Whether as a constituent or as a member of the press, our Senators deserve to be placed against the wall on this Tsunis fiasco. Until a Senator comes out publicly against the absolute most inane, unqualified nomination the Senate has perhaps yet ever seen, tacit support of Tsunis – and the damage it is doing to our Party and democracy – must be challenged. There’s no reason an unknowledgeable, unqualified Tsunis should be rewarded. And there’s no reason we all should have to pay. We and the press need to do our jobs. Below are some questions to ask and think about. Pick a few that hit most home for you. Use them to challenge our Senators until they all finally get on the right side of what really should be a no-brainer.
Twelve Questions: Short, Sharp, and Straight to the Point
Advancing “might makes right” as to the role of money in politics? Yes or No?
Punching Norway, a staunch ally of the United States and NATO, in the face? Yes or No?
Punching Nordic-Americans in the face? Yes or No?
Punching all working American taxpayers in the face? Yes or No?
Applying a far different and far lower standard of “job qualification” for an unqualified multi-millionaire political donor than one applies to working Americans? Yes or No?
Making working American taxpayers who must be qualified for their own jobs pay the unattainable salary and perks of a fully unqualified multi-millionaire fundraiser who wants to play diplomat in a country he clearly knows nothing about? Yes or No?
Advancing extreme Wage Inequality and Economic Injustice? Yes or No?
Advancing corruption or the appearance of corruption in ambassadorial nominations? Yes or No?
Advancing corruption or the appearance of corruption in the role of money in politics? Yes or No?
Ignoring informed opinions of experts in diplomacy and Nordic-American relations? Yes or No?
Ignoring the requirements of the Foreign Service Act of 1980? Yes or No?
Ignoring the best interests of your country and constituents? Yes or No?
The Long-Playing Version: Serious Questions as to Serious Problems
What exactly do you believe that you personally know about George J. Tsunis and his background better than the above-named Norwegian government members, senators, congresspersons, former diplomats, present diplomats, and constituents – all of whom have an elevated knowledge of the Norwegian-American relationship and/or US diplomacy – that makes you believe that, despite his extreme lack of even basic knowledge, George J. Tsunis is somehow actually qualified to ever become our next U.S. envoy to, very specifically, the Kingdom of Norway?
Even despite the gross lack of knowledge and complete absence of diplomatic skills shown by George J. Tsunis in his Senate Confirmation Hearing, what exactly do you believe in his “Certificate of Demonstrated Competence” indicates that George J. Tsunis is or was somehow actually qualified to ever become our next U.S. envoy to, very specifically, the Kingdom of Norway?
What exactly do you believe is in America’s and your constituents’ own best interests about sending an individual to Norway who has very publicly by his own incompetence and lack of knowledge caused members of the Norwegian government to demand an apology from President Obama and forced the U.S. Embassy in Oslo to have meetings with and apologize to various members of the Norwegian Government?
What exactly do you believe is in America’s and your constituents’ own best interests about sending to Norway – a key American and NATO ally – an envoy who in that position as US Ambassador to Norway – by his very own public failures and unambiguous lack of qualifications – would arrive in Oslo as fully damaged goods, remain the source of endless jokes, and never possess the least credibility or be taken seriously by the Norwegian people, the press, US Embassy staff, or representatives from the Norwegian Government?
Do you believe that, contrary to the requirements of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, Sec. 304, an American ambassadorship should simply be handed to a fully unqualified fundraiser whose one and only qualification for, very specifically, this Norway posting is his having given and raised massive amounts of political contributions?
Do you believe that the US Senate is a body merely meant to rubber-stamp ambassadorial nominees or, in rare cases such as the Tsunis nomination, where grave diplomatic incidents have arisen and the lack of qualifications and skills are so glaring, do you believe that Senators and the US Senate, regardless of party affiliation, are required by the Constitution to play out their respective roles as gatekeepers and thus ensure the quick and clear withdrawal or defeat of such a nomination?
Since you voted for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Public Law No: 113-128), addressing the need for better-qualified and trained American workers, and you believe that average Americans should be qualified for their own jobs; a) why then do you think it is somehow right and b) what exactly do you believe is in America’s and your own constituents’ best interests about sending a multi-millionaire fundraiser to Norway who has no qualifications as to or knowledge of the country and government to which he would be sent?
Since you have argued that Economic Injustice and Wage Inequality are problems in our country today; a) why then do you think it is somehow right and b) what exactly do you believe would be in America’s and your own constituents’ best interests to make regular hard-working Americans, nearly 60% of whom live pay-check-to-pay-check, pay the highly unqualified nominee, George J. Tsunis, a key fundraiser worth $85 million, a salary of ca. $200k p/yr plus significant other monetary benefits using your own constituents’ hard-paid tax dollars?
Since you have argued that the pervasive and destructive role of money in politics is a severe and ever increasing threat to our democracy today; a) why then do you think it is somehow right and b) what exactly do you believe would be in America’s and your own constituents’ best interests to hand the proven highly unqualified nominee, George J. Tsunis, a key fundraiser worth $85 million, a job worth ca. $200k p/yr plus significant other monetary benefits for no other reason other than his massive political contributions paid by him and his family to both Democrats and Republicans?
What exactly do you believe is in America’s and your constituents’ own best interests about sending an individual abroad who has very publicly exhibited his extreme lack of knowledge of the country and government to which he would be sent and, as a result, in George J. Tsunis’ case, has been rightly mocked by Anderson Cooper on CNN and John Stewart (not once but twice) on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and, moreover, publicly rejected by:
To the extent a Senator or a Senate Staffer may suggest that it is not the habit in the Senate to announce a Senator’s vote prior to the actual vote coming to the floor, two important points should well be remembered.
First, four Democratic Senate colleagues have already come forward and publicly announced their intentions to vote against George J. Tsunis for one reason and one reason only: Because the situation is so far beyond wrong that the only way to avoid a Tsunis confirmation and all of the things that would be so obviously wrong with it is to state publicly for one’s own constituents that a Senator understands the difference between constituents’ interests and the interests of a multi-millionaire donor and, therefore, will fully side with the best interests of the United States and the Senator’s hard-working taxpaying constituents.
Second, though the tradition of not disclosing one’s vote in advance may be arguable in certain cases relating to a pending piece of legislation – where actual deliberation, reflection, and fact-gathering are required or where a pre-mature announcement may have market affects, in the Tsunis case none such issues exist. In the Tsunis case, the nominee has already had his confirmation hearing and fully made clear his absolute lack of qualifications and skills by the diplomatic incidents and protests that have followed in his wake and there is, therefore, no reason or need for any additional deliberation. He may be qualified for other appointments, but Mr. Tsunis has shown himself most certainly as not being qualified in the least to become the next US Ambassador to Norway.
Accordingly, Senators have no reason to delay making publicly known to their constituents whether they will support the best interests of the United States and their own constituents or, on the contrary, whether (and exactly upon what basis, in light of the above questions) they believe Mr. Tsunis’ lack of qualifications and diplomatic incidents should somehow be ignored to the detriment of constituent and American interests.
By the Senator making a public commitment to vote against the Tsunis nomination, the Senator’s page here will be removed from this website and the Senator will be promptly added to The Principled Heroes list for all constituents to see.