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Shelby to the U.S.: hold everything!

Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby has found a way to resurrect New Gingrich’s 1995 attempt to close down the federal government. He has placed a hold on all 70 pending nominations that President Obama has sent up to the Senate for confirmation.

A hold is one of those wondrous devices that enables individual senators to screw up the workings of government unless they get their way on a project that’s dear to them. In this case, Shelby is upset that the Pentagon isn’t convinced that a bid from Northrop-Grumman, a longtime Shelby campaign contributor, to build Air Force refueling tankers is the best offer it's received. If Northrop-Grumman got the contract, the company would probably hire up to 1,000 of Shelby’s fellow Alabamians in a shiny new tanker-building factory.

Since the Pentagon isn’t convinced, Shelby has decided to show them a thing or two. By putting a hold on a presidential nominee, a senator compels the Senate to drop its other business and devote four days of debate to the nominee’s confirmation, at which time it requires a 60-vote supermajority to ratify the nomination. Now, for the first time ever -- or at least in the memory of Senate historians -- a hold has now been placed on all of a president’s nominees.

Shelby’s ploy is simply the logical continuation of the Republicans’ legislative strategy, which is to obstruct every act, large or small, consequential or trivial, of the Obama administration and its Democratic legislative colleagues. This commitment to opposition transcends such ephemera as longtime Republican principles. Shelby, for instance, hails from a party that has yowled against earmarks for many years, yet it is precisely an earmark that he seeks for his home state. As yet, however, not one of his Republican colleagues has called him out for flouting Republican principles -- perhaps because the only principle to which the GOP currently adheres is to show that Obama and the Democrats are incapable of doing anything.

But, in fact, Obama and the Democrats can do something.

In particular, Obama can do what every one of his recent predecessors has done when their nominees have not been confirmed in the Senate -- appoint them for an abbreviated term (good until the next Senate is convened in 2011) when the Senate stands in recess (as it next will over the President’s Day weekend). This procedure, called recess appointment, has been used relatively sparingly in the past because senators were relatively sparing in putting holds on nominees. But if the new normal in the Senate is the omnibus hold, the new normal in the White House should become the omnibus recess appointment.

Ironically, perhaps, the effect of such omnibusism would be to circumvent, legally, the constitution’s conferring of advise-and-consent powers to the Senate on the president’s nominees. But in its current state, the Senate -- its Republican minority more particularly -- neither advises nor consents. It simply obstructs, requiring the rest of the government to go around it if we’re to have a government at all.

By Harold Meyerson  | February 5, 2010; 4:50 PM ET
Categories:  Meyerson  | Tags:  Harold Meyerson  
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Comments

Okay, Barry -- It's time to kick butt. Appoint all 70, and make it 71 with Michael Moore as Director of White House film making. You too, Barry, have middle fingers on both hands.

Posted by: yankeedam | February 5, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Harold.... Thats not the whole real story, and you know it. You Know the Air Force Refueling tanker contract, of $35 Billion, will add about 40,000 jobs. And The Low bid was blocked by a Conrgres man from Boeing. And the Air Force is happy with that Low Bid and Needs the AirCraft.

Posted by: musstag | February 5, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Its not a hold up its a stick up.
Shelby has done everything he can to destroy the President and now he wants federal pork in Alabama? It will be a cold day in hell....

Posted by: orange3 | February 5, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Well Dayum Harold. Those mean-good-ole-bad-boyz from Alabama!! (Shelby is from Tuscaloosa...you know the town? think Bear Bryant; better yet think Justice Hugo Black).

You got the whole story Harold? I mean, can I trust you...can I trust you to be telling the whole truth? I think I can...but then again you are such a IDEOLOGUE. I mean, Ideologues don't lie for political purposes do they?

Oh yes you are also a MSM "journalist." They don't lie do they? For political reasons, do they? I mean they haven't done so since..well since before the Vietnam War have they?

Posted by: wjc1va | February 5, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I for one am sick of the Rethuglicans and their "party of no" mentality. I hope the rest of the country sees these creatures for what they are. Morally corrupt gangsters who are nothing more than fecal matter in a shiny wrapper. They would rather bring this country down than no have their way.

Posted by: Desert_Fox | February 6, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Shelby parrots the GOP talking point that the stimulus package didn't create any jobs. Ironic, isn't it.

Posted by: angelas1 | February 6, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Recess appointments, YES!!!

Tell Shelby to jump in the Gulf.

But that would be polluting...

Posted by: cosmiccanine | February 6, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

That's not the whole story either, of course. Northrop is the junior partner in the bid, the real clout is AirBus. AirBus, as everyone knows, is French - didn't a lot of you just get through squalling that the French would sell their mothers to make a buck, when the story broke a couple of days ago that the French were going to sell an Amphibious Carrier to Russia? But it'd be OK for those mother-pimping frogs to build America's next generation of airborne tankers, while Boeing (as American as Mom and apple pie) idled line workers? It certainly seems OK with Shelby.

