Republican threats to block nominees to the consumer board are of a piece with their opposition to Don Berwick, Obama's first choice to run the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services; to Peter Diamond, whom Obama tapped to sit on the Federal Reserve Board; and most recently to John Bryson, Obama's nominee to take over the Commerce Department. It's nothing short of a power grab by the Republican Party – an effort to achieve, through the confirmation process, what they could not achieve through legislation. And it seems unprecedented, at least in modern times.
...In the case of the Consumer Protection Board, Senate Republicans have said they would not confirm anyone who does not agree to restructure the leadership of the agency from a single person to a multi-member body. They insist that a legitimately passed law be changed before allowing it to function with a director – a modern-day form of nullification. Same with the director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. There is nothing normal or routine about this. The Senate policing of non-cabinet appointments is sometimes more aggressive but the current practice goes well beyond that, more like pre-Civil War days than 20th century practice.
Ah, yes, nullification. The ostensible philosophy behind that idea was the need to protect rights of a permanent minority, namely the slave-holding states of the South, lest they never have a say in policy. But Republicans aren't a permanent minority in need of special constitutional protections. They're a faction trying to bully the majority. And they're getting away with it.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Flight to quality
You know what's frustrating? When you write a blog post, and then a real blogger like Jonathan Cohn goes and writes pretty much the same post, except 100 times better. But I'm not the jealous type -- too much -- so go check out what he has to say. An excerpt:
By WHS at 1:32 PM