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Tilting at Windmills

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February 5, 2010

SHELBY: IF I DON'T GET PORK, THE TERRORISTS WIN.... Now that Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has decided to hold the Senate confirmation process hostage in exchange for pork-barrel spending for his state, there are a few questions about why the far-right senator has apparently lost his mind.

We've gained a few insights today.

Sen. Richard Shelby's (R-AL) office has confirmed to TPMDC the reports that Shelby has placed a hold on President Obama's nominees over a pair of government programs set to be based in Alabama. He did not confirm that Shelby has taken the rare step of blocking all of Obama's nominees, as was reported yesterday.

"Sen. Shelby has placed holds on several pending nominees due to unaddressed national security concerns," Shelby spokesperson Jonathan Graffeo said in a statement.

And in this case, "unaddressed national security concerns" can be roughly translated to mean "defense earmarks for Alabama." In other words, if one right-wing senator doesn't get the pork he wants, the terrorists win.

The White House is unimpressed.

Roberts Gibbs, the White House press secretary, sharply criticized Mr. Shelby's actions, calling it the best instance yet for how Washington is broken. "I guess if you needed one example of what's wrong with this town, it might be that one senator can hold up 70 qualified individuals to make government work better because he didn't get his earmarks," Mr. Gibbs told reporters today. "If that's not the poster child for how this town needs to change the way it works, I fear there won't be a greater example of silliness throughout the entire year of 2010."

He added: "It boggles the mind to hold up qualified nominees for positions that are needed to perform functions in a government because you didn't get two earmarks."

Congressional Republicans have been breathtakingly irresponsible of late, but Shelby's latest gambit might be the single most ridiculous stunt in a long while. What kind of right-wing clown rails against government spending and then holds the Senate hostage until he gets his earmarks?

This from a senator who once pledged to do "whatever it takes" to give presidential nominees "up or down" votes?

If Ben Nelson's "Cornhusker Kickback" became a national punch-line, Shelby's scheme -- it'll need a clever little name -- should easily become a humiliating moment for the senator and his party.

This isn't just an example of Republicans gone mad, it's also an example of Republican overreach.

Steve Benen 12:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (68)

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Comments

How about Alabomination?

Posted by: Tokyokie on February 5, 2010 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

it'll need a clever little name -

The Alabama Asshole has a nice ring to it.

Posted by: martin on February 5, 2010 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

"If Ben Nelson's "Cornhusker Kickback" became a national punch-line, Shelby's scheme -- it'll need a clever little name -- should easily become a humiliating moment for the senator and his party."

Dream. On.

Posted by: Dems lose huge in 2010 on February 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Further, his goal is to give huge sums to a foreign corporation INSTEAD of a US corporation.

Why do Republicans hate America so much?

Posted by: nisl on February 5, 2010 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Alabama Airbus Earmark? Montgomery Money? Clusterfuck?

Posted by: FreethinkingRedneck on February 5, 2010 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

the Crimson Cried, Heart of Hissy, Alabama Grabarama...?

Posted by: Capt Kirk on February 5, 2010 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Um, didn't you notice that Nelson is a Democrat and Shelby is a Republican? The rules don't apply to Republicans, especially in mainstream-media-land. There, they can do no wrong and surely no lasting harm to their careers.

Posted by: Bernard HP Gilroy on February 5, 2010 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

How about the "Shelby Shakedown"?

Or 'Bama Blackmail?

Posted by: retr2327 on February 5, 2010 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Shelby was originally elected as a Dem, that should count for something;>

Posted by: martin on February 5, 2010 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Shelby Stickup.

Posted by: Big River Bandido on February 5, 2010 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is that the Nelson deal (which NEVER should have been made) gives them enough cover for a response, which usually is good enough for the MSM (who never compares the scale of each transgression). As long as both sides can offer something, then each position is valid as far as they're concerned.

Cutting that deal with Nelson was one of the most stupid fucking things the Senate (aka Harry Reid) did during the HCR debacle.

Posted by: bdop4 on February 5, 2010 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Alabama Jam-up?

Posted by: dk on February 5, 2010 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Alabama First!

Posted by: bcinaz on February 5, 2010 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Shelby's Euro-Pork Holdup"

"Dick Porking for Euorpean Companies"

Posted by: add on February 5, 2010 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Crimson Bribe?

