Gridlock games and presidential nominations

posted at 3:31 pm on May 12, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

After a period of time where it seemed like there weren’t going to be any Senate confirmations of President Obama’s nominations to fill various offices and positions, things seemed to ease up a bit over the winter. Our new Secretary of State sailed through confirmation with little more than a slight breeze in his face, and even the Secretary of Defense was dragged over the finish line after a rather rough scrum. But now the idea of confirmation battles is back in vogue.

President Barack Obama’s latest round of Cabinet-level nominees is running into deep resistance in the Senate, pitching Democrats and Republicans into another tense standoff over White House appointments.

Just days after Republicans used Senate rules to block two nominees in committee despite the fact that both have the support of a majority of senators, Democrats are planning to force committee votes without Republican consent.

If Democrats do push the nominees through to the full Senate, they would almost certainly set off a Republican filibuster, which would jeopardize the confirmations and, for now, leave vacancies at the top of two federal agencies.

The nominations in question include a couple of real doozies which certainly wouldn’t have been my choices, but then I wasn’t elected President last November. Thomas Perez for Labor just looks like another huge win for unions and an anchor on private business. Gina McCarthy actually has some supporters among Republicans, which puzzles me, but I’ve never expected anything but trouble coming from the EPA while any Democrat is in the White House, so there’s little to say there. And how Penny Pritzker’s name ever showed up on a short list for Commerce is a mystery, as her most compelling qualifications all seem to involve the amount of money she raised for Obama.

But with all that said, confirmations are something that have to happen in every administration. I’ve certainly been criticized here for saying it before, but Obama did win the election, and he’s only going to nominate people who reflect his views. If we want better nominees who agree with us, we need to do a better job of winning presidential elections.

The tactics being employed on both sides should be troubling in terms of what will happen in the future. Having all of the GOP members of a committee boycott a meeting to squelch a vote on a nominee can be viewed as little else than a straight abrogation of the duties you agreed to when you accepted a position on that committee. Having the Democrats craft a counter-strategy to arrange for votes without any representation from the other side is nearly as bad. And the latest tactic on display by the GOP – pulling a procedural maneuver to stop the adjournment of a session for no other reason than to prevent committees from even meeting – seems to be an indication that the rules system has failed us and the current structure is broken beyond usefulness.

And while nobody wants to be reminded of it, the shoe always winds up on the other foot. Yes, the Democrats started this when Bush was in office and they held more control in Congress, but the tit-for-tat is escalating. The day will come when there is a Republican in the White House again, and the Democrats will still hold a significant number of seats in both chambers. Will we still be having the same arguments then, with the only difference being which side is flying the obstructionist flag? It seems to me that maybe now is the time for both parties to agree to change the rules to get business done a bit more efficiently and just be prepared to accept that they will both be on the losing end of stick at various times in the future.


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Leave the positions empty. The less politicians the better, and you know dog muncher will only nominate communists anyway.

VegasRick on May 12, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Thomas Perez for Labor just looks like another huge win for unions and an anchor on private business.

Who has broken the law by using his private email account to conduct DOJ business in an effort to skirt public disclosure laws, among other things.

Resist We Much on May 12, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Using procedural rules to block nominees is bad governance and bad strategy.

myiq2xu on May 12, 2013 at 3:43 PM

We seem to be getting along without them. That might mean something.

a capella on May 12, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Having all of the GOP members of a committee boycott a meeting to squelch a vote on a nominee can be viewed as little else than a straight abrogation of the duties you agreed to when you accepted a position on that committee.

That’s as cheap as when Democrats fled Wisconsin to try stopping a vote on that state’s labor bill a few years ago.

The reason this sort of thing happens with nominations is because we have a bunch of career degenerates running the show. The degenerate Obama sends up the worst people — yes men — expecting his Democrat derelicts will rubber-stamp him. The derelict Republicans, instead of asking hard questions of the nominees, play baby games. Then decrepit RINOs like McCain vote with the Dems.

On the flip side, the Dems will fight any qualified Republican nominee because he won’t advance the liberal agenda. So even under a Republican president, the country is still left stymied.

It’s the lowest common denominator with these people, and the country pays.

Liam on May 12, 2013 at 3:49 PM

If a future GOP President nominates a person who lies to Congress, breaks the law and refuses Congressional subpoenas, then his nominations should be blocked too.

