Democrats are botching a crystal clear, easy to understand issue that should be a political slam dunk for them by making it overly convoluted
Should be simple as:
“Where’s my damn mail? And what are you going to do to get it to me?”
Leave it at that. Let it resonate.
Which is why every time we hear House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney use that “CEO” line, which seemed like about a million times today, we cringe.
- It makes the situation with the currently broken United States Postal Service more complicated by putting it into the context of comparing it (and its leadership) to a regular business, which it’s not.
- It allows the conversation to move into the realm of running the Postal Service like a business. Which is not the point right now. And might even give some wavering Trump supporters (especially if they’re not getting important deliveries like medications) pause to reconsider and think: “Right! Now we get it: he’s just trying to run it like a business. Of course there are going to be some hiccups!”
- It’s also not true.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was brought in by Trump (or rather by the Postal Service Board of Governors, who are all Trump appointees, including its Chair who used to be head of the Republican National Committee), as a logistics expert capable of turning around the Postal Service’s business.
And turnaround specialists are usually given great latitude by boards, which understand the underlying business may temporarily suffer as the new CEO goes about the painful process of cutting costs (which often means people), streamlining and breaking down, then reimagining the core business. Some turnaround specialists are legends of corporate America. Others turned out to be hustlers who got lucky once or twice and dragged whole fortunes and thousands of jobs down with them.
Still, no way Louis DeJoy would be out after a little more than 2 months. Because whatever you think of DeJoy or what his motives may be, his skill or competence in this job (or lack thereof) as a logistics or turnaround specialist is not in evidence yet.
His judgment and timing however, is.
And that, to us, is the most potent issue, but one that was often lost in the hours of hearings we (mostly) watched at the end of last week and the beginning of this week.
And again, it’s no more complicated than:
- People are not getting their mail delivered in a timely fashion, in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of an election that will rely on mail-in ballots like never before.
- That’s because both the Postmaster General and also President Trump judged it was really important to start breaking down the Postal Service in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of an election that will rely on mail-in ballots like never before.
Whether it’s checks, or baby chicks, or ballots. And everyone knows it because there’s no way to hide it.
That’s it. That’s all the message needs to be right now.
And if you think we’re being short sighted because we’re primarily seeing this as a political device to help Democrats win the next election, and raising awareness about how Trump might be hobbling voting by mail, while not considering what Trump and DeJoy might do to the Postal Service after that vote, we’re not. Because, first of all, we’re not getting important things delivered on time right now either. And also because whether Trump wins the next election or not will have everything to do with what happens to the Postal Service in the long run.
So talking to DeJoy as a manager about what may be flaws in his grand vision of the Postal Service going forward actually gives him a leg to stand on. Because then he can say things like:
“I am not engaged in sabotaging the election.”
Which he did.
But again, that’s not really the point. Since even if he truly isn’t deliberately, his judgment and his timing are so far yielding the same results as if he was.
Even trying to catch DeJoy in a lie about whether he’s communicated with Trump since starting his job really doesn’t matter that much and only complicates things too. Because we all know even if Trump hasn’t contacted DeJoy yet, if he wants to, he will.
“Why isn’t the damn mail getting delivered on time, and why did you decide this of all times was a good time to mess with the post office?” There’s no need to go any further.
While Rep. Katie Porter (D) CA was both praised and criticized for asking DeJoy some “gotcha” questions, we think she is on the right track. Because he absolutely should’ve known how many people voted by mail in 2016, especially since he’d just spent hours robustly asserting the Postal Service will have no problem with that this time.
(The answer is a little more than 30-million Americans, or close to a quarter of all the people casting ballots, voted by mail last time around, BTW. It’ll be a lot more this time.)
But if he doesn’t know the answer to that first question, how can he be so sure?