It's Richard Shelby's Party, and He'll Put a Hold on All Obama Noms Until He Gets His Pork if He Wants To

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is acting like a joik:

Shelby put a "blanket hold" on at least 70 of the president's nominations, a procedural move in his bid to get the government to send billions of dollars back to Alabama to fund a couple of local programs. (CongressDaily first reported the news.) Pork barrel politics at its best, or worst -- depending upon your view. It's a rotten practice but one as Josh Marshall notes, it's part of a long American tradition.

"In this case, we're not dealing with a stand on partisanship or ideology or simple political shiv play which I guess can each be respected in their own place. This is more like just a stick up. Gimme my money and I'll give you your Senate back! Worse than a squeegee man and not much better than a bank robber, Shelby is shutting down the president's ability to appoint anyone to anything until he gets his way. In a sense Shelby's gambit is little different from what countless other senators of both parties have done in the past, using the senate rules to get the White House's attention to pry some money free from the federal government. But the scale is unheard and the moment is different. The only mystery about this one is which is more outrageous -- Shelby's hold or the fact that the rest of the senators of both parties allow it."

More here. And to solve Marshall's mystery, the Senate's refusal to kick Shelby, and colleagues such as Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, in the ass is more outrageous.

Shelby has long been known as a hypocrite on drug war issues, since he helped get his son sprung from a possession charge despite his support for draconian laws for the rest of us.

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  • Rahm Emanuel||

    Richard Shelby needs to stop being retarded.

    Wait, too soon?

  • SIV||

    Substantially and Factually Incorrect

    Shelby has long been known as a hypocrite on drug war issues, since he helped get his son sprung from a possession charge despite his support for draconian laws for the rest of us.

    The hyperlink doesn't remotely support this statement.Shelby's son was treated the same way all routine misdemeanor possession cases are handled by US Customs.Unless Nick has something else he should retract it.
    Not that anyone is going to read this thread anymore.

    FWIW, Senator Shelby has lead the fight in the Senate Banking Committee and in the whole US Senate against TARP and all "bailouts".

  • ||

    I'm from Alabama and this is pretty much par for the course. Politicians there tend to combine blue-collar populism with fundamentalist social conservatism. Shelby is a P.O.S. but if I recall correctly he replaced Jeremiah Denton who was arguably even worse.

  • ||

    My Dad, who lives in Alabama, agrees with you completely.

  • PIRS||

    At this moment in history friends of liberty should support anything and everything that delays the Obama agenda. I am no fan of pork but if this move helps to slow the Obama agenda I am all for it. In a strange way pork helped save us from socialised medicine. Pork may save us again.

  • ||

    Go Team Red, Go!
    Beat Team Blue!

  • PIRS||

    If you have seen me here before you must know I am not a Republican. I simply see Obama and all he does as a threat to liberty. By they way, I also saw George W. Bush as a threat to liberty. So, what does that make me? How about libertarian.

  • SIV||

    Yes,Team Blue is in power.They hold the executive and legislative branches of government.When Team Red is trying to constrain state power I'm rooting for them.

  • ||

    Is it wrong for me to say that I like this? Fuck it, Shelby, do it until November! What the hell!

    Shelby is one of the bad ones, but I'd like to limit at least some of the damage this stupid, vile administration is doing. On top of the damage of the last vile administration.

  • PIRS||

    No, it is not wrong. I said it as well. I agree. Do it until January 20, 2012!

  • Geotpf||

    This type of move doesn't stop any spending or anything else. It just means that nobody will be in charge of the various agencies that does the spending-that doesn't exactly encourage good government. This is a blanket hold, remember, so security-related departments and ambassadors and all sorts of things are caught up in it. And, if Obama gives into his demands to get the nominations approved, it will encourage more Senators to do this in the future, which will increase spending further on similar local pork.

  • PIRS||

    "And, if Obama gives into his demands to get the nominations approved, it will encourage more Senators to do this in the future, which will increase spending further on similar local pork."

    At this point isn't everything pork now? Don't we just compete between different kinds of pork?

    Again, I am not a fan of pork but I think pork saved us from socialized medicine so in that sense I am kind of thankfull for all of the corruption being out in the open and blatant now.

  • SIV||

    It just means that nobody will be in charge of the various agencies that does the spending-that doesn't exactly encourage good government.

    We're all about "good government" here.

  • PIRS||

    "We're all about "good government" here."

    This an-cap would prefer no government.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    This an-cap would prefer no government.


    Okay then.

    Who enforces your contracts?

  • PIRS||

    The terms for companies that would handle such matters in a free society differ from one an-cap to the next. Sometimes they are called Dispute Resolution Agencies. Sometimes they are called private insurance companies or private courts. Suffice it to say they would be handled in a voluntary way. If you would like more information this may help:
    http://mises.org/journals/scholar/stringham3.pdf

    http://mises.org/journals/scholar/stringham3.pdf

  • Ernie the Bear||

    Blackwater.

