Friday, February 12, 2010

Republicans Flex Their New-Found Muscles

This past Tuesday, the Republican Party regained its strength as an effective minority party, and blocked a leftist doctrinaire ideologue from becoming the newest member of the National Labor Relations Board. I covered the reasons behind the importance of blocking this nomination on February 5: Scott Brown In Another Race.

The importance of the election of Scott Brown to the Senate cannot be over-emphasized. A totally dispirited GOP was facing a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate until Brown came along. The election of Brown was both significant and portentous in many ways. Not the least of those is the fact that Brown wanted very much to be involved in the issue of putting the leftist Craig Becker (that's Becker in the middle of the photo) on the NLRB, and pushed his own confirmation hard in order to be able to participate in the debate and vote on the nomination. He kept his word, and the nomination went down to defeat.

Brown has so far turned out to be everything he promised and more. He knew what his intentions toward Becker were, but he listened and participated, then voted against the nomination. On the other hand, a judicial appointment was on the docket. No Obama nomination will ever be conservative, but Brown fully understands that as well as the fact that judicial nominations cannot remain forever in limbo, and that not all judges will be to the Senator's liking. He has indicated he will vote in favor of the nominee, even though Joseph Greenway is to the left of the current U.S. Supreme Court on some major issues. Brown has, in one day, proven that he is a man of his word, and at the same time dispelled any notion that he will be a Republican obstructionist. No mean feat for a senator who has been in Congress less than a week.

Brown's influence, along with the Democrats' loss of their sixty vote supermajority brought other results on the Becker nomination. This time the Senate voted 52 to 33, with Democrats Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson voting with the Republicans. Blue dog Democrats are no longer faced with the choice of voting strictly along party lines while risking losing their constituencies or suffering the wrath of their party for fouling up a filibuster cloture vote. This gives them the out of voting against far-left proposals in order to satisfy the party leaders and the president on the grounds that it would cost them the election back home. This was the first big test of the strength of the new Republican moderate-conservative coalition in Congress.

Republicans have been stalling the Becker nomination for months, largely through "holds" and other parliamentary maneuvers. But as Brown and the other Republicans knew, there could be no more stalling. It was coming to a vote come hell or high water, and Brown was now seated and ready to vote against Becker. It worked. Nebraska has a right to work law, so it's somewhat possible that Sen. Nelson might not have voted for cloture. The seating of Brown gave him blessed relief, so that he could keep what remaining voters he still has in Nebraska and designate the Becker vote as "a lost cause anyway" that he would not risk political suicide over.

This is but one vote in one battle in the ongoing war against Obama statist government. But it was a test of the Republican's new political power, and we can be both proud and grateful that it passed the test with flying colors. We must remember that the Democrats are still the majority part (by a substantial margin until the November elections). Some battles will not be worth the fight, or the accompanying cry of "obstructionism." As a general rule, presidents should be allowed the right to have their nominees confirmed by the Senate unless the nominee is an extremist with his own partisan agenda. Becker fit that definition to the nonce, and the Republicans were right in defeating the nomination.

When another nominee for the NLRB is submitted, it will likely be a somewhat pro-labor candidate. That is the way of politics, and if there is sufficient evidence and testimony that the nominee is neither doctrinaire nor radical, the Republicans should allow the nomination to be confirmed. The NLRB members are supposed to be entirely neutral in making management/labor decisions, but expecting that is simply unrealistic. Just being fair is probably the best one can ask, and in a situation where the arguments are nearly equally valid, it is natural that a Democrat is going to come down on the side of labor. Scott Brown understands this, and I hope and pray that Republicans, and particularly conservatives, don't decide he is a Benedict Arnold if he votes to confirm a Democratic nominee at some time in the future.

14 comments:

HamiltonsGhost said...

Well, I'm constructing this from memory.

Excellent discussion of why Becker had to be defeated, why Brown voted against him, and why Brown might some day feel he had to vote favorably (or at least not join a filibuster) on future nominations. It's tradition to vote for the President's routine nominees, or at least allow them to go forward without using the filibuster. and it isn't a betrayal of either conservatism or the Republican Party.

Lawhawk said...

HamiltonsGhost: That is the way of politics, and blocking every presidential nominee who is "normal" is the very obstructionism that the Democrats are always accusing us of. "Great deference" to the choices the president makes has always been the rule, and it's worked well for two hundred years and prevents paralysis when there are so many other issues to deal with.

That said, I restricted that rule (as does history) to those "who don't hold radical views, or agendas of their own which are destructive to our form of government."

Sad to say, he's done it again. Obama's most recent nomination is for the job of head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). She is an utra-radical who believes that it is her responsibility to make law and ignore precedent wherever it interferes with her re-making of government (fundamentally changing America?). It looks like we're probably in for another nasty battle on this nomination.

NewBenandMe said...

LawHawk. I see your point about Brown and future nominations. I just know we can't count on Obama to nominate people who aren't slightly nuts. That judge you mentioned, maybe, but I'm not holding my breath for the next leftist he tosses at us.

Lawhawk said...

NewBen: See my comment to HamiltonsGhost (above). Obama has already done it.

StanH said...

Great points! We’ve talked about a purity test as political suicide, and indeed it would be. Scott Brown is not our savior, but our beginning - - righting the terrible wrong that the ignorant voters of this country have done. Watch out for a recess appointment, Becker was labor’s golden boy, and Barry and labor are like “peas and carrots.

AndrewPrice said...

I think that the big thing about Brown's victory is that the "moderate" Democrats now have an excuse for not voting party lines -- because they "know they can't overcome a filibuster." So I think we're going to see more and more Democrats breaking away.

Lawhawk said...

Andrew: I fully agree. The filibuster cloture threat was all they had to push through their stream of horrible appointments and legislation, and now they can debate in a civil manner and take an up or down vote. That, as you say, gives the Democrats an out for acting reasonably for a change instead of acting like a stampeding herd of cattle.

StanH said...

You’re right we have a speed bump! But it’s important that the voters in these states with Blue Dogs remember, there is no such thing as a moderate Democrat. Put them back in, turn your back, instant Marxist. The point is we must pay close attention.

Lawhawk said...

StanH: I really think the three shocks at the special elections are going to make some of those Democrats behave like moderates, even if they really aren't. We'll probably learn more about them if the nomination of the new head of OLC heats up, which I suspect it will.

BevFromNYC said...

Anyone want to speculate why Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D/RI) wont' be seeking reelection ? I know he has had a lot of personal problems in the last few years.

Writer X said...

I wonder if Obama will continue to nominate these left of center (left of anything) candidates, given his plummeting poll ratings and lack of confidence within his own party. Does he believe that people will stop paying attention?

LawHawkSF said...

Bev: He either sobered up, or he didn't sober up and didn't realize what he was doing. Either is fine with me, as long as he's gone.

LawHawkSF said...

WriterX: I genuinely think Obama just can't help himself. In his insular world, those Marxists he keeps appointing are "centrists." I'll cover one of them, Dawn Johnsen, on Monday. And the reason he is constantly mugging for the cameras is not that he understands, but rather he thinks he needs to make his points clearer for us dumb peasants.

DCAlleyKat said...

Anyone want to speculate why Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D/RI) wont' be seeking reelection ? I know he has had a lot of personal problems in the last few years.


IMO...Uncle Ted isn't around to 'fix' things for him. And the new Dem power people aren't interested in anything 'Kennedy'.

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