Posted by: Townleybomb on February 5, 2010 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Which brings us to our Philosophy 101 quiz for the day:

if a political extortion happens in Alabama and no American Idol-watching voters hear it from the Corporate Media, did it really happen?

Posted by: zeitgeist on February 5, 2010 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

I must beg to differ somewhat. I fear that in this year 2010 we will suffer an overwhelming multitude of "greater example[s] of silliness." In fact I'd put several bucks on it.

Posted by: jsacto on February 5, 2010 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Do not be distracted by the little man from sweet home Alabama. This is a diversion. The Republicans do not ahve to govern so they can just toss stuff and stuff in the path of any attempts at Obama to govern and the Congress to legislate.

This is the subject for the next month

The stimulus worked and prevented another Republican caused great depression. When they say it did not work the Republicans are following the tactics of Lenin, One lie told long enough becomes the truth.

Posted by: kurt on February 5, 2010 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

How about: There's a new poker game in Washington: it's called Alabama hold-up. The rules are, I hold up all your nominations until you give me all the earmarks I want.

Posted by: MichMan on February 5, 2010 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Alabama Hold 'Em

Posted by: Tom in Houston on February 5, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Oh my goodness, it is worse than we think. Ezra Klein just got a hold of the note that Richard Shelby delivered to Harry Reid informing him of the blanket hold. Truly Shocking!

http://contactsheet.org/cgi-bin/ransom.pl?thedata=Hey+Obama%2C%0D%0A%0D%0AMeet+me+in+the+park+outside+the+Senate+with+40+billion+dollars+worth+of+pork+%0D%0A%0D%0AOr+you%27ll+never+see+any+of+your+appointees+ever+again%0D%0A%0D%0AAnd+NO+COPS!!!!!!&Button=Generate+Ransom+Note

Posted by: Gin on February 5, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

So what do the rest of the Republican senators have to say about this?

Posted by: Rick Taylor on February 5, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

It takes 60 votes to break the hold? Fine -- all 59 in the Democratic caucus plus John McCain, the Enemy of Earmarks.

Posted by: Grumpy on February 5, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Shelby - that ignoble ignoramus idiotically idolizing governmental indolence instigates an invectiveness against sensible government for his pork and inane ideology!

What an utter dangerous fool! His elected presence in the Senate is testament to the attacks of late upon our Collective Wisdom - Jefferson must be rolling over in his grave!-Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 5, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Shelby Shakedown and Crimson Bribe are both great.

Posted by: TR on February 5, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if any of this is in retaliation to proposed changes to NASA.

Posted by: styron on February 5, 2010 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Airbus' HQ are in France. So let's see...

"Shelby's French Kick-back"
"Shelby's French Kiss"

"Alabama Hold'em" or Alabama Hold'up," as mentioned above by MichMan, are good.

Posted by: ericvsthem on February 5, 2010 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Dang! Both Shelby Shakedown and Alabama Hold'em are taken.

I vote for one of those.

Posted by: Michigoose on February 5, 2010 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Call the offices of Republican Senators and tell them this behavior is unacceptable. Insist that they contact Sen. Shelby to request removal of the hold and ask them to vote for cloture if the hold is not removed. This country is becoming ungovernable because of manipulation of "rules" like this. All Republican Senators who do not help end this charade need to be tarred with the same brush as Sen. Shelby.

Posted by: Tired liberal on February 5, 2010 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

How about these for headlines:

Shelby Fears "Alabarmageddon" Over Cuts In Pet Projects
Boeing Market Competition Too Much For Dixie-Based French Company
Dixie Dick's Earmark Tricks
Dick's Red Stones Sure Are Sore
Tanks But No Tanks
Shelby Opposes Recovery Money, Seeks Overpriced DoD Tanker Money Instead

Posted by: pj in jesusland on February 5, 2010 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Shelby Shakedown FTW!

Posted by: cr on February 5, 2010 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen pondered: "What kind of right-wing clown rails against government spending and then holds the Senate hostage until he gets his earmarks?"

