IOKIYAR Reigns Supreme

Steve Benen has perhaps the best example ever:

In a Congress when Republicans’ obstructionist tactics have become scandalous, and a discredited GOP minority has effectively shut down the American policymaking process, Sen. Richard Shelby (R) of Alabama still stands out for his brazenness. Shelby, you’ll recall, placed a blanket hold on several dozen administration nominees, holding them hostage until the senator was paid off in earmarked pork. He eventually backed off, at least in part, though he continues to block Senate votes on three top positions in the Air Force.

CNN’s Dana Bash asked the right-wing senator yesterday whether his actions are justified.

BASH: I spoke with Geoff Morrell over at the Pentagon and just asked him what the impact is of not having these three people in place — one of whom, as you know, is the number two at the Air Force. He said, “Without these people, we’re not firing on all cylinders.” And he also said, “It does adversely affect the organization.”

Are you worried about that? This is a time of war –

SHELBY: The Pentagon is a big place. I don’t think one or two will affect anything except on the margins.

BASH: Do you think that the nominees you have holds on are qualified?

SHELBY: Oh, I don’t have any idea.

Can you imagine if a Democrat had said that when Bush was president?

         

Author: KATHY KATTENBURG

Share This Post On

27 Comments

  1. Why does everything have to be described through a partisan prism?

    “Can you imagine if a Democrat had said that when Bush was president?”

    Sigh… yes, I can imagine it. Takes no effort whatsoever, since it would look *exactly* the same as it does right now. Just different voices complaining.

  2. I would love to see the statistics on this. Tried googling around this morning, couldn't find what I was looking for. I did find this, though, even Fox Business News doesn't talk favorably of Shelby: http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/indust

    The question I have is: what are the records of held-up nominees of Pres. Clinton, Pres. Bush, & Pres. Obama's administrations. I would suspect that the GOP held up more of Clinton's & Obama's than the Dems held up Bush's.

    Famously there was the Gang of 14 incident over federal jurists during Bush's term, but I suspect the GOP would still hold the lead. And here's my partisan shot: because they have no integrity.

  3. Can you imagine if a Democrat had said that when Bush was president?

    And can you imagine how many posts Kathy would need to defend said Democrat?

    Sigh…all this talk about bipartisanship and broken government, yet it seems some in the “talk radio blogosphere political culture” enjoy emulating the loudmouths.

  4. Ethically I don't see the distinction between Shelby's actions and the actions of Landrieu and Nelson on the Senate Health Care bill.

  5. “can you imagine how many posts Kathy would need to defend said Democrat”

    … whom she'd call a “Senator” (if not “distinguished” or “esteemed” Senator), rather than “liberal” or “left-wing” Senator, to name just one additional obvious detail.

    Kathy is our resident liberal “light-bulb” contributor:

    How many threads will Kathy post bashing [non-liberal object of disturbance X]?

    (The same is true for this liberal site, to a lesser degree.)

  6. I actually had to give DaGoat a like on his comment concerning Nelson and Landrieu. But admitting that he has no idea if they're qualified is just amazing.

  7. I agree, Jim. Pretty pathetic that he doesn't know if they're qualified.

    OTOH, I'm at least equally disgusted that many congresscritters don't know what's in the bills they pass.

  8. I guess spreading the bribes equitably to all the states as is the case now makes it moot (or was it too difficult for some, all along?) to note the earlier situation with Nelson and Landrieu.

  9. This liberal site? You, my friend are delusional.

  10. Why does everything have to be described through a partisan prism?

    Because that is the reality of our political system, Polimom — at least it has been for at least the last 30 years, really the last 60 years. Maybe always.

