Shelby places blanket hold on Obama nominees

posted at 12:16 pm on February 5, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Senator Richard Shelby has placed a rare “blanket hold” on all nominations from Barack Obama, according to reports from both The Hill and Talking Points Memo.  Until he lifts the hold, none of these nominations can proceed to a floor vote for confirmation.  While some may initially believe this to be a good strategy for fighting what have appeared to be selections of hard-Left appointments, a spokesman for Shelby makes clear that the Senator is most interested in protecting pork (h/t HA reader Patrick):

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on Thursday placed a blanket hold on all of President Barack Obama’s nominees before the Senate, according to his spokesman.

Shelby’s holds mean that the Senate cannot vote on a nominee unless the hold is broken using a cloture vote that requires 60 senators or if the senator lifts the hold. …

The Defense department “must recognize” that the tanker deal “needs to be significantly and substantively changed,” Shelby spokesman Jonathan Graffeo said in a statement. …

Shelby is also not happy with the Obama administration’s decision to hold back funding for an FBI facility in Alabama dedicated to research on explosives used by terrorists.

“If this administration were as worried about hunting down terrorists as it is about the confirmation of low-level political nominations, America would be a safer place,” Graffeo said.

The tanker deal refers to the aborted bid process for the refueling tankers that had initially gone to Northrop Grumman, which would have assembled the planes in Alabama.  The GAO ruled in June 2008 that the Pentagon had unfairly burdened Boeing in favor of Northrop and pressured the Air Force into starting the bid process over again.  That dispute had little to do with the Obama administration, and the same leadership at the Pentagon was in place at the time of the GAO decision.  It makes little sense to obstruct Obama for a decision made in the Bush administration.

Shelby may have more of a point about the FBI funding, but it’s not clear from either report that Obama has stopped the research or just moved it to another FBI facility outside of Alabama.  Since Shelby’s office made it a secondary issue to the tanker bid, one has to assume that Shelby’s a lot more concerned about the location than about national security research.  If Obama stopped the research altogether, that should have been the Senator’s highest priority.

The hold process is perfectly legitimate in stopping a bad candidate from immediate confirmation.  It isn’t at all legitimate to hold up every single appointment to demand more pork for one’s state, or favorable bid decisions, or any other gimme impulse.  Regardless of who is President, the elected executive is entitled to appoint people who want to implement his policies, and the Senate should usually give the nominees the courtesy of a floor vote, especially on political posts within the executive branch, with the noted exceptions for questions of incompetence, inexperience, or corruption.  Otherwise, a hold should focus on a specific policy point associated with the nomination or on a critical issue of national security.

Let’s not forget that we have criticized Obama for being so slow to fill these positions.  We can hardly complain about that while Republicans obstruct those appointments to gain more leverage on pork.  And once again, we see how pork-barrel politics winds up distorting the political process and making government less efficient.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

It’s called reciprocity. Look it up. Until they are suject to the same tactics they use against the Right, nothing will change and while people like Ed might have no problem being used as a punching bag by an unaccountable out-of-control government, I’ve had enough of it. Time to stop this crazy train.

TheBigOldDog on February 5, 2010 at 2:16 PM

This sort of political games-playing is the crap that cost the Republicans big in 2006 and their almost literal decimation in 2008, and it’s the sort of crap that is already costing the Democrats in 2010.

Let’s hope that the coming purge is bi-partisan, and that those who survive it learn its lessons.

notropis on February 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM

I guess you missed the fact that Democrats did this for the entire Bush administration which lead to the whole idea of the “nuclear option.” It cost them didn’t it…oh wait, never mind.

TheBigOldDog on February 5, 2010 at 2:20 PM

To Funky and all wannabe Mirage pilots….
Real bright…lets teach evil Boeing a lesson at the expense of national security and good jobs!!!! The Northrop-Grumman bid is still AIRBUS, dressed up to look like an American product…. get it…EU/FRENCH…..tax dollars and jobs to Europe (we get to paint them…wicked awesome). Lets do the math, with no more F22′s, NASA manned flight programs and the F35 program teetering on the brink any hope of maintaining our lead in aerospace manufacturing capability = 0. Lets send more jobs offshore, you’d make a great community organizer.

dmann on February 5, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Airbus sends a private message @ 1:13 of the clip to all Americans favoring the EADS bid, listen and learn!

dmann on February 5, 2010 at 2:43 PM

The way most Democrat judges rule on cases like terrorists and Constitutional issues; I say block all of them and I could care less how they go about doing it. I pray to God the Republicans block every single thing these Fascists are doing now, and plan to do. I like them being the party of “NO!” I have yet to see something the Dems have proposed that would be a good thing, or that they will sincerely enact. How can you build nuclear power plants when you just shut down a nuclear waste facility?

freeus on February 5, 2010 at 2:46 PM

noted exceptions for questions of incompetence, inexperience, or corruption.

Your exceptions are duly noted. Now refresh my memory please. Exactly which of Obama’s appointments did not qualify on at least one of the three selection criteria as stated? I.E. Incompetence (notice the capital I), Inexperience, or the funniest one of all Corruption.
(That starts with C and stands for Chicago doncha know.)

Blacksmith8 on February 5, 2010 at 3:00 PM

I doubt they’ll find it hard to find 60 votes.