Then again, Shelby voted against the auto bailout for the Big Three, too, squealing that the wasteful expense would bring the country to its knees. I guess the $700 Million+ received by Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai in taxpayer giveaways in Shelby's state was altogether different. It was, actually - the foreign companies don't have to pay that money back, while the Big Three companies who took taxpayer money do have to pay it back.

Posted by: marknesop | February 6, 2010 1:05 AM | Report abuse

There are some of major points in this current mess. One is that the blocking of appointees was screamed about by the Republicans for years when their guy was in power. No one has ever put a blanket block on all appointees before. That does not bode well for the future. Remember that in these days of partisan politics especially, you reap what you sow. Secondly, Surprise that the conflict is over earmarks! The same debt, deficit complaints of four days ago in the current budget by the Republicans and their continual compalints about earmarks are only valid until it is one of theirs. The earmarks come out of the same budget that they just complained mightly about as if their earmarks don't add to the debt and deficit!!
Lastly is the Gruman versus Boeing bids for the contract. The senator from Alabama is in Gruman's pocket. Why don't people ever demand to see full disclosure of which corporate entities each and every one of these "public officals" are doing deals with? Republicans and Democrats alike. It appears as if transparency is only good for the other guy. Lobbying has been the cause of so much political damage in our nation's history (look at the 1880s and 1890s) and the SC just opened the flood gates for new excesses.
Shelby's hold is simply the beginning of a new phase in the perpetual political warfare that is Washington.

Posted by: Thinking4 | February 6, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Charles Barkley was right. AL and MS ranked 49 and 50th in everything!

Everything that is except self-serving pols.

The President needs to start calling these folks out, by name. I can;t wait to hear them try and defend their actions.

Posted by: tradervic1313 | February 6, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse

How ironic that Shelby the republican is demanding welfare for his state in the form of a bloated (NOT fiscally conservative) contract that the Pentagon isn't even on board with (so much for listening to the commanders on the ground).
I expect nothing less from a stinking republican.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | February 6, 2010 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Shelby's narrow-minded actions seem out of the Middle Ages, when aristocrats ruled most governments. The Senate is inherently undemocratic and always will be. So much for any pretense of "democracy."

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | February 6, 2010 2:19 AM | Report abuse

With 2 wars still going and warnings that terrorist will definitely attack this country, an economy that is in ruins because of their policies. When does what the republicans are doing become treason? If the president is continually distracted from all of this obstruction, when is it OK to call all these Republican Senators terrorists and ship them to Gitmo. Using the very legislation they wrote. Now that's irony!

Posted by: lightfoot767 | February 6, 2010 2:22 AM | Report abuse


That's right, throw Shelby under the omnibus . . .

Posted by: kenhyde | February 6, 2010 3:20 AM | Report abuse

I believe President Obama is way beyond the time of being civil with the Republicans in Congress. Presidential appointments and signing statements may be the only way to go for the time being. Once progress starts being made it may break the strong hold the Republican leadership has and some members of the Republican side may join the Democrats and actually begin to govern instead of merely obstructing.

Posted by: Beaplum | February 6, 2010 3:39 AM | Report abuse

The Senate Democrats had a 60 vote super majority, did not need the Republicans, and what did they do? They squandered it with infighting. They were cocksure they would win that Massachusetts seat. At any rate, they and Meyerson are now blaming somebody else for their squandered opportunities.

Posted by: hz9604 | February 6, 2010 3:50 AM | Report abuse

Shelby is absolutely right. Leftists have never been right about anything. Ever.

Posted by: wewintheylose | February 6, 2010 4:24 AM | Report abuse

Why is anyone surprised? The GOP is not interested in governence, only control. And when you consider the array of uneducated, gun toting, bible thumping, anti-intellectual, anti-science, racist lunatics to run and populate the party-----this is just another step in their de-evolution.

What many of these poor souls in the GOP rank and file don't realize is that they are being conned by the wealthy interests in the party. These so called "Tea Party" movements are not spontaneous and organic events--they are carefully coordinated "astro turf" events conjured up by front groups for large corporate interests--gas and oil, wall street and others who are the "real" Republican party base.

Posted by: mlipsius | February 6, 2010 6:11 AM | Report abuse

No arguments. 70 recess appointments.

Posted by: James10 | February 6, 2010 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
06 February 2010

The Founding Fathers, wise and foresighted men that they were, could never have imagined that one Senator in a body of 100 Members could ever succeed in completely thwarting that body from doing the nation's business.

The fact that Republican Senator Richard Shelby is able to do just this puts in very sharp relief one very serious defect of the U.S. Constitution.

What Senator Shelby is able to do is tyranny pure and simple. And it is the tyranny of One!

"Defensor tyrannus!"

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | February 6, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Shelby has to know that he just guaranteed that Northrop-Grummann can't win the contract. If the Pentagon were to award the contract to NG now, it's guaranteed the award will be challenged and into the Courts it will go. The award will be rescinded.

