Friday, February 5, 2010

Keeping Appointments

By now, you've all read that Sen. Richard Shelby (R) of Alabama has taken the perhaps unprecedented step of placing holds on ALL of President Obama's nominees until he gets the money for a couple of big earmarked pork barrel projects he feels entitled to back in his home state. More blatant rethug obstructionism, but this time it's flat out extortion; "give me my earmarks, or I'll prevent you from governing". And it looks like Shelby can get away with this without consequences, as there's no democrat (as yet) running against him in November.

Which makes the prospect of recess appointments increasingly likely. Certainly, the shrub administration made numerous recess appointments of unqualified hacks and cronies. It's a politically odious maneuver, however, and not one that would be popular for Obama. The right wing noise machine (for whom hypocrisy is a virtue) would probably be calling for impeachment. But I'm not seeing any other option.

By now it's obvious that the media isn't going to hold Sen. Shelby accountable for such shameless manipulation, and I really doubt that it would resonate much with the voting public. It's 'too complex' and smacks of 'politics as usual' for our "serious pundits" to focus on. But it is important; attempting to destroy the government for political gain should be considered a crime against the American people. The country needs appointees doing their jobs, not gamesmanship. It's one thing for a Senator to hold up a nominee on a question of qualifications, quite another to put a blanket hold on all nominees.

And there's another major reason why appointments matter: ABC News is reporting that the White House is preparing to handle not one, but two possible retirements from the Supreme Court over the next few months. If Obama cannot get bureaucratic nominees confirmed, how much luck will he have with vastly more important Supreme Court nominees?

Maybe we should just hand the government back to the rethuglicans now, and sit back and watch the country collapse into ruins. I'm sure the benevolent corporations will keep some of us alive as indentured servants, or for entertainment as contestants on American Idol.

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