GarandFan on February 5, 2010 at 3:10 PM

dmann on February 5, 2010 at 2:26 PM

dmann, are you aware of how much foreign content is in the Dreamliner? IIRC, over 70% of that aircraft’s components are manufactured outside the US.

Not that I want to see Airbus get a contract over Boeing (I used to work for Boeing rotorcraft), but the blanket bellyaching over this issue because of one company being headquartered outside the US ignores the fact that in either case, tankers were going to require assembly factories located on US soil, employing US aerospace workers.

As Ed mentioned, though, GAO stomped the bidding process last time around because the USAF screwed it up. Nate Hale at Formerspook is a retired USAF captain and intel guy, who has a lot of contacts in the Air Force. His blog has much to say about that and other recent USAF screwups. Between procurement, JAG, and nuclear weapons handling blunders, USAF is the gang that can’t shoot straight these days.

Your comment about “we get to paint them” is a gross oversimplification and is simply wrong. Also, don’t forget that EADS had partnered with Lockheed Martin in its bid.

Finally, although many have complained about McCain’s treatment of Boeing generally, he was right to put his foot down over the 767 lease “deal” originally pitched in early 2002. That deal was nothing more than corporate welfare so that Boeing could keep its aging 767 plant open while violating USAF procurement rules (the leasing bit).

Next time, perhaps you could be a bit more specific when you take a particular position on things?

Wanderlust on February 5, 2010 at 3:13 PM

It’s in their genes.
Remember, Shelby originally campaigned and was elected
as a Democrat. He switched to Republican after the
GOP won the majority in the ‘purge’ of 1994.
(Make of THAT what you will)
If he is holding things up for his own personal pork,
it’s to be expected.
It’s a genetic liberal thing.

mrt721 on February 5, 2010 at 3:14 PM

Airbus sends a private message @ 1:13 of the clip to all Americans favoring the EADS bid, listen and learn!

dmann on February 5, 2010 at 2:43 PM

He said the R word!!

Maquis on February 5, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Ed, your readers are not interested in balance. More slams on Obama and the Democrats please.

Grow Fins on February 5, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Ah, Finny! First drywall then you. Good to have ya, p*ssybreath.

Your posts are teh funny, Finny, because you never have any concrete logical position to discuss or defend. As Ace and Gary might say, Keep ‘em comin’ :)

Wanderlust on February 5, 2010 at 3:18 PM

There’s arguments for both manufacturers, but charlatans like Shelby will ensure the tankers never get built.

He also gets country-destroying bonus points for painting the GOP as porkish obstructionists.

Maquis on February 5, 2010 at 3:20 PM

Ed, your readers are not interested in balance. More slams on Obama and the Democrats please.

Grow Fins on February 5, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Too easy… like shooting fish in a barrel.

As to Shelby… as one who lived in AL… he’s no Jeff Sessions. He’s an ex-Dem with a very moderate ACU rating. We never trusted him like we trusted Sessions.

mankai on February 5, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Remember, Obama said, he’s keeping score. Alabama went for McCain; Washington for Obama. Shelby is fighting for his constituents with whatever means he has available.

erp on February 5, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Shelby is fighting for his constituents with whatever means he has available.

erp on February 5, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Which means apparently do not encompass integrity.

Maquis on February 5, 2010 at 3:33 PM

I’m no fan of Barry Hussein Alinsky or his nominees, but people like Shelby don’t seem to realize or care that these Ben Nelson-like antics is part of the reason that the Republicans got their scrotums handed to them in 2006 and 2008. The GOP is giving away its natural advantage on spending and corruption if it allows porkmeisters a la Trent Lott to become its public face. I hope Shelby’s constituents let him know this.

Travis Bickle on February 5, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Travis Bickle, I agree. Problem is that Shelby is only accountable to Alabama and this will play well there. They won’t give a tinker’s dam about how this precedent will be meted out against every GOP POTUS to come. Way to go Shelby, there may never be another conservative judge voted up or down in the Senate in our lifetime.

Mark30339 on February 5, 2010 at 5:50 PM

We can hardly complain about that while Republicans obstruct those appointments to gain more leverage on pork.

Whoa, there. We sure as hell CAN.
A lot of us are sick of this crap from any politician. These criminals in suits need to understand that stealing money from one part of the country to pork up his pals back home ain’t gonna cut it any more.

n0doz on February 5, 2010 at 7:03 PM

Way to go Shelby, there may never be another conservative judge voted up or down in the Senate in our lifetime.

Mark30339 on February 5, 2010 at 5:50 PM

You have that backa$$wards. You would be more correct to say there may never be another liberal judge voted up or down in the Senate in our lifetime.
Just the ones that have already been put on a bench are scary enough.
Today’s definition of cloture: Never having to say your sorry.
If Dingy Harry thinks he’s got the votes for cloture, BRING IT ON!
11/2/2010 followed by 1/20/2011 means the new freshman REPUBLICAN congress can do and say as they please without this insipid crap out of the left that we’ve been hearing for over a year. The dhimmicraps will say whatever they want anyway. My reply will be:
The conservatives are coming.
The conservatives are coming.
 
FREEDOM!

Blacksmith8 on February 5, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Proof rthat DEMS and REPUBS are freakin’ crooked tools!

jwp1964 on February 6, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Comment pages: 1 2