Posted by: James10 | February 6, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

What Mr. Myerson forgets to mention is that, not only, does Shelby favors the bid from one of his largest contributor -- Northrop -- but that it is a joint bid with a French company -- EADS -- (as opposed to Bpeing which is 100% American). The Pentagon, and the Pentagon alone, should decide what is the best bid for their project.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | February 6, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

The debate over building a new tanker has been a soap opera. While Senator Shelby is clearly one part of the story, the inability of this nation to sort this mess out over a decade says something a great deal more. The simple truth is that our political system and our governmental system are broken. This was true under Clinton, Bush, and now Obama. People complain when they do not like something or do not get what they want and so forth, but do not recognize that the system is broken. Maybe just maybe if enough incumbants lose in November and 2012, our political leaders will do something, but I doubt it.

Posted by: jeffreed | February 6, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Yes - make the recess appointments, quit kow towing to the thugs.

And while you're at it, do an executive order for everyone rejected by an insurance company to be covered on Medicare, and expand medicaid for all who cannot afford insurance. We already HAVE a public option, so use it.

Finally, let the American public see the republicans filibuster. They can't speak five minutes without lying, putting their foot in their mouths, or making outrageous statements, like gays should be treated like druggies...

Let the American people see what the republican party has been reduced to...

Posted by: dutchess2 | February 6, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Yes - make the recess appointments, quit kow towing to the thugs.

And while you're at it, do an executive order for everyone rejected by an insurance company to be covered on Medicare, and expand medicaid for all who cannot afford insurance. We already HAVE a public option, so use it.

Finally, let the American public see the republicans filibuster. They can't speak five minutes without lying, putting their foot in their mouths, or making outrageous statements, like gays should be treated like druggies...

Let the American people see what the republican party has been reduced to...

Posted by: dutchess2 | February 6, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

"NO!" is no help to a country that needs a functioning government. It seems sad to abandon healthy Senatorial debate about important appointees. Now the process will consist merely of the current President appointing whatever cronies s/he wishes, without Senatorial input. The only way this government can function is with 60 good Senators. Failing that, we need 60 Democrats. It ain't the same thing.

Posted by: frodot | February 6, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Just a little correction. EADS is not a "French" company - at least not totally. It's a British-French-, and now to a lesser degree, German-Spanish consortium.

I know it's very fashionable to use the words "French" and "France" to discredit people but it's not valid in this case.

Posted by: wanker33 | February 6, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Obama should declare Shelby a terrorist and ship him off to Gitmo.

Posted by: yatest | February 6, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Here with go with yet another Republican abomination and abuse of power. How is it possible that the minority party is being allowed to hold this country hostage on so many levels? What's up with that? They need to be named and shamed, but unfortunately our news media is worthless, and the Democrats are too spineless. When will Obama's patience finally give out? I keep wondering if he's giving them some latitude in the hopes they will be exposed for the obstructionist they are. In other words, if he gives them enough rope, maybe they'll hang themselves. We can only hope.

Posted by: ggwalt | February 6, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

The Senate Democrats had a 60 vote super majority, did not need the Republicans, and what did they do? They squandered it with infighting. They were cocksure they would win that Massachusetts seat. At any rate, they and Meyerson are now blaming somebody else for their squandered opportunities.

Posted by: hz9604
-----
Actually the Democrats never had true majority because Lieberman is an independent but caucus with the Democrats and Arlen Spector switched from Reps to Dems.

Posted by: beeker25 | February 6, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

The Senate Democrats had a 60 vote super majority, did not need the Republicans, and what did they do? They squandered it with infighting. They were cocksure they would win that Massachusetts seat. At any rate, they and Meyerson are now blaming somebody else for their squandered opportunities.

Posted by: hz9604
-----
Actually the Democrats never had true majority because Lieberman is an independent but caucus with the Democrats and Arlen Spector switched from Reps to Dems.

Posted by: beeker25 | February 6, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I wish that Shelby and other Republicans would wake up and realize the danger such bad publicity heaps on the GOP. Clean up your act boys, or no matter how "red" you are it's going to be curtains in 2010/12

Posted by: SUBLIMEWOODY | February 6, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I wish that Shelby and other Republicans would wake up and realize the danger such bad publicity heaps on the GOP. Clean up your act boys, or no matter how "red" you are it's going to be curtains in 2010/12

Posted by: SUBLIMEWOODY | February 6, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if the people of Alabama realize just how much damage their two Senators: Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions do to the image of the state and its citizens.

It is one thing to be conservative and another to be Republican. But where does neanderthal fit into the picture?

Posted by: bobfbell | February 6, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I wish that Shelby and other Republicans would wake up and realize the danger such bad publicity heaps on the GOP. Clean up your act boys, or no matter how "red" you are it's going to be curtains in 2010/12

Posted by: SUBLIMEWOODY | February 6, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I wish that Shelby and other Republicans would wake up and realize the danger such bad publicity heaps on the GOP. Clean up your act boys, or no matter how "red" you are it's going to be curtains in 2010/12

Posted by: SUBLIMEWOODY | February 6, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Put a hold on the annual socialized farm welfare bill. Force Shelby to choose between protecting Alabama's collectivist farmers and stabbing the troops in the back.

