Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Trump’s newly-minted foreign policy advisor, is making his pilgrimage to Trump Tower today to discuss the possibility of serving as vice president or in Trump’s cabinet. Fellow Tennessean, Rep. Scott DesJarlais, is predicting Corker might be chosen as secretary of state. Earlier this month, Politico tried desperately to Astroturf the notion that Corker would make a good vice presidential running mate for Donald Trump. Several hours later, Politico couldn’t help itself, and ran a follow-up story that portrayed Corker coyly refusing to reject that possibility out of hand.
This brief episode of the nightmare that is the 2016 presidential campaign is revealing for several reasons, but perhaps the most significant is: Were anyone actually paying attention to substance this year, it would probably be recognized as definitive proof that Trump is functionally more of a Democrat than a Republican (let alone a conservative). No self-respecting Republican would voluntarily bring Bob Corker into his administration, given that Corker has essentially done more to shepherd President Obama and the Democratic Party’s radical agenda over the last eight years than almost any other active senator.
While most of Corker’s damage has been on the foreign policy front, he has also shown an ability to support the Obama administration’s catastrophic domestic policy agenda as well. Corker first demonstrated his handiwork for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory when he helped salvage the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in the waning legislative days of the Democrat-controlled Congress in 2010, as chronicled by Tennessee activist Kevin Kookogey last week. Corker was later infamously instrumental in rescuing President Obama’s illegal alien amnesty legislation in 2013 after it was on life support. Dodd-Frank has predictably proven to be a disaster, and Corker’s amnesty bill was a narrowly dodged bullet that may yet return if and when Democrats control the Senate again. And don’t forget Corker’s own brilliant, independent idea to increase the federal gasoline tax (a proposal, by the way, which he first offered when gasoline prices were sky-high nationwide).
But Corker’s greatest contribution to the Obama administration’s almost-eight-year fraud on the American people was his complicity in the catastrophic deal between the administration and the Islamic Republic of Iran. That deal – which has been well documented here at Conservative Review and in other places – lifted weapons and other sanctions on Iran (which the United States actually still lists as a state sponsor of terrorism), provided literally hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up the terrorist-supporting regime (which Secretary Kerry has since admitted will be funneled to terrorists), and has put the radical mullahs on a path toward a missile-based nuclear arsenal with global reach.
Yes, this was an Obama administration-pushed deal. But right at the heart of this mess was none other than Bob Corker. Corker has rarely, if ever, demonstrated the willpower, from his perch as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to in any way resist the will of the administration or liberal Democrats in Congress. He only slid further to the left when Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) stepped aside as ranking member of the committee to allow ultra-liberal Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) to assume the spot. Rather than isolating President Obama’s unlawful executive agreement with Iran by insisting it be considered by the Senate as a treaty—which would have required two-thirds ratification—Corker wrapped his arms around the deal and gave its lawlessness the imprimatur of congressional consideration and approval. He was one of the few Republicans who refused to sign onto the Cotton letter declaring the Iran deal null and void. You could make the argument that Corker’s efforts not only dramatically endangered the United States and all Americans, but that his zeal to facilitate the deal have weakened an already pathetically weak legislative branch.
The catastrophic Iran agreement, however, is really only the most glaringly disastrous example of Corker’s damage during his time “leading” the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Time and again, Corker has provided cover for the Democrats’ troubling foreign policy notions and weak solutions to serious national security threats. He had the luxury of hiding behind Menendez when the Democrats were in charge of the Senate in the 113th Congress. But in the wake of the conservative wave election in 2014, where grassroots conservatives helped Republicans achieve control of the Senate for the first time since 2006, Corker has used the gavel to double down on the Democrats’ failed foreign policy agenda.