  11. Well, you know what? You're right. There is no essential difference. In both cases it's our elected representatives choosing narrow political interests over the common good. What's left out, though, is that the entire political context surrounding Shelby, Landrieu, and Nelson, is also about blatant, narrow political partisanship. All of it. Reid bribing Landrieu and Nelson. Also Nelson and Landrieu refusing to support the signature issue on which their party was elected to govern. Also the Republican minority who are happy to point to people like Landrieu and Nelson to slide by their own obstructionism and refusal to work with the Democrats in good faith. If at least some Republicans were willing to put party politics behind the interests of the American people, Landrieu and Nelson would take on far less importance.

  12. I will stop bashing conservatives when they stop bashing the concept of governance and the common good.

    I will be happy to bash any Democrats who bash the concept of governance and the common good, except I should warn you that when I do (because I have, many times) the cry I get from fair-minded people like you is that I'm trampling on those Democrats' “right of conscience.”

  13. Not to mention the fact that most Americans don't know what's in the bills Congress passes, and thus accept as truth all the lies they are told by their reps in Washington about what's in the bill.

  14. I will be happy to bash any Democrats who bash the concept of governance and the common good

    That would be almost all of them, they bash it and beat its brains out on the rocks, same with most republicans.

  15. “I will stop bashing conservatives when they stop bashing the concept of governance and the common good.”

    Sounds like China's attitude toward those wayward-island-provincial counter-revolutionary splittists.

  16. What's left out, though, is that the entire political context surrounding Shelby, Landrieu, and Nelson, is also about blatant, narrow political partisanship.

    I'm not sure it's so much partisanship as all are selling their political influence in exchange for local pork. I was mainly responding to your IOKIYAR characterization – obviously it's not OK if anyone does it and both parties will often look the other way when it occurs. I would like to see the GOP condemn what Shelby is doing just as I would have to like to have seen Reid tell Nelson and Landrieu to shove it.

  17. “Because that is the reality of our political system, Polimom”

    Just because we have a two-party system, Kathy, doesn't mean commentary must be presented through such a narrow channel. I'll admit that it requires effort, though, to rise above it.

  18. “In a Congress when Republicans’ obstructionist tactics have become scandalous, and a discredited GOP minority has effectively shut down the American policymaking process.”

    Give me a break. As George Will rightly stated, the only time we hear such melodramatic crying is when the left's agenda is stymied.

  19. George Will never states anything unless it's “rightly”. We could only hope he would state something correctly. What a right wing hack. (And you people consider liberals “Elitist”!

  20. 1. “spreading the bribes equitably to all the states”

    Will that be enough, though? The latest Medicaid effects are going to be like this, and Medicare is known to be cannibalized, too, to expand federal entitlements to others.

    The 3.25% Medicaid pay cut scheduled to take effect April 1 in Oklahoma will lead most of the state's physicians to stop seeing at least some Medicaid patients, according to recent survey responses from more than 200 doctors.

    16.9% would continue to accept new Medicaid patients
    45.9% would stop seeing new Medicaid patients
    37.2% would stop seeing all Medicaid patients

    http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/03/01/gvs

    2. “the only time we hear such melodramatic crying”

    “broken” “frozen” (currently)

    “divided government” (1980s after Republicans got into the White House; after 1994 elections)

  21. I will stop bashing conservatives when they stop bashing the concept of governance and the common good.

    Who's bashing the concept? It's the implementation that's the problem.

  22. Republicans in Congress are bashing the concept. Not out loud in so many words, of course. Actions speak louder than words. You cannot have almost 300 bills backed up in the Senate because the Republicans will not even let them go to the floor for a vote, and then tell me that Republicans care about governance.

  23. You missed your calling, Kathy. Even the bright ones cannot keep up with you and the dunces, well they're just fodder for the grinder.

    Keep up the good work ! !

  24. It's not just because we have a two-party system, Polimom. It's also because we have this form of government instead of this one.

    And there are many other reasons in addition to the above for why our political discourse in this country is so acrimoniously partisan. One cannot make it less partisan simply by an effort of will, or by making sure to include the disclaimer “they all do it” in every comment one makes about politics.

    I'm not saying it can't be changed — just that partisan political gamesmanship is much more of a systemic problem than you and many others seem to think it is.