The kind of "right-wing" clown whose so-called "right-wing" pseudo-ideology is phony to the bone, and who is in fact nothing but a bought-and-paid-for corporate stooge.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 5, 2010 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

I like "Shelby Shakedown" or "Crimson Bribe". But here's a few more:

Grand Old Porky
Super Bowl Scuttle
Bama Slammer
BamaJam
Ala-bacon

Posted by: TWP on February 5, 2010 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'll let you guys figure out what to call it---but whatever the name, the graphic has to be a masked elephant jamming a gun into the midsection of a map of the United States.

Not "Uncle Sam"; he's just an emblem of the government. This has to be a visible, graphic, armed attack against THESE UNITED STATES.

Now---break out the pencils, and start drawing!

Posted by: S. Waybright on February 5, 2010 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah--Shelby Shakedown!

Posted by: ceenik on February 5, 2010 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

The Montgomery Mordida.

Posted by: somethingblue on February 5, 2010 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Why wasn't Shelby able to get his "earmarks" when the republicans controlled the congress? Did he benefit from the s Stimulus? Does he really think the electorate is so stupid as to not see through him?

Posted by: susan on February 5, 2010 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

What do you expect? Republicans are nihilist, they don't care about deficits, they don't care about jobs, the only thing they care about is getting and keeping power.

When you hear a Republican talking-head blabbing about earmarks, or pretty much anything, you can disregard the substance of what they are saying completely. They do. They don't care, much less understand, about policy.

There is a reason the GOP is called "the Mayberry Machiavellis."

Posted by: duh on February 5, 2010 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Metamorphic expletive land

Benen: What kind of right-wing clown rails against government spending and then holds the Senate hostage until he gets his earmarks?

Pffft.
Arf.
Urp.

Posted by: koreyel on February 5, 2010 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

A decade atfer the "selection" of BUSH am I the only one who believes that this country is in a rapid and serious decline! If Obama were able to finesse 99 our of 100 "changes" our media would STILL declare him a FAILURE and with the backing of the minority party...YEGODS

Posted by: Dancer on February 5, 2010 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Payawla

Posted by: somethingblue on February 5, 2010 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Here's one more vote for "Shelby Shakedown"

Posted by: scott_m on February 5, 2010 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

It's only overreach if it get's him in trouble. If Shelby get's what he wants, then his calculations about how far he can push the White House and the Democratic majority will be shown to be correct.

The Democrats have to do something about stuff like this. They look ridiculous. At the end of the day, if Obama's administration is dysfunctional because it doesn't have the qualified personnel it needs, nobody's going to focus on why.

Posted by: Christopher D Coccio on February 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

It always plays into the hands of the terrorists when you give the contract for an air-to air refueling tanker (so important to our terrorist fight) to an American company (Boeing) instead of the Anglo-French Airbus (oh..with Alabama subcontractors..)

Posted by: Mudge on February 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Shelby's French Dicking. (because Airbus is a French Company and Sen Shelby's first name is Richard.)

Posted by: ads on February 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Never negotiate with terrorists, no matter whether they wear a turbin or a flag lapel pin.

Posted by: Andrew in Berkeley on February 5, 2010 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

I vote for "Shelby Shakedown"

Posted by: Bob in Oakland on February 5, 2010 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Best I've heard is "the Crimson Bribe".

Posted by: Sasha on February 5, 2010 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Easy. Shelby's Shitty

Posted by: henryedward on February 5, 2010 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Or for polite company. Shelby's Shifty

Posted by: henryedward on February 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'd love to see this headline in a week or so after a vigorous debate about Shelby's ridiculous antics on the Senate floor:

"Senators Cut Off Alabama's Dick, Shelby Upset As Backlogged Nominees Approved"

Posted by: pj in jesusland on February 5, 2010 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Harry Reid:

A full week of cloture votes please.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on February 5, 2010 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Much of the power establishment thinks itself post-patriotic: all that matters to them is self interest, as if they themselves are little principalities. I see no patriotism in most Republicans and some grasping Dems too: they want for themselves only. For them, government is merely a tool and resource (its treasury); the people, aka voters, are rubes, postscripts easily answered with empty slogans. It's like a Robert Ludlum fantasy (c.f., the C Street crowd), a secretive, boys' club rule by old men who pull strings. Obama scares them not just because he's not white (the racism in this country astonishes me still) but because he tapped into real populism (before Summers and Geithner), and that truly threatens the puppet masters.

