Thursday, January 22, 2009

Because They Can

While there are fewer Republicans in the 111th Congress than there were in the 110th, those there have not changed their way of doing business. They continue to obstruct, daring the Democratic majority to try and stop them, and when the Democrats point to the obstructionism, the Republicans howl "Partisanship!"

This week the Senate was about the work of confirming President Obama's various cabinet nominations, none of whom were particularly startling or contentious. That apparently didn't matter. Sen. Cornyn put a hold on Hillary Clinton's nomination as Secretary of State for no real reason. That her husband's foundation accepted foreign donations was never a secret. That Ms. Clinton has little if anything to with her husband's foundation was clear. That didn't matter. Sen. Cornyn put the hold on because he could, and he removed it only after it was made clear that it was he who had done so.

Now it's Eric Holder's turn to stand and wait. Arlen Specter and his cronies on the Senate Judiciary Committee have demanded a one week delay of the confirmation vote, according to the NY Times.

Republicans say they need more time to collect information about Mr. Holder’s role in a number of issues during his time at the Justice Department under President Bill Clinton, including Mr. Clinton’s 2001 pardon of the fugitive financier Marc Rich, and about Mr. Holder’s positions on several major counterterrorism issues.

Seven hours of testimony and reams of written questions and answers should be enough, as Sen. Leahy, the chair of the committee pointed out, but that would deprive the Republicans of their constitutional right to wave their private parts as US Senators (by gawd!), so the new President will have to wait for a key member of his team.

This kind of behavior comes as no real surprise. What Republicans mean by bipartisanship is that when they are out of power, they still get everything they want. We know that, and Congressional Democrats certainly should, at least by this time. That said, it's time for the Congressional Democrats to act like the majority party. The fact is that because of our system, we have partisanship. The people of this country elected more Democrats than Republicans this time around for a reason, something both parties should keep in mind.

Let the little in-the-minority pissant whiners whine, stamp their feet, and delay a vote once or twice, and then get on with the work of the nation. Steamroller the recalcitrant as necessary. That's what the people of this country expect.

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