What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 5, 2010

Senate Hostage Drama

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Democracy

One Senator -- Richard Shelby (R-AL) -- has blocked all of Obama's nominations because he wants pork earmarks for his state. From Talking Points Memo:
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put an extraordinary "blanket hold" on at least 70 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, according to multiple reports this evening. The hold means no nominations can move forward unless Senate Democrats can secure a 60-member cloture vote to break it, or until Shelby lifts the hold.

"While holds are frequent," CongressDaily's Dan Friedman and Megan Scully report (sub. req.), "Senate aides said a blanket hold represents a far more aggressive use of the power than is normal."
On top of that, one of the earmarks he is fighting for is slated to go to the foreign company Airbus (the contract would go to Boeing if Shelby doesn't get his way).

And, if that wasn't enough, he's defending shutting down the Senate by saying...wait for it...he's fighting the terrorists!

Our government is well and truly broken.


EdHeath said...

When Froth posted this story, an anonymous commenter said "It was okay when the dems did it - but not now?".

When did the Democrats ever place a blanket hold on 70 nominations. The worst they ever did, in the days when the Republicans held Congress and the White House, was hold up maybe four nominations. And they did so on principle, that the Federal judge nominees (a life time appointment) in questions held views that made their impartiality questionable.

By contrast Shelby is holding up nominations to get pork for his state. So much for the party of fiscal f'ing responsibility. Who want to see health care/insurance in America stay exactly like it is, so more poor people can die.

Clyde Wynant said...

This isn't about the pork, it's about power. Our government is, as you note, truly broken, when one nutball in the South can derail its basic functioning.

However, I will agree that Democrats, while not as venal as the GOP, haven't done much over the years to fix Senate and House "rules," which allow this sort of unilateral behavior. Both sides want that power, when they are in office -- and figure that they can deal with it when they are in the minority. Of course, what has changed is the complete and utter loss of any "statesmanship" amongst our lawmakers.

I'll raise this issue. Prior to the rise of the political consultancy class, many candidates got into office because they'd risen through the ranks and paid their dues. Today, that has all changed. Money, good looks, a sonorous voice, a curvy leg; these are the attributes that get you elected -- as long as you have the other, which is money.

So we've ended up with a massive number of numb nuts in DC, who are "hair cuts," empty suits who care nothing for the nation or its history and only for their own personal well-being.

Problem is, I don't see it changing anytime soon. Or ever.