Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Are They Acting in Good Faith Now?

Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) placed a hold on 70 executive nominations…yes 70…meaning the Democrats need to muster 60 votes to proceed to a debate to proceed to another cloture vote, or wait until Shelby nicely releases the holds…and you wonder why people don’t trust the government with their healthcare?

Why would a Republican Senator put a blanket hold on nearly six dozen executive nominations?  

According to the report, Shelby is holding Obama’s nominees hostage until a pair of lucrative programs that would send billions in taxpayer dollars to his home state get back on track. CongressDaily laid out the programs Shelby wants to move forward or else:

cause we need to cut spending, don-cha-no?

What is so important that the good Senator, who is so concerned about the deficit, would be willing spend billions of dollars and hold up 70 nominations indefinitely for?

A $40 billion contract to build air-to-air refueling tankers. From the report: “Northrop/EADS team would build the planes in Mobile, Ala., but has threatened to pull out of the competition unless the Air Force makes changes to a draft request for proposals.”

– An improvised explosive device testing lab for the FBI. From CongressDaily: “[Shelby] is frustrated that the Obama administration won’t build” the center, which Shelby earmarked $45 million for in 2008. The center is due to be based “at the Army’s Redstone Arsenal.”

Yep, that’s right. The party so concerned with deficits and spending want to spend in a deficit, but so long as it benefits them, and they’re willing to hold up the government to do it!

It’s not as if Shelby has an ideological reason to oppose all seventy of these nominations. Today Martha Johnson was confirmed unanimously by the Senate to head the General Services Administration…eight months after being nominated. Who held her up? Senator Kit Bond (R-Missouri). Was he opposed to her for some major reason? Nope, he voted for her confirmation, but held her up for months over a dispute about a government building in Kansas City.

Surely the media is all over it…right?


The cable news and newspaper like the Washington Post are too busy having conniptions over the fact that the underwear bombing got read Miranda rights, or going gaga over the new senator from Massachusetts.

The LA Times actually did mention it…but;

“the nomination became another example for the Obama administration of how the political process in Washington has been poisoned by politics that often have nothing to do with the merits.

Another words, Oh well Obama, this is how it is, just deal with it!

Now the cynic in me says these holds have nothing to do with the excuses these Senators are giving. Please, it’s not hard for any Senator to get the money they requested allocated, nor is it hard to get these projects built. The cynic in me sees these excuse as just excuses meant to cover up the real goal of the Republicans…to use every loophole given to the minority power in GOOD FAITH to create a dysfunctional government, and then blame the Democrats for the dysfunction and regain power that way.

The danger here is not merely in the idea that the GOP obstructionism will work, bringing them back into power…which is bad enough…but that when it happens, the Democrats will just do what the Republicans did to them and our future will nothing but partisan score-settling.

Now normally you’d think not all 41 Republicans would find what Shelby is going agreeable. After all where’s John McCain is his pork-busting persona? Surely he’d disagree with Shelby’s actions, holding up nominees for pork? Right? What about the Mavericks from Maine?

They’re quiet. Should they decide to do the right thing and vote against Shelby’s obstruction, they would be the deciding votes to break his old…but they’re not. Even THEY take the side of this crap.

How do you find common ground with these people?  


  1. I had to go all hither and yon to find out it was TPM that seemed to have the original story, and that the Mobile Press-Register had some interesting followup:

    In response to a question from the Press-Register, Reid spokeswoman Regan Lachapelle confirmed that Shelby has placed a “blanket hold” on most pending nominations.

    By placing a hold, a single senator can stop the Senate from voting on a particular nomination, often as a way of gaining leverage on an unrelated issue. It is not clear when Shelby placed the hold or how many nominees are affected. While individual holds are not unusual, Gary Jacobson, a congressional expert at the University of California at San Diego, said he knew of no previous use of a blanket hold.

    OK, so this guy has found a procedural loophole that is obviously legal but which nobody in Senate history every had the unblinking audacity to use.  This does, though, appear to be at most personal douchebaggery as opposed to systemic partisan douchebaggery because: a/ he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about GOP policy, since his goals are counter to it, and b/ it seems that some Republicans joined with Dems yesterday to overrule him (since there aren’t 60 Dem Senators) at least for two appointees:

    Holds can be overcome, but it takes 60 votes in the 100-member Senate. While tradition-bound senators are typically reluctant to take that step, they did so Thursday in voting to confirm nominees to the Labor Department and the General Services Administration.

