OLC And The US Senate: Nightmares From The Chamber Of Snorers

Oh, good lord.  Save me from this idiocy and self-inflicted wound licking from the bipartisan zombie crew.

First, via Joe Sudbay’s rapier sharp analysis, we have this example of gen-u-whine genius from Sen. Max Baucus:

Now, if I was a Republican, I’d be laughing my ass off right now. Max Baucus is basically writing the t.v. ads for the opponents of health care reform. If he gets Obama to commit, ads will start running showing Obama saying he wouldn’t tax benefits. That’ll freak out the White House and the Democrats on the Hill. Also, if Obama breaks his campaign promise, Republicans will paint him as just another politician. That will surely damage the brand — Obama can only screw over so many constituencies before he does look like just another craven pol.

I don’t expect Max Baucus to have any strategic sense. He’s been in the Senate too long. But, doesn’t anyone in that body have a lick of political sense? For christ sakes, in 2006, there were 55 Republicans. Now, there are 40. Democrats have been winning because they promised to solve problems — like health care. The American people aren’t hoping that Baucus gets Republican votes. They want the damn problems solved.

Amen, brother.

But reading that in tandem with this from Roll Call (via Think Progress) regarding continued intransigence on Dawn Johnsen’s OLC nomination, just sent me through the fricking roof:

I would hope that people would search their conscience and try to get these done,” Reid said, explaining that procedural motions that he could employ to clear the nominees would eat up too much floor time. “It would take until the summer, until we finish the July recess and beyond, for us to get this done, filing cloture on every one of these. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Yes, heaven forbid you go to the mattresses for a highly qualified candidate on principle or anything. More cheesiness with that tepid whine?

History hates you when you preside over a self-inflicted train wreck. Especially when it’s one you’ve already inflicted on yourself once before.

The Democratic "leadership" (and I use that term loosely) and the Obama White House political team had better get their act together on these procedural failures of will. And quickly.

Because squandering a responsibility to govern — well and wisely — may be unforgivable given the crushing weight of so many enormous problems bearing down on average Americans all at one time.

There is no reason not to approve Dawn Johnsen, other than a lack of political will on the part of a whole host of people who simply lack the skill, the savvy or the interest to get the job done.

We all deserve better than benign neglect. All of us. 

22 Responses to "OLC And The US Senate: Nightmares From The Chamber Of Snorers"
Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday June 16, 2009 06:51 am 1

Morning all — who has the coffee?

oldgold | Tuesday June 16, 2009 07:11 am 2

Is it the people or the system that results in our government being so damn unresponsive?

I am afraid it is the system. Until we rethink how campaigns are financed and change the procedural rules in the Senate to reflect the needs of the 21st century, prepare to grind your teeth.

RevBev | Tuesday June 16, 2009 07:24 am 3

I think it was Moyers this past week having a nauseating commentary on the force and $$ of lobbists. We know it’s out there; maybe no real appreciation of how much. Yesterday Amy Goodman gave a list of some of the ties between the “deciders” (including some wives) and the insurance world. All rotten stuff.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday June 16, 2009 07:41 am 4
In response to oldgold @ 2

I do think that campaign finance is a big key in a lot of this. The problem is that the very people who benefit most from inertia on that are the self-same people who would have to legislate change. Which makes things incredibly difficult on the hows and whens…

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday June 16, 2009 07:42 am 5
In response to RevBev @ 3

It’s incredibly difficult to keep track of, too, because there is just such an overwhelming amount of it constantly — relentlessly — and greedily.

rickpetes | Tuesday June 16, 2009 01:22 pm 6

I head a friend suggest that our congress people be required to wear NASCAR uniforms bearing the logos of their “sponsors”. Of course, it would be a lot of logos for some of them,so maybe only the logos of the top ten or fifteen “sponsors”. Anybody here good with Photoshop? Maybe start with the senate since there’s only a 100 of them?

rickpetes | Tuesday June 16, 2009 01:23 pm 7

“I heard”…Proof read, then hit post.

oldgold | Tuesday June 16, 2009 02:33 pm 8
In response to rickpetes @ 6

That is the best and funniest idea I have heard in a while. It has the makings of a contest matching a sponsor[s] to a Senator or Represenative.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday June 16, 2009 05:53 pm 9
In response to rickpetes @ 6

I LUV that as an idea. Mind if I use it? *G*

Punkster | Wednesday June 17, 2009 04:45 pm 10

Totally OT – I’m watching P.J. O’Rourke vs. Howard Dean on Hardball, and P.J. O’Rourke is absolutely hug the toilet and beg the world to stop whirling shitfaced DRUNK!

Even Chris Matthews is nonplussed…

Cujo359 | Wednesday June 17, 2009 04:47 pm 11
In response to rickpetes @ 6

Good idea. I suspect we’d see a pattern, with many of the top financial and defense contractors heavily represented on the fenders, er, coats, of the Senators involved.