  25. “You missed your calling, Kathy.”

    Story of my life.

  26. Kathy, I wasn't really talking about the system itself, but about the way in which dialogue about it is now conducted. And although I may be inviting censure by being so direct, I guess I'll have to be.

    We aren't going to improve communications — EVER — if everyone insists upon hostile labeling and demonizing and attacking. The term in the thread, I think, was “bashing”. People are not just “bashing” the opposition, they're then justifying it with demonization — and imo, it's contributing to the downward spiral I think we're all seeing.

    In fairness, while I'm very very frustrated at your nearly non-stop “bashing”, you're absolutely not alone in the doing. Comment after comment comes in these days in which — although technically not personally attacking anyone — lowers the level of discourse immediately.

    At some point, both sides of this equation are going to have to step up to the plate and admit that they're both responsible for the acrimony. And by both sides, I don't mean just the politicians.

    I see serious flaws in both parties — as well as great good in both. I'm not alone. I know I'm not. But the continual “the other party is eeeeevil” tone is, in large part, what alienates moderates (and moderate independents). Including me.

  27. Although you may be inviting censure from others, you're not inviting it from me. I appreciate and welcome your honesty because it IS honest — as in well-intentioned and sincere.

    I am, by now, very used to being told what you have told me. It has always seemed to me that people experience my tone as “non-stop bashing” to a far greater extent than they do with others who write in the same way. I'm not talking about commenters, either. Obviously, this is not true of all, or even most, of the writers here, but it is true of some number of writers in addition to me.

    Of course, it's entirely possible that I am wrong in this perception. It's possible I'm being defensive.

    I have actually given a lot of thought to this criticism about the tone of my posts, and comments. I have sometimes responded by saying I know I come across very strong, because I have strong opinions. I have thought to myself that strong opinions strongly expressed are not the same as demonizing or attacking. I have also thought to myself that, by God, sometimes political and other public figures speak and act in objectively despicable ways, and saying that straight out is entirely called for. I have additionally thought to myself that there is, objectively, a real and substantive difference between the two major parties' philosophies of governance, and that it does no one any good to paper that over. I have asked myself whether I really and truly am convinced that what the Republican Party, and the political right in general, have been offering and encouraging over the last several decades is poisonous, dangerous, and reprehensible. My answer to my own question is yeah. It is. That's my opinion. That's my point of view. These are my values.

    I have to say, in addition, that I truly do not know or understand what you specifically would like me to do differently. And by “you” I obviously mean everyone else who is so upset about the way I come across. You don't want me to use the word “monstrous” or “evil” to describe a sitting member of Congress, or a famous media figure. I get that. What I don't get is what language you want me to use in the place of those words, or what stance you want me to take. Do you want me to include a disclaimer in every post that “they all do it”? Do you want me to balance every critical statement or judgment with a bland exposition of the other side?

    I know this sounds sarcastic, but I don't intend it so, and I don't know how else to express MY frustration with your frustration. (lol)

    I am me. I am who I am. I have a voice (both literally and figuratively) that is unique — different from anyone else's. We ALL do. If I attack someone personally, I want to be called on it. But there's a difference between attacking someone's person and attacking a person's political actions and behavior. There is also a difference between simple disagreement on an issue or an approach to an issue, and a clash of values, or fundamental first principles. Unfortunately, that line is often hard to discern, which is why we're having this problem.

    So I guess I'm doing two things here, which would seem to be contradictory, but I am contradictory. I am, first, asking you to be much more clear about what changes you would like me to make in my writing style. Because at least that way I don't feel like I'm battling an invisible enemy. And second, I'm telling you that the way I write is the way I write, and you and everyone else are going to have to find a way to deal with it. You are always welcome to accomplish that by writing (in your case) your own post in your own writing voice, and/or by writing a comment that argues against my point of view — as strongly worded as you wish, within the parameters of TMV's rules for commenters.

Submit a Comment