Corker has also overseen a parade of truly poor-quality nominees for diplomatic positions over the last few years with nary a fight, apparently of the belief that the Senate’s duty to advise and consent is more of a rubber-stamp formality than a gatekeeping constitutional duty. In fairness, the bulk of nominees confirmed over the last four years have been career Foreign Service officers with decent records, but those perfectly fine nominees should not provide cover for the really bad nominees, such as Wendy Sherman, who, as President Obama’s former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, oversaw most of the administration’s disastrous appeasement efforts; Anne Patterson, who was, for some reason, promoted to Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs after serving as Ambassador to Egypt, where she had provided political cover for the Muslim Brotherhood and its post-election abuses in Egypt; Roberta Jacobson, who led President Obama’s illegal efforts to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and was recently confirmed as the Ambassador to Mexico; and Thomas Shannon, who, prior to becoming Wendy Sherman’s replacement as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, supported the administration’s kid-glove approach to the brutal Chavez-Maduro regime in Venezuela.
If personnel is policy, Corker shares the burden for the State Department’s meltdown over the last few years, the leftist policies it has shepherded, and any future fallout from these policies. What were those other Corker-aided and abetted leftist policies? Here is just a sample:
- Corker has played a vital role, both in the minority and as chairman, to see to it that we only levied fairly useless “sanctions” against aggressive, literal invaders like Russia, or brutal communist dictatorships like Venezuela and Cuba. At a time when Russia was literally stealing sovereign territory from its democratizing neighbor, Ukraine, and Venezuela and Cuba were helping Hezbollah to get a foothold in the Americas, Corker helped the Democrats … prevent dictators’ wives from going shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue and their families from going to Disney World. Even now, Corker (like President Obama) continues to resist stronger sanctions against Venezuela, at a time when hard-hitting sanctions could knock the stumbling Maduro regime off its feet. The result of this Corker-Obama weakness is still reverberating around the globe, with Putin eyeing the theft of more buffer territory in the Baltic States and Central Asia, and Venezuela and Cuba strengthening their ties to radical Islamists in the final days of the Obama administration.
- Corker has lamely stood by while the Obama administration has ignored federal law and all but unilaterally restored full diplomatic relations with the Castro regime in Cuba. As with the Iran deal, Corker has refused to use either the constitutional tools or the bully pulpit of his chairmanship to his advantage in order to affect change or express opposition to Obama’s abuse of authority. There is some irony in the fact that the Obama administration probably would have received greater opposition to its pro-Castro policy if Bob Menendez were still chair of the committee.
- Corker has allowed the State Department to metastasize on his watch, and has demonstrated virtually no interest in using the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and its ability to authorize (or de-authorize) to rein in the parts of the State Department that are functioning independent of federal law. While this administration is expanding the bureaucracy at record speed without the permission of Congress, Corker is nowhere to be found. (For those of you who were hoping that a Trump administration would shrink the size and scope of federal government, this is yet another sign that you’ve been had.)
If you are tempted to say that Corker would “just” be Trump’s vice president, and that traditionally vice presidents are not actively involved in an administration, it’s worth reminding everyone of Trump’s own words while on the campaign trail. Trump has shown an inability to express strong, articulate policy ideas (or form complete sentences), and because of that, he has emphasized on more than one occasion that he would be leaning heavily on his vice president to guide the hand of government. To the extent that he is telling the truth about leaning on his veep choice, and Corker is his choice, the implications should disturb anyone who considers him or herself a conservative.
And as for the damage the would be done by making Corker the next secretary of state, well, we may as well just bring back Hillary Clinton. Bob Corker represents the antithesis of why people voted for Trump. Voters from all sides are sick of the tepid Republicanism and K Street insider mentality so superlatively embodied in a politician like Corker.
Of course, perhaps we should look on the bright side here: If Trump were to pick Corker to serve as his vice president or secretary of state, we would also get Corker out of the Senate, which would mean we would have a much better shot of actually having a Republican leading the Republican wing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And the good people of Tennessee might have a shot at having a Republican senator again.
Author: Daniel Horowitz
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.