    The entire supposition, though, that this particular act of  douchebaggery proves that every other person in his demographic (your assertion is that he represents 30-50% of the IS population) is a douchebag is flawed reasoning that achieves nearly “eugenics-level” falsehood.  I once knew a Democratic politician who was a complete selfish idiot (so that proves that you are one too), was once cheated by a Jew and another time I met a foolish woman (insert ongoing discriminatory justifications here)…

  2. creamer

    This guy was very vocal about leting the Big Three fail. In my rather jaded view of the old south I suspect that a fair number of his constituents support his actions.

    Harry Reid announced in past few days that they will ask for recess appointments if things don’t change, so it would seem that we are starting to make an adjustment.

     Huffington Post has a story about a bipartisan jobs bill in the Senate,(I would link it if I knew how)and I believe as a strategy going forward the Dems will reach out when possible, highlight the Republicans intransigence, and try to move forward without them where possible.

    I would suggest that the only way we get the GOP to play ball is by limiting their gains in November. If the perception is that they under achieved they might find their current strategy obsolete.  

  3. Kysen

    – Gibbs had tough words for Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) decision to place a blanket hold on presidential nominees in order to negotiate for projects in his home state. Gibbs called Shelby a “poster child of how this town needs to change the way it works” and left open the possibility that Obama could use recess appointments to circumvent the senator’s move, saying Obama would “certainly look at all his options.”


    Were a Democrat to have pulled this stunt at any point during the Bush years (those words will forever make me shudder) they would have been excoriated…called a traitor and lord knows what else. The squealing and gnashing of teeth on the Right side of the aisle would have been deafening. Reminds me of how using the filibuster during the Bush years (/sigh) was painted as unpatriotic…akin to treason…yet, the Republicans have now used it over 100 times during year one of the Obama presidency.

    I agree with DTO, here, there is no negotiating in good faith with the Republicans currently in office. I don’t think anyone has said that ALL Republicans are hypocritical, manipulative, bigoted douchebags….but, I will posit that there are VERY few exceptions currently in government at the National level.

  4. There are many on the right that love what Shelby is doing.

    obama and his party of NO-NO-ACCOUNTIBILTY DEMOCRATS are being brought to a grinding HALT!!!! THANK GOD.We can not stand more of the dysfuntional irresponsible action of the incompetent obama and his thugs.BY .Jake2 on 02/05/2010 at 12:41

    Beautiful Senator Shelby. Anything we can do to minimize the impact that this president will have upon our society is a good move. We only have 2 ½ years to go until we can vote this guy out. Just hold on until then Senator, and then we’ll see if we can elect a real president.BY Missourian on 02/05/2010 at 14:10

    Not only should these holds be placed upon Obama’s appointees,Cong ress should investigate the Czars the president has appointed to his staff who do not need senate approval. why in the name of good government is the democrat party kissing this guys ASS? Look who in on his friends list and you will see that Barack (Barry) to his college buddies.Obama is not USA friendly.BY The G-MAN on 02/05/2010 at 09:48

    This should have been done a year ago on principle.BY Wabash Cannonball on 02/05/2010 at 09:58

    Sort of reminds one of the resistance in Atlas Shrugged, which was sorely needed and overdue. Until comrade Hussein nominates other than progressive/communist and labor stooges, hold them all up. He and his communist clique are all but done.BY jgalt on 02/05/2010 at 09:58

  5. Updates From TPM Coverage Today:

    – Shelby confirmed the holds, and lashed out at Obama over the Alabama programs.

    – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office first doubted the story was true. Later, after Shelby confirmed it, McConnell’s office refused to talk about the holds.

    – White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called the Shelby holds “silliness” in this morning’s gaggle with reporters.

    – An interview Shelby gave to a TV station in Alabama earlier this week offers some more insight into why Shelby is holding up Obama’s nominees — he thinks the White House is biased against Alabama.

  6. Fox News web site – nada

    CNN web site – nada

    ABC News – nada

    CBS News – Yay! We have a winner!

    Here is a list of headlines on ABC News. I especially love the penis-straightening story.

    THREE MORE MONTHS: Americans in Haiti Wait

    Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig Settle Lawsuit

    Tired of Collection Agency Tactics, Indebted Consumers Fight Back

    Super Bowl Fans: Beware of Counterfeit Goods

    Hand Drug’s Promise for Penis-Straightening?