Posted by: Garak | February 6, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Gopers, fiscal conservative Shelby thinks the government makes jobs.

Talk about socialism.

Talk about a party that lies to teabaggers.

Posted by: lichtme | February 6, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Shelby's behavior is wrong. What price will the country pay?

Posted by: yalemo | February 6, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

While I still support the president, my anger at him is growing. Glowing speeches to the public may fool Democratic ideologues, but this American is also pragmatic weighing what has been done. His recent change in foreign policy, removing the olive branch showing the clenched fist must be applied to the domestic agenda. Time for him to become a leader, not a bleeder with excuses for his failures. Of course everyone wants a good congress working together toward a more perfect union, but reality tells me expecting it from both sides has failed miserably with both at fault. Reid has been not only inept, but has sandbagged you on healthcare with a tanning salon tax (racist not revenue), no public option, no senate rule changes excusing the givebacks that turned public opinion of the House bill from 57% approval in Dec. to under 40% today. A change to McCaskill, a fighter that would take no prisoners, seems appropriate with a centrist approach embracing good GOP ideas (tort reform, reimport of drugs) while shutting out the GOP from the process, getting things done. You won't have much pork in bills with her at the helm. Pelosi has been marginally better, but also needs to be taken to the woodshed taking far to long to pass regulatory reform, pay-go, Glass-Steagal, tax law changes, pork excising, and the abusive Guam min. wage waivers enriching her husbands business. Don't worry about enemies of your own party in congress nor the GOP trying to make you ineffective, people's lives getting better throws these bums out come elections. Blankenfeld may have taken only 8 million in stock, but this American knows it could have been 100 billion due to Bernanke/Geithner taking the big bank side, while small business and regional banks continue to fail severely slowing our nations recovery. They won't force banks to lend, to continue credit card abuses, holding banks that want to make loans to approved creditors to capital reserve standards making it impossible is what has been happening. More stagnation by Bernanke/Geithner policies, have their resignations on your desk. Recess appointments are not enough, America is going down the tubes, and when medicare/medicaid fails, so will our economy and medical delivery system. Become the leader America voted into office, what Colin Powell called an exceptional transformational president.

Posted by: jameschirico | February 6, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

We're so proud of our senior senator from Alabama. He personifies putting country first. He has never benefitted from lobbyists, and his $10million war chest for re-election is solely the result of his real estate investments in Tuscaloosa. He has been a champion of equality issues, always voting for a raise in minimum wages, and just this year voting proudly for the bill named for fellow Alabamian, Lily Lebetter. Wow, he is one great guy, isn't he. I hope he chokes on his pork.

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Posted by: sterutrhytietywertyty | February 6, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I would suggest that a hold be placed on all of Senator Shelby's military academy nominations until he releases his hold on all of President Obama's nominations.

Posted by: cogito1 | February 6, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Impeach Shelby, and start a constitutional amendment to abolish the US Senate.

Posted by: paulnolan97 | February 6, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

While I am happy for Alabama and its citizens I think its a little hypocritical for them to fault Obama and others when its their Senator putting the good of the nation on hold for his own state. Although many may think that this is the way politics should work the outcome will only harm all of us in the long term. If every politicians decides to shut government down if they don't get what they want we can close the capital doors and all go huddle in our communities wondering what Al Queda will do next or where to send our kids to school.

Posted by: tryreason | February 6, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

It's so exasperating that a low-rent senator from a third-rate debtor state like Alabama can wreak such havoc. Founding fathers were lacking some form of foresight when they took a bicameral approach and established the Senate as a house of lords. Wyoming, for example, with half the population of Fairfax County should have a congressman and two senators? We're drowning in Repuglican oppression from flyover country.

Posted by: polarbear3 | February 6, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Washington was immobilized by snow on Friday. This is highly unusual. Normally, Washington is immobilized by Republican senators.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 6, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The republicans are like arsonists. And it's so much easier to burn a building down than to put one up.

Posted by: Keesvan | February 6, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

jameschirico

I am concerned about folks that can deal with the problem, but not its cause. I don't see a single honest admission that Mr. Shelby voted for every nuance George W. Bush made, from two wars to a huge drug benefit for seniors, and tax cuts to the wealthy that were not paid for.

I don't see any republican ever stand up and admit they spent like drunken sailors and put this Nation in deep debt...

And I, for one, have no patience with those that wanted the mess cleaned up yesterday, and today are all upsot...

Me thinks you doth protest too much about the wrong thing.

Posted by: dutchess2 | February 6, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Senators Shelby and Chambliss are "fiscal conservatives,"

socialists who rob America so Alabama can live on government support:

**Alabama taxpayers receive more federal funding per dollar of federal taxes paid compared to the average state. Per dollar of federal tax collected in 2005, Alabama citizens received approximately $1.66 in the way of federal spending. This ranks the state 7th highest nationally and represents a rise from 1995 when Alabama received $1.33 per dollar of taxes in federal spending (ranked 9th nationally). Neighboring states and the amount of federal spending they received per dollar of federal taxes paid were: Tennessee ($1.27), Georgia ($1.01), Florida ($.97) and Mississippi ($2.02). **

http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/topic/10.html

Posted by: lichtme | February 6, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Yup - it is time for recess appointments, signings, executive orders...

