Government Reform

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

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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.