Hold On

The news that Senator Richard Shelby put a hold on 70 appointees has been in the news the last few days and he has now released all but 3. The accounts all state he put the hold on to secure funding for projects in his state – that he states are for national security. The merits of his projects can be debated separately and are really not the point here. The blatant and utter hypocrisy is the point. And it is not just the honorable Senator from Alabama. Any senator can place a hold on a nominee. Nominees can be delayed in numerous ways. Sometimes there may even be a legitimate reason to do so. Yet, that is not what this is about. Shelby’s stunt was a hostage situation. Give me money or no one gets through the Senate. Never mind that he decried the process of holding up nominees just a few years ago. (Or that the administration gets derided for not having positions filled.) It seems every person on the hill with an (R) after their name has had changes of heart. It is not just nominees, it is legislation, it is the insistence of saying they don’t have a voice in decisions when they simply refuse to speak.

Yet, their behavior is actually true to their core belief – that government is dysfunctional. And if it could possibly function? Well, throw all the road blocks you can to make sure it doesn’t. If you sit down the president to discuss your ideas, hold a press conference immediately afterwards and say that he didn’t listen. Doesn’t matter if that is truth or not, just say it.

It seems the Republicans decided that maybe shrinking government until it could be drowned in the bathtub wasn’t working. So over the course of eight years they tried to make it so big it would explode. That almost worked. Now, with so much damage done their tactic is simply to block anything that might correct the harm inflicted.

Is that hyperbole? Of course. Yet, look around. They cling to their belief that government doesn’t work and they do their best to make it so. For a year they have decried everything the Obama administration has done or tried to do – event programs or policies that were in place before he took office. If he proposes anything that was their idea, they change their mind. Hell, they wouldn’t even applaud tax cuts during the State of the Union. Tax Cuts!! That is their Holy Grail, their raison deter, their only solution to any problem!

It has taken a year for the Obama administration to start fighting back. Olive branches are nice, but when they aren’t accepted, it is time to move to the next step. Obama didn’t let Boehner’s press conference in which he said the republicans were pushed to the side at the “bipartisan summit” go unanswered. He went to reporters too and said what has been the case all along. Yes, they have taken and incorporated republican ideas, but they are not going to throw out everything they believe in and proceed only with those few ideas. That simply is not how compromise works. Duh. Yet, what is completely obvious seems to be difficult for many to see. Finally, we are hearing the reports on things such as the hold put on nominees in the media. Finally, it seems they are saying not simply that a hold was placed, but that it was done to get some pork. Finally, you hear people make the connection of how many times they say one thing and do another – even things as inane as giving a speech using notes and notes on your hand while mocking someone’s use of a teleprompter. (Seriously? You couldn’t remember “Energy, Tax Cuts, Lift American Spirits”?) If anything is going to get accomplished, these tactics and hypocrisies need to be pointed out. Constantly. The Democrats are not and have never been organized enough to employ such block force tactics and couldn’t keep it from being disclosed if they did. Their inconsistencies and blunders always make the news.


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