I figured Shelby was a pig at the federal trough for Arkansas while screaming fiscal conservative social conservative and whatever conservative he wants to holler about on any given day.

Hypocrite takes on a new meaning when applied to Senator Shelby

Posted by: pperlo | February 6, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

A blanket hold is a pretty extreme measure and I would hope Shelby -- who has been around Washington for many years and understands the implications of his action -- would not use that tactic just on a whim. There has to be more to this than just two projects for AL and the talking points from the spin masters.

Just out of curiosity, checked the Congressional reports and found nothing that directs the terrorist explosives center to be in AL; nor does the listing of requests for funding show anything for Shelby and the terrorist explosives center. Did find that Congress started funding for the center during the Bush administration. And, last year, Shelby blasted the FBI for the backlog of IEDs that had not been processed for fingerprints and intelligence.

Isn't it strange that the White House cuts funding for an explosives analysis center right after the Christmas bombing attempt and after the Administration's own national intelligence heads warn to expect another terrorist attempt within the next six months? Maybe the White House should be asked to explain that and not confuse or hide their action behind talking points on pork projects. Who made the decision for that cut? And, why?

Regardless, a blanket hold is inexcusable and an abuse . . . even if there is a legitimate motive/reason behind it. For that, Shelby should be taken to task; but don't confuse the use of the hold with the reasons for it.

Posted by: intheshadows | February 6, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Recess appointment sounds like a good idea. If the body designed to advise and consent won't, then to the hot place with 'em.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | February 6, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Shelby,
You are a dich. Thanks for making it so blatantly clear.

Posted by: ripper368 | February 6, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Musstag got the facts wrong. The DOD IG investigated and found that not only was the bid rigged in EADS/Lockheeds favor by giving Boeing flawed data to bid on; the Airbus that EADS was to deliver could not meet the flight and payload requirements to provide tanker support. They got caught before the taxpayers got stuck with the bill for an airplane that would have been worthless.

Posted by: cf6driver | February 6, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Desert Fox: Great comment.I can't understand why any sane person doesn't know that the republican's are to blame for the shape our country is in. Ronald Reagan started robbing Social Security to pay for tax cuts for the most wealthy,old man Bush more tax cuts for the rich. GW Bush two wars more tax cuts for the rich and no control of Wall Street and the thieves in the Banking industry these are facts.The brainwashed people who listen to Limbaugh,Hennity and Glen Beck are sick and don't realize it,that's why they keep voting to send the likes of Shelby back to the senate term after term.

Posted by: LDTRPT25 | February 6, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

So...if shelby is holding 70 apoinments up because Our President and his administration have not untangles the Gordions knot with the tankers, then we should be able to look at the record from the previous administration and see the exact same pattern from Mr. shelby, right? This is not a new dilemma. One assumes that if shelby is not flat out lying he put a hold on dozens and dozens of bush appointeess....oh....he didn't? Really????you mean he is not telling the truth????do you mean another republicon is jeopradizing the United States in order to line his pockets with pork and take cheap political shots at Our President????? Who would've thunk it possible?

Posted by: John1263 | February 6, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

First - there is not now nor has there ever been a "leftist" government in the US. The closest we have ever come to a "left" having power was during the New Deal. And if history serves as a guide they were right far more often than not. Social Secruity, farm security, home ownership initiatives, soil conservation, hydro electric power and flood control, rural electrification come to mind to name a few. AND they faced down the msot dire exernal threat the nation ever faced. The next closest would be Kennedy/Johnson. Excepting Nam which was a huge mistake and largely precipitated by the MIC and pursued by Johnson because of his willingness to acquiesce to the political right on a belligerant foreign policy in order to forward his domestic agenda -- Medicare, Medicaide, housing, AFDC, expansion of Social Security to cover all Americans, all sorts of things --

So saying "leftists never get anything right" is to highlight a profound lack of knowledge of American history. However, making that statement about conservaatives? The Great Depression comes to mind. S and L scandals anyone? Watergate ring any bells? How about Iraq-nam? the single worst foreign policy in US history? How about undoing banking regs? Or better still following the insanity of "starve the beast" for three decades, which has left us with a mountain of debt in a time of crisis? History would suggest that conservatives are not often right about much of anything, including their reading of US history.

Posted by: John1263 | February 6, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Senator Shelby is using senate rules to his advantage. The U.S. Constitution states "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings", and those are the rules of the senate.

Obviously, Shelby is a far better parliamentarian than the Dims and his knowledge of senate rules runs circles around the hapless Dims.