Cujo359 | Wednesday June 17, 2009 04:55 pm 12

Re: the Norm Ornstein article in the article’s last link, I think he’s hit things on the head. I normally try to maintain a civil tongue, but Congress’s and the Administration’s performance on the health care issue prompted this outburst two weeks ago. Sadly, most of my predictions are coming true…

What’s really sad is that it’s in the Democrats’ best interests to perform well on some of these issues, and they don’t seem to recognize this fact. Lack of understanding of one’s own self-interest is a tough thing for others to correct.

UnkaWillbur | Wednesday June 17, 2009 05:04 pm 13

I mean, is this really any surprise?

On stopping the war in Iraq, on government transparency, on constitutional rights, on the Rule of Law, on civil rights for LGBT folks, on finance and on energy, the Obama administration, aided and abetted by the right-wing majority in congress has reneged on every significant campaign promise they’ve made, and it’s not six months into this sham of a presidency.

Can anyone actually name any Obama policy that is significantly different from that of his predecessor?

Progressives need to start NOW to get both the Cowardly Lion and his fellow travelers in the right-wing (majority) of the Democratic party unelected from both congress and the White House. Otherwise, we deserve the drubbing we get, for acting like the worst kind of patsies.

tbsa | Wednesday June 17, 2009 05:06 pm 14

I definitely voted for Obama and every democratic candidate since I’ve been able to vote. In the last month I have come to realize there is no possibility of solving any of this county’s problems because the corporations own the country and they only care about people to the extent that they can use them to get a tighter grip on power and money.

Hugh | Wednesday June 17, 2009 05:16 pm 15

It should be very clear by now that Obama and the Democrats fight for what they want and don’t fight for what they don’t care about. What they do care about are mostly Republican ideas. Progressive ideas, not at all. The surprise is that Dawn Johnsen was ever nominated. That Obama and Reid are allowing her nomiation to twist slowly in the wind is none at all.

The main reason why I am a progressive is because I want fair solutions to our nation’s problems but I want ones that work. In abandoning progressives, Obama has also turned his back on real workable solutions. Given his track record so far and his consistency, despite the rhetoric, to embrace conservative positions across the board, I don’t see how his Presidency can be successful. His policies are designed to fail and will fail. I would have liked Obama to succeed, not because of him, but because the country needs for him to be successful. But it isn’t going to happen.

earlofhuntingdon | Wednesday June 17, 2009 05:23 pm 16

The Democratic leadersheep, baaa’ed by Harry Reidless, hopes that soul searching among his Senatorial brethren and sisteren will lead them to adopt an agenda – approval of nominations, in this case – that it’s not willing to fight for?

Now even Harry understands a few things about politics. Which means that he’s telling his colleagues two things: Not to worry their pretty little heads over staffing the DoJ that Bush figuratively just burnt to the ground. One, no one of consequence – not the head the permanent head the OLC desperately needs or replacements for any of dozens of USA’s – will be coming up for a vote until after the county fairs are over and Senator Swines see how much was ladled into their troughs over the summer. And two, that competently staffing the DoJ is not what Obama wants done. Otherwise he’d be making phone calls and having Rahm Baby arm-twist like he was collecting bad debts for Scarface Al.

Getting done what the people want done: what Democrats fear more than Republicans.

tk1200 | Wednesday June 17, 2009 05:48 pm 17
In response to rickpetes @ 6

I don’ t know exactly where your friend heard/read about the NASCAR idea, but I know I can take credit for it. I was either blind drunk at the time or cold stone sober, it’s hard to say which. I tend to start out sober and then find that only tremendous amounts of alcohol can get you through more than a few minutes of that circle of hell known as Yahoo answers.

But to sum up the current situation: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” We may have won the Congress and the Presidency but we have no leaders who are equal to the enormous task of adapting America to 21st century realities. The people are ahead of their political leaders, and our leaders instead of taking up the gauntlet and fighting for what the people need and want are content to navel gaze and practice their Hamlet. I can hear Harry Reid intone: “To be or not to be. That is the question. Whether it is nobler to……”

I am tired of this shit. Shit from individuals who are eager claim the mantle of leadership, and then time and again explain why this or that can’t possibly be done. We are inundated with bullshit artists, and I’m tired of it.

oldgold | Wednesday June 17, 2009 05:55 pm 18
In response to Hugh @ 15

His policies are designed to fail and will fail.

Do you really believe that ?

questioneverything | Wednesday June 17, 2009 06:29 pm 19

“Now if I was a Republican. . . .” He IS a Republican. We really need to get to 75 Dems in the Senate to wash out the effects of Baucus, et al.

laurenc | Wednesday June 17, 2009 09:51 pm 20

John Edwards tried to warn us that he learned power does not willingly negotiate, and that it had to be challenged head-on: he named the pharmaceutical companies and insurance lobbyists, and they found a way to destroy him. But before that, naiive progressives had chosen a candidate who believes in compromise. Have you heard the latest horror about his EPA Chief?

MarkH | Wednesday June 17, 2009 10:48 pm 21
In response to Punkster @ 10

I thought that was when PJ was at his best. Oy

MarkH | Wednesday June 17, 2009 10:51 pm 22
In response to UnkaWillbur @ 13

Well, for one, the prez takes all the credit & blame instead of blaming problems on his Veep. Most other things haven’t been worked out yet, so we have to wait.

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