Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 10, 2009

THE SILLY CONFIRMATION PROCESS, PART CXXVIII.... President Obama nominated Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) to serve as his Secretary of the Army a couple of months ago, and his confirmation seemed like a foregone conclusion. Even Republicans who reflexively oppose everything the White House wants would have no reason to block a Republican lawmaker's nomination.

Or so we thought.

Concerned that their state could become the home for some Guantanamo Bay detainees, Kansas' two Republican senators have placed a hold on the nomination of Rep. John M. McHugh as Army secretary. [...]

Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback are seeking answers from the Obama administration about the possible moves of some detainees to the prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

The senators have asked the White House for a briefing by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates , Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. or other senior officials.

Roberts and Brownback have also blocked Senate consideration of the Deputy Secretary of the Army, for the same reason. In both cases, the senators concede the nominees deserve consideration, but will have to wait until they're satisfied with an unrelated question. (Reminder: there are already terrorists being detained in Kansas, whether Roberts and Brownback realize it or not.)

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is reportedly "furious" with the far-right Republican senators who've blocked progress on the nomination. He's apparently under the impression that the Army needs leaders in their offices in the midst of two wars. Imagine that.

Also note how annoying this pattern is. Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) put a hold on an EPA nominee, not because he was unqualified, but because Voinovich wanted a new report from the agency on the costs associated with cap and trade. Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) put a hold on an Interior Department nominee because Bennett had questions about oil and gas leases in Utah.

It's routine, in other words, for qualified nominees who enjoy more than enough support to be confirmed to wait for floor votes, indefinitely.

The Senate confirmation process is exceedingly annoying.

Steve Benen 12:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

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Comments

Recess appointment?

Posted by: fred on August 10, 2009 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

What asses! Solution: Close Ft. Levenworth, in its entirety, and transfer the personnel and the Fort's mission to Michigan or California or some other blue state. After all, the Indian Wars are over....

Posted by: Tigershark on August 10, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK
The Senate...is exceedingly annoying.

Fixt.

Posted by: les on August 10, 2009 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

And Harry Reid's response, to keep them in line, will be to deep-six some piece of legislation important to them. Oh, sorry, forgot.

Posted by: Greg Worley on August 10, 2009 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

"The Senate confirmation process is genuinely broken." Really fixed, but we are still screwed by the malcontents pretending to be Republican Senators.

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 10, 2009 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

"The Senate confirmation process is genuinely broken." Really fixed, but we are still screwed by the malcontents pretending to be Republican Senators.

No, it's being screwed by Democrats who have to let the Republicans do this in order to continue the myth that the Senate is unworkable. Otherwise, they would actually have to enact the legislation they say they favor but actually oppose.

It is never so unworkable when the Republicans are in the majority; and it is unreasonable to attribute this disparity to anything other than deliberate Democratic contrivance.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on August 10, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

This has been bothering me for awhile, but I noticed a post at HuffPo this morning making a similar point.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/medea-benjamin/our-terrorist-in-miami_b_86155.html

My state has head a violent (and convicted) terrorist living out and about in Miami for years.

Just sayin,

Posted by: adolphus on August 10, 2009 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Aren't there regular oversight committee hearings where these questions can be answered? Are confirmation hearings the first & only time the Senators expect to hear from these appointees?

Posted by: Grumpy on August 10, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Make the appointed Secretaries Civil Service Positions, therby removing ANY political fighting. This would have the Secretaries focused upon the working of their specific Departments instead of how to make their specific POTUS's agenda part of their Departments agenda.

Posted by: iggy on August 10, 2009 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I've read through the constitution twice now, and still can't find where it grants the power of individual veto to a single Senator (or even two), or any mention of a power of 'hold'. Aren't these guys originalists? Don't they believe in the Constitution as it is written?

Posted by: firefall on August 10, 2009 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

You know, one of the reasons many middle americans are put off by the Democratic Party is that they are rightly perceived as wimps who won't stand up for anything.

Harry Reid is a perfect example of why that perception is correct.

Schumer for Majority Leader. Or Durbin. Or anyone with a spine.


Posted by: Anonny on August 10, 2009 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

...there are already terrorists being detained in Kansas...

Not to mention two of them representing Kansas in the Senate.

Schumer for Majority Leader. Or Durbin. Or anyone with a spine. -Anonny

Let's go right for the jugular: Bernie Sanders for leader.

Posted by: doubtful on August 10, 2009 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

all the Republican senators and Representatives should have thought through what would happen to the Gitmo detainees before voting en masse for the Bush /Cheney Darth vader wishes. The se congress persons deserve to have Gitmo detainees in their back yard.

Posted by: mljohnston on August 10, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe if they promised to put kryptonite bars in the cell to defeat the terrorists' super powers, then these dorks may agree.


Posted by: Texas Aggie on August 10, 2009 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Question: How is the Senate majority leader decided upon? A quick google didn't enlighten me any. I had always thought that it was the most senior member of the majority party, but that definitely wasn't the case for Daschle. Is it an appointment by the President, or an election process by sitting senators?

Posted by: Kris on August 10, 2009 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, nevermind. I finally found the right wikipedia article.

Posted by: Kris on August 10, 2009 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

This is a collective republican effort to slow down and block democratic progress. Republicans have abused and corrupted senate rules which were installed from good motivations to ensure a better democratic process but now are abused for the most petty of reasons...political blackmail.

It's getting harder to consider republicans as capable of being a part of the legislative process. They have become so pathetic when it comes to the good of the nation that they would rather start a civil war than lose power. When the backlash comes from their pathetic thuggish behavior there will be no place for them to hide.

It's like comparing the 1500 people showing up for a McCain/Palin rally and shouting out racial slurs as if they are the majority and then seeing the 75,000+ showing up on the mall in St Louis to support Obama and his agenda...that is the backlash they will confront if they continue down this Beck/Limbaugh road.

btw...any fool listening to the rhetoric of Hitler would see that Beck and Rush sound more like Hitler than any dem ever did. They condemn with hate and fear just like Hitler did even using the same terms like 'socialism' and Gov take over.

Only those bitter hate filled willfully ignorant fools want to believe this crap and they are ready to clap at anything that demonizes the dems or liberals, no matter how outlandish. People get ready, the crazies are here and will destroy the nation until we get rid of the propagandists inciting them.

Posted by: bjobotts on August 10, 2009 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

How is the Senate majority leader decided upon? -Kris

Used to be the caucus would vote. Now they all get MRIs to find out which one has the least spine and they win.

Posted by: doubtful on August 10, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

"placed a hold" - that they can do that, is our problem

Posted by: demoraptor on August 10, 2009 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback are seeking answers from the Obama administration about the possible moves of some detainees to the prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan."

No problem!
My home state of Michigan has two senators and most of the population of Standish ready and willing to take all the detainees offered to their own max prison.

As for Kansas, maybe we can post them some Girl Scout cookie embezzlers or Post Office short change artists--criminals less likely to frighten them.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on August 10, 2009 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

I have another beef about this whole thing - why is it that Democratic presidents feel the need to only nominate Republicans for DOD positions???? This pisses me off - it is conceding the argument that Republicans "know" defense better than we do AND IT'S JUST NOT TRUE!!!!

Of course, if we never give Dems the opportunity to head defense programs then we will defacto make it true. Fucking spineless Democrats!!!

Posted by: Dem Hawk on August 12, 2009 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Mana on March 31, 2010 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK
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