What’s the problem?

Curtiss on May 12, 2013 at 3:51 PM

The nominations in question include a couple of real doozies which certainly wouldn’t have been my choices, but then I wasn’t elected President last November

The question you need to ask yourself Jazz, is, “What would Harry Reid and the democrats do if this was a conservative nominee and George Bush was president?”

Judicial nominations anyone? How longer were Bush’s nominees filibustered, pilloried and lambasted until some of them just gave up?

“Advise and consent” doesn’t mean, “Whine and then capitulate because he is, after all, the president”. Remember,these are co-equal branches of government. If the enough members of the Senate believe that a nominee is too extreme, then blocking that nomination is what they are supposed to do. … and the Senate democrats would agree. …. if it wasn’t their guy in the White House.

/Nope, not going to criticize the republicans for actually showing some spine.

AZfederalist on May 12, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Pic of the Day: I Don’t THINK This Is Gonna End Well…

Resist We Much on May 12, 2013 at 3:58 PM

IOW: Business as usual.

davidk on May 12, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Pic of the Day: I Don’t THINK This Is Gonna End Well…

Resist We Much on May 12, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Too late! Every argument you ever made and every fact you post is now suspect. So are all things in the future.

Love,
The Liberal Grammar/Spelling/Typing Nazi Party (LGSTNP)

Liam on May 12, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Liam on May 12, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Chick claimed to be a lawyer the other day. :)

Snort.

Axe on May 12, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Pic of the Day: I Don’t THINK This Is Gonna End Well…

Resist We Much on May 12, 2013 at 3:58 PM

……future Democratic security counselor.

Rovin on May 12, 2013 at 4:10 PM

They need to let this rogue President do *nothing* short of resignation (and prison, if possible) at this point.

Midas on May 12, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Chick claimed to be a lawyer the other day. :)

Snort.

Axe on May 12, 2013 at 4:09 PM

After today’s MAJOR word omission, I’m not sure any more she’s British. :-P

Liam on May 12, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Snort, snort, snort.

Axe Don’t Need No Steekin’ Verbs

Resist We Much on May 12, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Will we still be having the same arguments then, with the only difference being which side is flying the obstructionist flag?

Judge Bork says yes.

No matter what R’s do now, it will happen.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on May 12, 2013 at 4:18 PM

/Nope, not going to criticize the republicans for actually showing some spine.

AZfederalist on May 12, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Me neither. This is no tea party. Our liberty is at stake.

petefrt on May 12, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Resist We Much on May 12, 2013 at 4:16 PM

lol

Midas on May 12, 2013 at 4:21 PM

After today’s MAJOR word omission, I’m not sure any more she’s British. :-P

Liam on May 12, 2013 at 4:13 PM

LOL! Excellent. — Well, “she”? — Let’s hope all the ground doesn’t give way, or I’m going to look like an idiot.

Resist We Much on May 12, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Midas on May 12, 2013 at 4:21 PM

OK people! Let’s try to stay on topic.

Axe on May 12, 2013 at 4:25 PM

OK people! Let’s try to stay on topic.

Axe on May 12, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Isn’t the topic giving RWM a hard time?

Liam on May 12, 2013 at 4:32 PM

I say…screw em…let them have a taste of their own medicine…playing footsies with liberals never works

crosshugger on May 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM

It seems to me that maybe now is the time for both parties to agree to change the rules to get business done a bit more efficiently and just be prepared to accept that they will both be on the losing end of stick at various times in the future.

Jazz “Pollyanna” Shaw. AKA, RINO.

Vince on May 12, 2013 at 5:10 PM

It seems to me that maybe now is the time for both parties to agree to change the rules to get business done a bit more efficiently and just be prepared to accept that they will both be on the losing end of stick at various times in the future.

Jazz “Pollyanna” Shaw. AKA, RINO.

Vince on May 12, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Reach across the aisles my friendzh, bipartisanship, compromise, blah-blah.

slickwillie2001 on May 12, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Advise AND Consent. Two words, Jazz, and both of them are equally important.

JimK on May 12, 2013 at 5:37 PM

There is only ONE person who has Media Bullhorn Privleges that is MORE worthless to the plight of hard-working Americans and do MORE to demonize those who acccept the burden of Doing The Right Thing than Jazz…..and THAT person ALSO posts on this blog.