Posted by: screwjob2 | February 6, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse


It is time to remove the crooks who hold the entire country hostage for their own selfish desires! Haven't the Conservatives done enough damage to our wasted and ruined Armed Forces, our corrupted government, our looted and shattered economy, and the hundreds of thousands who have been brutally murdered in the Bush Wars?

Get the Department of Justice on this guy and find the sure-to-be-there corruption that gets him out of government.

What is lacking in the character of conservatives that they would destroy something rather than let someone else have it, . . especially our government!?!?

Posted by: gkam | February 6, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

So who's still buy the republican bull they would have you believe that they're sticking to their conservative roots? This just goes to prove they don't care about spending money as long as they're the ones doing it. I would do everything in my power to move that contract out of Alabama just to make the point that you cannot blackmail the U.S. government.

He needs to be called out daily on the Senate floor. I'd love to hear Shelby explain this one to the American Public.

Posted by: whatdyousay | February 6, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see a prime time press conference by Obama making the recess appointments, and inviting Shelby to justify his obstruction and calling him out on the earmark, the campaign contributions, the foreign connection, the hypocrisy, and call on the tea party movement to work with the country to defeat Shelby in Alabama as he embodies everything they are against.

Posted by: streff | February 6, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

A few years ago conservatives hated the French so much they renamed French fries.

Now they want to ship American jobs off to France so Shelby can get a cut of the action for a handful of people.

The only conservative value is dishonesty,

Posted by: colonelpanic | February 6, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Conservative, Red State America is spending us into the poor house.

Posted by: Ladyrantsalot | February 6, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

The Pentagon should should scrap the current tanker plans and fund a new tanker built on the blended wing body concept, a la the Boeing X-48 research vehicle. 30 to 35% better fuel mileage. It's green, it's American, and it would be a long-term money saver to the defense budget. Win, win, win. Email your Congressman.

Posted by: voldenuit123 | February 6, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

John1263 is absolutely right and very concisely put. Thank you.

Posted by: cms1 | February 6, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

It would only take 67 senators to throw this bum out!!

Posted by: lcyoon | February 6, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I do grasp that people from New Jersey (oh, gorgeous state!) and California do not think Alabama tax payers deserve any federal jobs.
Though we do tend to pay federal taxes down here. Perhaps more rigouresly than the Treasury Secretary.

After all, 150 years ago we had de jure versus de facto segregation here. And should still be punished, shouldn't we?

No Marshall plan here in 1865. We southern Americans were more despicable than Nazi Germans: we discriminated against blacks, and Northerners didn't. Hah. You've heard of Harlem? The south side of Chicago?

LMAO! How progressive!

1940's Germans were so much more gentle than American Southerners in the 1860's: they killed Jews/Slavics/gays by the millions. Gently.

Shelby's position is about JOBS. And fairness.

Got that? Understand it? Ain't brain surgery!

Jobs. Fairness.

Posted by: mftill | February 6, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

This is one of the few instances where I strongly agree with Mr. Myerson. This tactic is reprehensible and is an exercise of hubris of power by U.S. Senators on both sides of the aisle. I have been awared of specific military General Officer nominations when a particular Senator has a pet issue and wishes to block a nomination to make his point and punish the "offending nominee". Both sides do it to some degree, and it's reprehensible when done by either side. It's the type of Washington culture that Obama was railing against in his campaign.

Posted by: SkiFanatic | February 6, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Every member of the U.S. Senate should be ashamed of themselves for permitting the nation's business to be permanently left to rot whilst one Senator or a whole party of Senators exerts enormous influence on process. Don't want to integrate lunch counters? Filibuster. Oppose everything Democrats are doing or propose to do? Filibuster. Don't like the Pentagon's decision NOT to award a contract to a favorite son CORPORATION? Put a hold on all the president's appointments. I don't think the Founding Fathers ever considered people would behave this crassly. None of these permitted chess moves is in the Constitution. The are in the rules of the Senate. The ones that allow a minority to put a permanent hold on important national business MUST GO. And I don't mean in 2019.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | February 6, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Who cares

For every appointee at the Pentagon there is a career civil servant capable of doing the job. He/she is there because every four years the SES goes off to some high paid job at a defense contractor.
The Civil Servant has no agenda other than the mission. They are not political they are just professional.
Just tell Sheby to stick it and walk away from all of the nominees.
If you must fight then use the Civil Servant regs to make them a civil servant. Move them into the job and when Selby gives up promote them and give them a bonus for good work.

The whole point is the government works with or without these SES front men.

Posted by: bluetiger | February 6, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Nothing new here. we've known that Shelby, like all his southern republican colleagues if an effing ay-hole

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | February 6, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

The requirement of a super-majority may be unconstitutional as indirectly but radically affecting the principle of one vote - one value.

Posted by: davidnelsonau | February 6, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Dear wjc1va:
What exactly is your point?
Maybe I am missing something, but your post seems rather juvenile. If you were trying to drag Mr. Meyerson down to your own level, you have failed miserably.

Posted by: viking54 | February 6, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

One thing I wish Obama and the Democrats would stick to is naming names. Including those in their own party.
Until they do the Democrats exist only as enablers to turning government into a dysfunctional political entity held for hostage and ransomed to the deepest-pocket lobbyists.
And now with added help from the disgraceful Supreme Court.