    ESPN: 13-Year-Old QB Commits to USC

    Michelle Obama on Obesity: Too Personal?

    MJ’s Doc Hires Death Drug Lawyer

    Mafia Hit Man Trades Corpses for Canvas

    Music Exec Raises Money to Bury Detroit’s Dead

    Here’s CNN’s idea of major news stories. The second part of that list is obviously filled with more important stories than Shelby’s antics.

    Latest news

       * Judge: Turn over sex tape

       * Puerto Rico puts military on crime patrol

       * NATO rescues ship captured by pirates

       * Ticker: Obama Bowl bash revealed

       * Missionaries’ case riddled with ‘lies’Video

       * Bill Clinton returns to oversee Haiti aid

       * Opinion: A sign of al Qaeda’s weakness

       * Questions haunt autism parents

       * Plane part falls in parking lot WFOR

       * Jon Stewart takes on Bill O’Reilly Video

       * Husband: Murphy didn’t seem sick

       * Last member of ancient tribe dies

       * Dog saves ownerVideo | 2nd hero pup Video

       * Facebook gives itself a birthday face-lift

       * 13-year-old gets scholarship  SI

       * Build your own bedbug detector  Ti

    And here is the lone mention of this story on CBS. Right after a story about Tiger Woods sex troubles and a story about the Crotch Bomber.

       * Snow Storm Bears Down on Weary East Coast

       * Jobless Rate Drops Unexpectedly to 9.7%

       * Toyota’s Chief Apologizes for Recalls

       * Tea Party Speech Slams “Cult of Multiculturalism”

       * Report: Tiger Woods Leaves Rehab with Elin

       * Shelby Holds Up Senate for Home State Pork

       * Xmas Day Bomber: Cleric Told Me to Bomb Plane

       * Is the U.S. Swine Flu Epidemic Over?

       * E-Mails Show Todd Palin’s Role in Alaska Business

       * Baptists’ Lawyer Seeks Provisional Release

       * Iraq Blast Kills Dozens of Shiite Pilgrims

       * More Headlines…

  7. That was snark, btw.

    Google news has nothing on its front page. It does, however, have “Mercedes stolen from Charlie Sheen’s garage.”, “Facebook Rolling Out Redesigned Home Page”, and, last, but not least, “Toyota Recall, Obama Budget: Week in Review”

    How the hell do they connect the Toyota recall with Obama’s budget? LOL

    Now for Yahoo News, maybe they’ll be better.

    Nope, but they do have these stories.

       *   Critics trash McDonald’s nationalist food bid   Fri Feb 5, 11:52 am ET

       * Ancient dialect extinct after last speaker dies Fri Feb 5, 11:48 am ET

       * Woman seeks “Jessica Alba” makeover to win back lover Thu Feb 4, 1:05 pm ET

       * Camel burger newest “healthy” option on Dubai menu Thu Feb 4, 1:04 pm ET

    and these in the Politics section. Notice the headline for the lead story. Completely wrong.

    Obama admits health care overhaul may die on Hill

    53 mins ago

       * NATO putting more optimistic face on Afghan war 21 mins ago

       * Where is “tea party” heading? Leaves are unclear Fri Feb 5, 3:13 pm ET

       * Ill. gov might want to run from his running mate 15 mins ago

       * Obama says unemployment drop “cause for hope” Fri Feb 5, 12:59 pm ET

  8. that found it’s way into my inbox:

    The Democrats should move swiftly to elevate Shelby, defining him as one of the leading voices of the Republican party. That shouldn’t be a hard sell; he’s the ranking member of the Banking Committee as well as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. President Obama should then address the issue directly, demanding that Sen. Shelby back down. He must refuse to give into Shelby’s demands, no matter the circumstances. And he should use the issue to define the dangers of Republican obstruction in a way that is easy for everyday Americans to understand.

    But he should do more than just that. President Obama should call out the Republican leadership, as well. A hold in the Senate only has real force because it is presumed to have the support of the minority party. Unless the GOP quickly denounces Shelby’s action, it will be fair to assume that every member of the Republican caucus supports it.

    The president couldn’t have asked for an easier fight to pick. Sen. Shelby is now the symbol of Republican obstruction. He is the symbol of the toxicity that has invaded the Senate and threatened the government’s ability to function.

    I agree.

    Get on it, Mr. President.

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