I need to rant on this one.
I was going to use a “This Is Just Silly” headline, but it’s not silly: If it’s true, it’s infuriating and pathetic, and that’s being kind.
Republican and self-professed fiscal conservative Senator Richard Shelby (AL) yesterday supposedly put a hold on all Obama administration nominations unless he gets billions of dollars for several earmarks for his state.
This is a senior senator from a political party that routinely rails against earmarks, government spending and deficits in effect saying…the deficit be damned, I demand that additional billions of dollars be spent for projects.
That puts the whole GOP bull on the budget and deficit out there for all to see.
A number of people are calling for Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) to tell Shelby to go to hell by not honoring the holds, bringing up the nominations, and forcing Shelby to filibuster each one over the spending/earmark issue.
Reid should do that, but not before he demands that Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and every other GOP senator denounce Shelby publicly. Make the earmark and billions of dollars in spending the biggest possible issue by forcing GOP members to defend or denounce him and by using this to demonstrate their extreme hypocrisy if they don’t. Take the highest profile positions at Treasury, Homeland Security, and Defense that Shelby is stopping from being filled, make it clear how and why each one is important, and repeatedly ask Shelby how spending money on earmarks somehow is a higher priority than having these jobs done.
And Reid shouldn’t just bring up one nomination; he should bring up 10 in a row, keep the Senate in session 24-7, and force Shelby to repeatedly lose his fights with even his GOP colleagues voting to end debate.