Senate holding up Barack Obama's banking nominations.

senateSo it turns out that the Senate is sllooooooooooooow walking some of Barack Obama’s final-year nominations in the banking field. Specifically, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama is pretty much sitting on thirteen nominations Obama has made, including two each for the Federal Reserve and Securities and Exchange Commission, and one they-can’t-do-work-without-this-guy appointment to the Export-Import Bank… hold on, hold on! Don’t start cheering yet! Finish reading the post first! Sen. Shelby’s delay means that these spots won’t be filled before mid-January at the earliest. Assuming that they’re filled then. Hard for Sen. Shelby to say, really.  It’s not like he can foretell the future.


The WSJ – who is by the way a good deal more upset about this than I am, and probably you are,  and almost certainly the average American voter is – noted that the Fed spots were being held up as part of the usual I will sit on these nominations until you do what you said you would strategy, noted a little waspishly that “[Shelby] has been more vague about why he is delaying the rest.” I’m not entirely sure why the WSJ is being so peeved over what’s regular Dizzy City business. Possibly because Senator Shelby isn’t going to be the idiot that the WSJ wants him to be and spell it all out for the cameras?

But let’s get to the actual reasons themselves. My assessment here is that Senator Shelby is (as the WSJ notes in the article) indeed keeping his upcoming contested primary in mind, and that he’s using this as a proxy in his fight with the White House over both reforming Dodd-Frank and getting tougher Iranian sanctions.  …Good. I like to see Senators worried about their jobs. I also would like to see the messy kludge that is Dodd-Frank ‘fixed*;’ and goodness knows that the Iranian regime needs a good, solid dose of negative feedback.

But there’s another, perhaps even more relevant reason: [mc_name name=’Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’S000320′ ] may simply feel that the current President of the United States is a gormless nincompoop whose track record of past nominations has been sufficiently abysmal that keeping Barack Obama from confirming anybody else for the next year is a meritorious act of service for the Republic.  But perhaps I am merely misjudging the entire situation; this might not be the Senator’s intent at all. It’s instead just a serendipitous result.


(Image via Shutterstock)

Moe Lane

PS: Always praise a politician when they do something that you want them to do. Yes, even when they’re only doing what they were supposed to be doing, anyway.  It’s Operant Conditioning 101: think of it as the civic equivalent of house-breaking a puppy…

*Yes, read that particular word any way that you like.


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