Barry Saunders

No Obama nominee could win favor of Tillis and Burr

President Obama’s nominee to be the next attorney general could’ve been named Loretta Lynn instead of Loretta Lynch, and it’s still unlikely that North Carolina’s senators would have voted to confirm her.

Do Richard Burr and Thom Tillis care that she was born in Greensboro, raised in Durham and made her bones – sorry, I just watched “The Godfather” for the 200th time – as a New York prosecutor and is qualified?


It’s not likely that even Lynn, the singing coal miner’s daughter and rabid Republican, could have passed the test some Republicans have devised for any Obama nominee: namely, to be nominated by someone else.

So intent are some Republicans such as Tillburr – our hybrid Senate duo – to sabotage Obama’s presidency that it is inconceivable that he could nominate anyone of whom they’d approve.

‘No specifics’

I asked the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP who accompanied a multiracial group to Washington to try to sway Tillburr on Lynch, if there was anyone Obama could’ve nominated who would’ve passed the dynamic duo’s subjective test.

“I don’t think so,” the Rev. Barber said. “They offered no specifics, their rationales were weak. ... They said she was qualified. ... Tillis said he based his decision on one report from the Inspector General’s office” that was about Eric Holder, the departing attorney general.

Even that report, Barber said, “was ultimately complimentary. Burr said he was opposing her because he could not get a definitive answer on what she would change. He’s opposing her because she could not answer a hypothetical question?”

Oy. Tillis makes one long for the time when freshman senators observed the unwritten rule that they be seen and not heard – at least not until they’d been in office long enough to learn where the Senate bathrooms were.

Ah yes, bathrooms – a word that calls to mind our freshman senator. He probably may fear that as attorney general, Lo would uphold the federal requirement that restaurant workers wash their hands after leaving the loo: Tillis is, remember, the guy who caused Tar Heel residents to claim they were from “the other Carolina” when he stated that government regulations shouldn’t interfere with whether food preppers wash their hands.

He also, in his three months in office, has caused natives and longtime Tar Heel residents to say something else they never thought they’d say: Gee, I miss Jesse Helms.

Despite for decades being wrong on just about everything, Jesse – in his own misguided and wrongheaded way – loved his state and country, one could reasonably suspect.

Even if he didn’t, he was outnumbered by Republican senators who did and was relegated to the fringe.

‘Wrong side of history’

It appears that the fringe element, in the middle of which our two senators are firmly ensconced, is in control of the Senate. When former New York Attorney General “Rootin’ Tootin’” Rudy Giuliani, under whom Lynch served, and Republican senators Orrin Hatch and Lindsey Graham say Lynch should be confirmed, you know there is something beyond honest policy disagreements behind Tillburr’s opposition.

Barber compared Tillburr – let me know the next time they disagree on something besides barbecue – to the Alabama state troopers who beat marchers like Amelia Boynton on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma 50 years ago. Like them, Barber said, Tillis and Burr “are going to end up on the wrong side of history.”

Not that they give a fig – as long as they can go back and show certain of their constituents that they opposed Obama.

Both of these gentlemen, when convincing suckers – oops, voters – to support them, proclaimed that creating jobs and boosting the economy was their main goal. What has either done in their tenure to create jobs or boost the economy?


Saunders: 919-836-2811 or