Every greedy politician like Shelby and CEO like Blankfein should be ubiquitously identifiable as the sort of person whose self-interest comes at the cost of damaging the nation. Which is one rudimentary definition of treason.

-gala1

Posted by: gala1 | February 6, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Shelby has no moral scruples. He's willing to hold up the government just to satisfy his narrow, parochial interests. No matter what the merits of the tanker contract issue are, the decision should be made by those qualified to do so, rather than by one Senator holding our government hostage.

Shelby is no better than the likes of the late Strom Thurmond and company who used the filibuster for years to prevent Civil Rights legislation from being past. It's an abuse of power, it needs to stop and stop now.

Posted by: laSerenissima2003 | February 6, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Dear mftill:

I looked at the 2005 statistics and Alabama received more than $2.50 from Washington for every tax dollar sent to Washington. My state received less than $0.50 per dollar sent to Washington. Talk about fairness! So, stop the crybaby stuff.

Posted by: viking54 | February 6, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Senator Shelby wraps himself in the flag; declaims his patriotism.

Yet in all his actions as a leading member of the Republican minority he neither advises nor consents. He simply obstructs, utterly disrespecting the fundamental precepts under which our democracy was founded.

His actions have made our nation more vulnerable when we should be striving for unity and strength as we move forward to meet the immense challenges of our age.

Is it ego? Is it for personal gain? Or is e just plain selfish, arrogant, and stupid?

He's playing a dangerous game in the most dangerous of times.

We need not worry about foreign enemies or foes when good old Richard Shelby sits in Washington.

Posted by: manray123 | February 6, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Some of these appointments include national security personell. So Repbubes support the war on terror, as long as it makes them money?
Mr. Obama-SHUT OFF ALL FEDERAL FUNDS GOING TO ALABAMA EXCEPT UNEMPLOYMENT AID,MEDICADID, AND FOOD STAMPS.
then listen as these 'crackers' squeal.

Posted by: BBear1 | February 6, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Why have a Senate at all if it is this dysfunctional? Shelby should be ashamed of himself, but he is hardly alone among his right-wing accomplices.

Posted by: John0123 | February 6, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

The principle of Senatorial Hold is just one moe relic of the Good Ole Boys days in the Senate, when you asked "Mah Gud Fren" to back you in making somebody you couldn't otherwise sway to do what he knew shouldn't actually get done. Reid can do away with it permanently whenever he wants by simply ignoring it. Thomas Reed broke a similar obstructive tactic, the "disappearing Quorum" used by the Victorian Era democrats to obstruct Republican "tyranny" of the majority.

He ought to do so. Just call the question, and make the republicans wear themselves out filibustering them, because, whenever the last republican sets down and no other republican rises to continue the debate, the question moves to a vote.

In fact, Reid ought to do this as much to wear out the Republicans in preparation for the final health care debate as to get the nominations themselves.

They want to obstruct, at least they ought to have to do it on C-Span.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 6, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

What Shelby is doing is crippling the funtioning of the government.

What he is doing is disgusting.

where are all those who are against ear-marks....where are the Republicans....those who tauted moral standing as their bell weather.

What a shame....Just another 'nyet'

Posted by: wrock76taolcom | February 6, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

This should be the last straw! Appoint all 70 during the recess and let's move the country forward. It is time for the President to show some fortitude, and stop bending over backwards on every important issue. We elected this administration to change things, not to let the opposition keep throwing "monkey wrenches" into everything and stall or stop every attempt to move the country forward.

The administration also needs implement Health Care Reform through the Reconciliation Process, get whatever is available through this procedure.

Afterwards, resolve the most important issue to Main Street, creating jobs! The average American needs to be assured that he/she can get a job and create income for her/his family.

Enough of the constant bickering, it is much too depressing both financially and psychologically for most of us to see our great country in this current tailspin.

Enough! Enough! Enough! Enough! This could be repeated a million times, enough!

Posted by: ConWil71 | February 6, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm a conservative and a Republican, and I agree with Shelby on almost every issue there is. But Meyerson is right on target. The man (and his staff) work overtime to get earmarks for friends back home and cozy up to the slimiest lobbyists in town to do it. Shelby is holding up the business of government for blackmail purposes, pure and simple. Reid, Shelby, and so many others: They're not worthy of their Senate seats or the trust of the voters.

Posted by: operumpost | February 6, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Shelby and his fellow Republicans will do anything possible to stop Obama from fixing the disaster they created.

They know there are enough retarded and racist voters in this country that won't understand what happened and blame Obama.

Then they can take over again and resume wrecking America and stealing whatever is left.

Posted by: ottoparts | February 6, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Obama is being rolled from one end of Washington to the other by Republican crud like Richard Shelby with his "blanket hold" on Obama's nominations. The Democratic response should be unequivocal: pass health care legislation WITH a public option using a similar "congressional tactic" i.e. a filibuster proof straight up or down vote in Congress that does not require a sixty vote majority. Unfortunately, I don't think Obama has the b.alls to do it.