  • SIV||

    Agreed. Hence my sarcasm.

  • ||

    Yes you are wrong. Like it or not The Obama won the election. And he has a right to put his people in. It was bullshit when the Dems did it to Bush. And it is bullshit now.

    Shelby is really much worse than a Democrat. If he were a Democrat you could chalk up his behavior to being a Democrat. But pulling this stunt as a Republican just feeds the "everyone does it" meme and makes it harder to object to these kinds of abuses.

  • PIRS||

    "Like it or not The Obama won the election."

    It is this kind of thinking that leads to the tyranny of the majority.

  • Ben P.||

    Only when you forget to include the second part of the statement, and hence its context: "And he has the right to put his people in."

    He's not saying "Like it or not, Obama won the election. And he has the right to crush the testicles of your firstborn male child," here. He's talking about the privilege of appointing advisors, Cabinet members, and other executive *appointees*. Yes, this does require the 'advice and consent of the Senate'. But I put it to you that when a Senator is blindly saying 'No', due to a totally unrelated matter, he is not properly playing his part in the matter either. If Senator Shelby thinks one of these nominees is an egregiously unqualified or otherwise unsuitable nominee, I will be the first person to champion his right to obstruct until the space-cows come home, mind you. But that's not what he's doing here.

  • PIRS||

    I frankly do not care what his motivation is. Until a few days ago the Democrats had a supermajority able to steamroll anything they wanted through. Now they still *almost* do. Considering Collins, Snowe and McCain almost qualify as Democrats on many issues one could argue they still do. Having that kind of power is dangerous for either donkeys or elephants.

    Gridlock is good.

  • Ben P.||

    Except I wasn't arguing for or against gridlock. I was making a counter to your specific statement that John's specific statement was somehow a wrong way of thinking because it led to a tyranny of the majority. I don't believe it does.

    Yes, yes, I know: "I don't care. Gridlock is good." There, I said it, so you don't even need to bother replying.

  • PIRS||

    "I was making a counter to your specific statement that John's specific statement was somehow a wrong way of thinking because it led to a tyranny of the majority."

    Advisors, Cabinet members, and other executive *appointees* are apointed for a reason - it is because they have powers over people's lives. If a particular POTUS was particular apointed it is because he wants them to act is specific ways.

    My statement stands.

  • LarryA||

    Until a few days ago the Democrats had a supermajority able to steamroll anything they wanted through.

    Except a supermajority has to, well, vote together. This one doesn’t seem to be working very well, starting way back with D.C. statehood.

  • ||

    Shelby is an ass, but I wish someone would do this all the time.

  • Geotpf||

    Heck, you could call Shelby downright un-American by favoring a foreign company over an American for a military contract. (The main "local program" in question is the Airbus vs. Boeing fueling tanker contract mess. Airbus plans on building a plant in Alabama if they win the contract.)

  • PIRS||

    I own a Toyota Yaris (no, this is not one of the recalled models).

    Am I unAmerican?

    My blue jeans were made in Mexico.

    My laptop was made in China.

    Am I unAmerican?

  • Who's Sean Hannity||

    No, but you sure are callow and retarded.

    Where are all the emotional pro-punishment retards coming from? Jeez, do yourself a favor, and go watch twilight. Then you can see how retarded you sound.

  • PIRS||

    Wow, I am glad that you have engaged in a meaningful discussion of issues. I am happy to know that you are considering the issue at hand and looking at it from all sides.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "The only mystery about this one is which is more outrageous -- Shelby's hold or the fact that the rest of the senators of both parties allow it."

    Congresspersons generally know enough not to shut down maneuvers that they might want to pull themselves later. The fact that the current exploitation of procedure is particularly ballsy just makes them secretly admire it all the more.

    Personally, I'm happy to see a stalemate. I hope the appointees never get appointed and Shelby gets nothing he wants.

  • PIRS||

    "Personally, I'm happy to see a stalemate. I hope the appointees never get appointed and Shelby gets nothing he wants."

    I second. Personally I think that filibuster aught to be enshrined permanently in the U.S. Constitution via an Amendment. I also think the minority in the House of Reps ought to be given a similar, though perhaps slightly more difficult to implement maneuver. Gridlock is good.

  • ||

    NOM NOM NOM

  • Jonathan Goff||

    Shelby's also got a bad reputation for hypocrisy when it comes to private enterprise. When it's anything but space transportation, he's all for it, but heaven forbid those dangerous commercial space guys ever try to compete with government programs run out of Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville...

    As one rather frustrated person put it (regarding Shelby and several other anti-commercial-space Republicans) recently in an Economist article, "if you could fuel a rocket on hypocrisy, we'd be on Pluto by now".

    ~Jon

  • PIRS||

    I am not arguing - just asking. By anti-commercial-space do you just mean he supports funding for NASA or do you mean he actually wants to ban the X-Prize efforts?