Posted by: SF on February 5, 2010 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

The Alabama Scammer?

Posted by: scrappled on February 5, 2010 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

The irony is that Shelby will probably vote against a jobs bill for Americans with all the repub talking points, but he wants our tax money for jobs for Alabama, if that is not an extortion plot I don't know what is.
I don't want my taxes to go to support his state, they already get more back from the federal government than they pay in taxes.

Posted by: js on February 5, 2010 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Since when is 70 "several"?

Posted by: bob h on February 5, 2010 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Recess appointments for all next week!

Posted by: sue on February 5, 2010 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Give it up dudes!!!

Even the liberal Washington Post is presenting a 'fair & balanced' perspective on what Shelby is doing.

From the Washington Post's Federal Eye (By Ed O'Keefe | February 5, 2010; 10:37 AM ET):

"Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has placed a blanket hold on more than 70 Obama administration nominees because of home state concerns with the future of the Air Force's tanker fleet and disagreements with the White House over funding for anti-terrorism programs..."

Obama did it too!

"Obama, as a senator from Illinois, placed holds on at least three Bush administration nominees amid policy disagreements or concerns about their qualifications."

The Post even provides balance by with a statement from Shelby's spokesman. "If this administration were as worried about hunting down terrorists as it is about the confirmation of low-level political nominations, America would be a safer place," Graffeo said, adding that Shelby has made the White House aware of his concerns "and is willing to discuss them at any time."

So, it is obviously Obama's fault!

As the liberal Washington Post makes no reference to Pork, there obviously must not be any and Steve is just making things up!

We republicans own the corporate media. We will continue to yell that the liberal media (which we own) is the problem. Our corporate media will continue to move to the right to address our concerns about the biased liberal press.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on February 5, 2010 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

I vote that we start calling Shelby "Bear Bribant"

Posted by: Kevin on February 5, 2010 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

The Great 'Bama Hold-Up

Posted by: dadanarchist on February 5, 2010 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

This is the same Richard Shelby who siphoned off Katrina reconstruction money to build luxury condominiums in his hometown, which experienced no damage worth mentioning from the storm.

Posted by: Colin Laney on February 5, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Shelby Shell Game

Posted by: Marko on February 5, 2010 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Not earmarks. "pork barrel spending" that's what the righties hate

Posted by: merl on February 5, 2010 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Richard 'Dick' Shelby arrested in extortion attempt to bring French terrorist corporation into the United States."

Posted by: st john on February 5, 2010 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Memo to Harry.

Is there a Republican Senator in Boeing's pocket? If so, you got your 60 votes right their. Just get on the horn to Chicago or Seattle and have the Boeing CEO give one of his Republican Senators the high sign. How about Brownbeck or Roberts of Kansas. I am sure they don't want to see a big contract go to France.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 5, 2010 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Why so many people think this is about earmarks eludes me. This is total political warfare between the elected GOP officholders and the Democratic officeholders. The days of bipartisan anything are over. Raw power and effective propaganda are the present coin of the realm. From this point forward, there will be no progress in any direction until one or the other party takes absolute control. When we tolerated the verbal abuse of a sitting war-time president, in front of the entire world, our fate was sealed. Patriotism is dead and America will be unrecognizable in two generations. This single unconfronted act marks the birth of the next American civil war.

Posted by: Robert Kmett on February 5, 2010 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Shelby's asinine behavior presents progressive Democratic leaders with a wondrous opening. He provides a resounding example of the outrageous possibilities that are presented by current operating rules in the Senate. Leaders should use this sort of thing to make clear the urgent need for rules changes.Sure, there are good arguments for unlimited debate. It helps to prevent a majorities rough riding in a legislature -- But there's certainly nothing to be said for allowing the Shelby silliness, which can hardly be defended. Let the GOP try.

Posted by: Ed Nelson on February 6, 2010 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

The HCG hormone diet plan is unforgiving. To some it may even be harmful. They'll you show a list of the potentially severe health difficulties that you are most likely to get inflicted with ought to you decide to try such a diet. Despite the risks a great deal of people today seem to be unconcerned likely for the reason that they've not heard anything really critical have befallen users.

Posted by: Roberto Hamdn on December 17, 2010 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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