Posted by: irkulyen | February 6, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

This is blackmail! Either Shelby gets an overpriced contract for a foreign company for building something the Pentagon says won't work, or Shelby shuts down the government.
Has Shelby received goods and services that are the equivalent of a bribe for Northup? Time for an investigation of the BAMA BRIBE. This smells rotten.

Posted by: abowers1 | February 6, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Dutchess2: Not all the GOP are brain dead idealogues, Lugar, Snowe, governors like Schwatzneggar do have decent ideas. That does not change my viewpoint, they should be shut out of the Senate. Pelosi passed a continuing resolution in 06 when she became majority leader. Her Armenian resolution in memory of Lantos was ill advised. She has been good overall, but could improve. I wish I could say that about Reid.

Posted by: jameschirico | February 6, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

What's the difference between this political ploy and the Ben Nelson political ploy?
What ever happened to the most important item on "The Contract With America?" That being TERM LIMITS!!! I guess it's alright for the feds to honor the contracts with the BANKERS, and AIG by paying those EARNED BONUSES, but the Republicans don't have to HONOR "THE CONTRACT WITH AMERICA!!"

Posted by: doughboy96 | February 6, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

someone told me shelbys fellow sen. fro al.jeff sessions was the banjo playing person in deliverance. any truth to this?and yes shelby tactics are s****y but normal for him.obama is going to have to start ignoring the folks are they are going to ruin his presidency.

Posted by: donaldtucker | February 6, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Senator Shelby! You succinctly and forcefully showed how narrow minded and destructive you and your fellow silent Republicans are. You will sacrifice all your principles and the good of this country for your earmark. Is your definition of democracy that the narrow minority rules?
OH - do I remember correctly that you bitterly complained when the Democrats used filibusters in the 90s? But I guess inconsistency is another one of you personality traits.

Posted by: lahonda | February 6, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Shelby was impressive to conservatives when he bemoaned the price of healthcare insurance for us, the taxpayers, yet since his very public angst over debt and cost, I find he is one of the top three spenders in congress who are Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., with $892 million; Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska with $469 million; and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., with $465 million.
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/politics/15772329/detail.html

And this week we find that Sen. Richard Shelby's (R-Ala.) decision to place a "blanket hold" on all presidential nominations until a pair of billion-dollar earmarks for his home state are fast-tracked has reignited the debate over the parliamentary tactics being deployed by the Republican Party. It also has thrust into the spotlight the clout that major defense contractors often wield on the political process. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/05/shelbys-blanket-hold-puts_n_450934.html

Posted by: SCVoter | February 6, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Shelby was impressive to conservatives when he bemoaned the price of healthcare insurance for us, the taxpayers, yet since his very public angst over debt and cost, I find he is one of the top three spenders in congress who are Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., with $892 million; Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska with $469 million; and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., with $465 million.
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/politics/15772329/detail.html

And this week we find that Sen. Richard Shelby's (R-Ala.) decision to place a "blanket hold" on all presidential nominations until a pair of billion-dollar earmarks for his home state are fast-tracked has reignited the debate over the parliamentary tactics being deployed by the Republican Party. It also has thrust into the spotlight the clout that major defense contractors often wield on the political process. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/05/shelbys-blanket-hold-puts_n_450934.html

Posted by: SCVoter | February 6, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Northrop is guaranteed not to have a chance to land this contract now. Even if the Pentagon awarded it to Northrop a protest would hit faster than a bolt of lightning. You could bet that the award would be tossed out.

Pork for Shelby is not in the award criteria.

Posted by: James10 | February 6, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

What's the difference between this political ploy and the Ben Nelson political ploy?
What ever happened to the most important item on "The Contract With America?" That being TERM LIMITS!!! I guess it's alright for the feds to honor the contracts with the BANKERS, and AIG by paying those EARNED BONUSES, but the Republicans don't have to HONOR "THE CONTRACT WITH AMERICA!!"

Posted by: doughboy96

Bill Nelson didn't threaten to block all legislation until he got his gift. From what I've heard. Nelson never even asked for anything Harry [the idiot] Reid just threw money at him and it was part of the Bill that Nelson voted on.

Term limits is a populist idea that the GOP supported when the were the minority. Once they become the majority if fell off the table.

Isn't the notion of term limits actually insulting to the electorate? Aren't you telling the electorate they are too stupid to know who to vote for? Aren't you saying you're too stupid to know who to vote for?

I'm not expecting I'll ever be afforded the opportunity to vote for a Constitutional Amendment for term limits. But if I do, I'll vote no.

Posted by: James10 | February 6, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

My, my, such an adult statesman-like thing to do. Shelby is "Mr. Pork." He should lose his job but he won't because he brings a lot of bacon home. It's unbelieveable that one greedy hypocrite can obstruct government business and the interests of the American people. We the people really should start a movement for term limits.

Posted by: sharronkm | February 7, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

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