Posts like this: Not Helping America or Liberty.

williamg on May 12, 2013 at 5:47 PM

If we want better nominees who agree with us, we need to do a better job of winning presidential elections

…well…what happened?

KOOLAID2 on May 12, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Give him nothing.
How do you compromise with evil?

bofh on May 12, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Resist and Repel. Fight the Democrats. Jazz, why do you work here? You seem to want to capitulate to them all of the time. You are simply a RINO.

Theophile on May 12, 2013 at 8:32 PM

As said before, the democrats in power would do worse and we need to put any kind of brakes that we can on our decent into a third world banana republic.

jukin3 on May 12, 2013 at 9:20 PM

I agree, blocking nominees for the sake of politics is not good.

Bork, Thomas, and Estrada quickly come to mind.

Oh, wait…

Wanderlust on May 12, 2013 at 11:37 PM

Resist and Repel. Fight the Democrats. Jazz, why do you work here? You seem to want to capitulate to them all of the time. You are simply a RINO.

Theophile on May 12, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Don’t think that Jazz is saying *not* to fight as much as he’s saying that the fight will change once the names have been swapped.

Unfortunately Jazz, you point out a very glaring Catch 22 here, the majority party won’t change the rules, and the minority party can’t. When the musical chairs song stops and the party switches places, it’ll be the same old problem…and frankly I don’t trust the electorate (at this time) to be willing to facilitate change for it either.

BlaxPac on May 13, 2013 at 2:10 AM

And how Penny Pritzker’s name ever showed up on a short list for Commerce is a mystery, as her most compelling qualifications all seem to involve the amount of money she raised for Obama.

It’s difficult to blame mere partisanship when Barack Obama can’t be bothered to even attempt good faith nominations. It seems fairly obvious that HE WANTS gridlock, and that he chooses his nominees in order to maximize the potential of getting it. Branding his political opponents as “obstructionist” would appear to be his higher priority.

Murf76 on May 13, 2013 at 6:36 AM

If we want better nominees who agree with us, we need to do a better job of winning presidential elections.

The GOPe – the party of DERP.

Myron Falwell on May 13, 2013 at 7:36 AM

and frankly I don’t trust the electorate (at this time) to be willing to facilitate change for it either.

BlaxPac on May 13, 2013 at 2:10 AM

After voting in the Dog Eater TWICE I don’t trust the electorate, period.

HiJack on May 13, 2013 at 7:43 AM

Breaking Gridlock

Why don’t we give Van Jones a shot at EPA?

I know a candidate for EPA chief. He is young and has a wife and three kids. The last one they brought home and were just calling it “baby” as a nickname. It is a girl!

I started calling his other two kids “Drill” and “drill” With the smaller one getting the small “d”.

Anyway, Van is a former streetfighter from Oakland, California or I heard that, anyway.

We could have a Mixed Martial Arts fight between Van and my harmless little family man and conservative.

Think of the distraction this fight could be if we had a sluggish economy, scandals or lousy TV ratings for the warm months.

Given projections on future US electorate choices, I am working on this idea to settle all our future elections, too.

IlikedAUH2O on May 13, 2013 at 10:22 AM

While, from a point of view of respect for the institutions of our government, I can sympathize with Jazz’ desire to see things done “decently and in order”, I cannot in good conscience join his team on this topic.

When this administration, and the extreme Left components of the Legislature, refuse to even pretend to conscientious representation of the American people, and adherence to the Constitution, then it becomes the duty, by whatever means effective, for the dissenting patriots to act in opposition to those un-Constitutional and un-American goals and objectives.

The most easily defined ground for application of this conflict is the consideration of Executive nominations.

It is now incumbent upon all those in service in the nation’s Legislature, to bring every force to bear to uncover the tiniest speck of dirt residing in the closets of every nominee brought forth for the remainder of this administration. Let every nomination stagnate while intensive, public, detailed probing of personal lives seeks to ensure that all past history of misbehaviors on the part of the nominees is uncovered, for the sake of the nation’s welfare.

If they want to win the Chicago way, then it’s past time they suffer victory in the Chicago way.

Freelancer on May 13, 2013 at 11:57 AM

The day will come when there is a Republican in the White House again,

I wonder if this will happen give that the GOP will continue to nominate the most “electable” candidate…like Romney.

iwasbornwithit on May 13, 2013 at 12:35 PM