Friday, May 18, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Dwayne Hickman, 78. Hey, I didn't know he was in the "Clueless" TV series. Guess that's another reason to watch it some day. I just saw something with him, Frankie Avalon, and Vincent Price...yes, I know, I should be watching things that I can write posts about, but I couldn't pass up that cast.

On to the good stuff:

1. Sarah Binder on the latest Senate innovation -- forget the cloture vote and just agree to require 60 votes for passage or confirmation. She's not thrilled with it on nominations.

2. And Sarah also on my post about recess appointments and the Fed confirmations.

3. Jonathan Cohn on the fraud of "replace." 

4. The state of the Romney foreign policy team, and what it means for a Romney presidency, from Dan Drezner.

5. And there was another campaign kerfuffle yesterday, which practically everyone wrote about. Some of it was good, some not as exciting, but the one that was really worth reading was from Matt Yglesias. See also a useful follow-up from Dave Weigel.


  1. Jonathan, your comment in Kliff's piece notes that "So far, no one has been confirmed who is actually opposed by 41 or more Senators". Shouldn't a President, having the threat of recess appointments (and thus forcing through less palatable nominees), always and in every case get a yes vote for a 60-senator nominee? Shouldn't that have been true for Obama, or any President, from day 1 of their term?

    From here in the cheap seats, this 'breaking of the logjam' feels like damning Obama with faint praise. Its described as though he has added a feature; in reality he seems only to have removed an embarrassingly bad bug.

    This is also interesting against the backdrop of the constant laments about what a bunch of ne'er-do-wells the Republicans are. Remember those comic books you read as a kid? The inside back cover always had an ad for the Charles Atlas body building system, which featured the transformation of a 98-pound weakling getting sand kicked in his face.

    It sometimes seems like the liberals who complain about righty intransigence never read those comic books, since if they did, they would have been confused about why the 98-pound weakling didn't respond by just complaining that the mean old muscle-bound guy on the beach wasn't nicer.

    1. Well, in some abstract sense, sure they "should" be able to get votes on all non-controversial nominees, but in fact it turns out that it's quite possible to block them. Yes, I think Obama should have responded way back in spring '09 by threatening wholesale recess appointments, and Reid should have responded with rapid cloture petitions (and leaving the Senate in on nights and weekends if Republicans insisted on using up floor time). Note though that there are disadvantages of using recess appointments, but yeah, they should have threatened them and used them if necessary -- and not just on the non-controversial exec branch nominees.


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