**UPDATE** (Friday, Feb. 5) – Robert Gibbs weighs in (via PoliticalWire):
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. 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… 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.
I want to say “unbelievable.” But sadly, for the modern GOP, this action by Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, while still odious, selfish in the extreme and almost unimaginably hypocritical (for a member of a party that loudly decries earmarks and pork-barrel spending), isn’t actually all that surprising at all. This is what the modern GOP has become:
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has put an extraordinary “blanket hold” on at least 70 nominations President Obama has sent to the Senate, according to multiple reports this evening. The hold means no nominations can move forward unless Senate Democrats can secure a 60-member cloture vote to break it, or until Shelby lifts the hold.
And why would “the honorable” Senator from Alabama take such an aggressive and unprecedented step? I mean, he’d have to have an amazingly good reason for doing something this extreme, right? He had to have uncovered evidence that the birthers were right…or that Obama’s secretly planning to surrender to Bin Laden…or…or something…hadn’t he?
As it turns out, no…not so much:
According to the report, Shelby is holding Obama’s nominees hostage until a pair of lucrative programs that would send billions in taxpayer dollars to his home state get back on track.
In other words, Shelby is holding up SEVENTY nominees over a pet pork project. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Party Of:
- Fiscal Responsibility
- No Earmarks
- Country First
Or, you know….NOT