Loretta Lynch, human trafficking: Can the GOP walk, chew gum?

Cynthia: Republicans are in charge, and all business — including the confirmation of the first black woman to be Attorney General — is on hold in the U.S. Senate until a bipartisan bill to help victims of human trafficking includes a provision about abortion. Seriously?

How long must we pretend Republicans in Washington care more about jobs and the economy than they do about making health care decisions for women?

Mike: What does the confirmation of an Attorney General have to do with jobs and the economy? They passed the Keystone bill, but the president vetoed it!

Cynthia: What does abortion have to do with whether Loretta Lynch is qualified to be the Attorney General?

Mike: Nothing. But the Byzantine rules governing Senate procedure apparently prevent action on confirmation from occurring until the trafficking law is finished. And you should probably focus some of your displeasure on the Democrat members of the Judiciary Committee — the provision in question was in the bill when they voted unanimously to pass it on Feb. 26. They couldn’t be bothered to read it before they voted?

Cynthia: For the party that needs women to vote for its man in the 2016 presidential election against Hillary Clinton, the emperor needs new clothes. It’s not Byzantine rules stalling a vote to confirm this eminently qualified woman to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, it’s abortion politics. It’s always abortion politics!

Should Democrats have been more vigilant scouring the bill for abortion traps after the GOP revised it and said it didn’t include Hyde Amendment restrictions? Yes. But whether Democrats were tricked or asleep at the switch is irrelevant to the need for bringing the Lynch nomination to the senate floor for a vote.

And thank God for the filibuster rule. Let’s hope cooler heads can fix the trafficking bill for women’s sake.

Mike: You have to love the hypocrisy of Washington. When Democrats were in the majority, the filibuster was so awful they began to dismantle it. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, it is the sword of justice to defend the rights of the downtrodden (read: minority party) politician. And the GOP is no more consistent than your side of the aisle.

Meanwhile, you might want to tell the White House about Hillary’s coronation, since they appear to be the source of the email scandal. Maybe they want to join John Martin’s crusade and abolish term limits for the president?

Cynthia: A Republican hat trick certain to please the ladies! Abortion politics stalling the confirmation of a black woman with scandalous unsubstantiated rumors of a cat-fight between Hillary Clinton and Valerie Jarrett thrown in for good measure.

The U.S. Constitution has to be amended to change presidential term limits, which will never happen given that Congress can’t even pass a bill to protect kids from sex trafficking. Or confirm an outstanding candidate.

Amending a Maine statute to repeal term limits, on the other hand, could happen if Gov. LePage puts his finger on the scale. John Martin is the consummate political broker — maybe he smells a deal. Tax reform in exchange for repealing term limits?

Mike: The governor put his finger on the scale last year, in favor of their abolition. So giving Paul LePage two things he supports in exchange for nothing? The Marden’s lady would be proud!

Cynthia: The GOP does have a way with fictional women.

As for the confirmation of Loretta Lynch, a real woman, the question to Mitch McConnell is, can Republicans in the U.S. Senate walk and chew gum at the same time? Surely everything mustn’t screech to a halt over one lousy bill.

Mike: I’m not sure anyone in Washington can walk and chew gum. Why did it take the Senate four years to pass a budget under Harry Reid’s leadership? Why didn’t the president ever look at his Secretary of State’s email address? Are you really going to lay every problem in Washington at the feet of the GOP?

Cynthia: Of course not, Mike. I’m reasonable and level-headed, but right now it’s the newly elected Republican Majority Leader who’s holding up the confirmation of Lynch — an independent prosecutor with a stellar record of fighting terrorists, child traffickers, drug gangs and banksters. She’s exactly the kind of person we need in Washington to lead the Justice Department. The daughter of a Baptist minister…Harvard educated…heck, even Rudy Giuliani supports her!

Mike: Ms. Lynch will be confirmed. The only question before the Senate is whether or not she is qualified, not whether each senator would choose her. Fortunately, the GOP recognizes the differing roles of the branches. That stands in contrast to the Democrats in Maine, who have rejected Gov. LePage’s nominees because of political disagreements.

What do you think? Will one of John Martin’s other legacies — the power of the House to control confirmations through the committee process — lead to Democrats rejecting more of the governor’s appointments in the 127th Legislature on political grounds?

Cynthia: Democrats in Maine have been deferential to almost all of Gov. LePage’s appointments and reject his choices only on very rare occasion for principled reasons. Every nominee is at least assured the decency and respect of a timely vote.

March madness is no excuse for some U.S. senators to chase one another down the rabbit hole. Lawmakers in Washington should put the interests of the country ahead of political backbiting, do their job and vote.

The question is simple: Is America ready for Loretta Lynch?