  • Jonathan Goff||

    PIRS,
    A little more complicated than that. NASA's charter says it is supposed to "encourage to the maximum extent possible the commercial use of space." There has been a big push for several years for NASA to help the commercial launch industry get to the point where launch to Low Earth Orbit can be handed off to private industry. The Obama Administration has actually been a surprisingly strong supporter of space commercialization, but Shelby has been opposing it because his NASA center was the one leading the development of NASA's competing in-house booster, Ares-I.

    Just one example. In the stimulus bill, there was $500M set aside for manned spaceflight projects. Originally, the administration had suggested $250M for continuing the moon program, and $250M to kick off an effort to do some firm fixed-price contracts with private companies to build commercially owned and operated capsules for hauling passengers (including NASA astronauts) to orbit. Shelby, who had voted against the stimulus bill, held up the approval of the use of that money until he was able to get all but $50M stripped from the commercial side and sent back to his Constellation program pork fest.

    Since then he's also been doing everything he can to trash-talk commercial groups, sic the NASA Inspector General on members of the Augustine Committee that he accused of being lobbyists (when they weren't), and has generally been acting as though he thought NASA stood for the Northern Alabama Spending Agency.

    ~Jon

  • PIRS||

    Thanks

  • SIV||

    I never figured Nick Gillespie for such a big Team Blue supporter."He's blocking Obama's nominees! Oh No!"

    I'm also calling you,Nick, a LYING SACK OF SHIT * on this:
    he helped get his son sprung from a possession charge despite his support for draconian laws for the rest of us.
    There is nothing supporting the charge at the link.Find something to support it or retract it.

    *(or more likely just a lazy, sloppy reporter)

  • ||

    Shelby seems a bit like one of those old Southern Democrat committee chairmen back before the Southern political realignment. That said, I agree with one of the posters above that anything that slows down the Obamarot is a good thing.

    Also, "Pork may save us again," I'm cooking up some West Virginia bacon & I think that's probably right. My house smells like smoke and sugar right now.

  • Jonathan Goff||

    He actually was one of those "old Southern Democrat committee chairmen" who switched to Team Red back in the mid 90s, when he saw the political winds changing.

    ~Jon

  • ||

    I meant OLD, like back before 1976.

  • PIRS||

    "I'm cooking up some West Virginia bacon & I think that's probably right. My house smells like smoke and sugar right now."

    Byrd Brand by any chance?

  • SIV||

    Shelby is less of a douche-bag than your average Senator.He lead the opposition to TARP in the Senate.Opposed all the auto bailouts.Has a zero rating on statist environmental matters.He is opposing Senator Dodd on "banking reform".There are no libertarians in the Senate but Shelby is more pro-liberty than most of them.

  • max hats||

    Loving the reaction from people here on a 44 billion demand for a bribe version Nelson's 100 million dollar bribe. Thoughtful and politically independent as always.

  • max hats||

    versus. versus Nelson's bribe. oof

  • PIRS||

    I am a pragmatist. I will support Shelby's block because I believe it helps the cause of liberty.

  • max hats||

    fewer successful agency appointments = more liberty.

    sure thing crazyperson.

  • PIRS||

    Max, ask yourself this question. Why does Obama want these appointments if they are meaningless?

  • max hats||

    Why does Obama want government agencies to have administrative positions staffed? I don't know, but surely it has something to do with raising your taxes and taking away your guns. Got me there.

  • PIRS||

    Actually, it has to do with steering agencies the cooperate with his agenda is subtle but powerfull ways. Did you know the EPA recently declared carbon dioxide a polutant? Agencies can have more power than many realize.

  • max hats||

    The fact that it did this while its appointments were held up does not support your argument.

  • PIRS||

    It did so but not necessarily in a manner that would support Obama's policies. That is the key.

  • Turnkey||

    Just wait until Obama gives in, and gives a similar amount to every other senator.

    Then we'll really be saving money.

  • PIRS||

    Yes, because that is when the revolution begins - if it has not already.

  • SIV||

    You progressives should love Shelby.He was the only GOP Senator to vote against Graham-Leach-Bliley.

  • Apostate Jew||

    White southern senator who came of age before 1964 does his best to completely frustrate a black president's execution of his constitutional duties.

    Move along. Nothing to see here.

  • ||

    A "hold" is simply threatening a filibuster. This is not the same as actually getting all the other 40 Republicans to go along with his hold. If even one of them thinks the hold is frivolous, and the Ds agree, the hold gets overridden in a cloture vote.

  • LibertyGal||

    Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Maybe Obama will retaliate and deny Shelby's pork. Result: A standoff with both big govt supporters's big govt pork and anti-freedom policies getting stifled, if only temporarily.

  • Who's Sean Hannity||

    This sounds like the same old horseshit from ten years ago. This will be resolved. For those of you glued to cable news, you'll get a week or two of dilapidated talking mouths debating whether Shelby is a racist or a revolutionary, and then things will go on as usual. Fuck this guy, fuck Obama, and fuck the retarded fetuses (I'm not JB) who take this seriously and eat it up.

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