination.
He has since burned through two acting DNIs, Joseph Maguire and now Richard Grenell.
Trump has turned to Ratcliffe who isn’t any more qualified now than he was when Trump nominated him the first time.
Hmm. My guess is that it might have been Ratcliffe’s performance during the Trump impeachment inquiry proceedings in the House of Representatives. Ratcliffe serves on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees and took it upon himself to mount a stout defense of the president in the wake of evidence that he abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress’ effort to get to the bottom of Russian interference in our 2016 presidential election.
Is that how it goes now? It appears to me that Trump’s standard for national security matters rests exclusively on loyalty to the president.
I have to wonder out loud whether this nominee will be able to find senatorial support that he couldn’t locate when Donald Trump pitched his name out there the first time.
I don’t see it happening. Then again, how does one predict anything when it involves the current president of the United States?
John Kanelis, former editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise, is also a former blogger for Panhandle PBS in Amarillo. He is now retired, but still writing. Kanelis can be contacted via Twitter @jkanelis, on Facebook, or his blog, www.highplainsblogger.com. Kanelis' blog for KETR, "Piece of Mind," presents his views, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KETR, its staff, or its members.
Kanelis lives in Princeton with his wife, Kathy.