And so the big deal of the agreement between Democrats and Republicans to stave off rule changes over the filibuster is basically that half a dozen presidential nominees who have been sitting in limbo will get approved. This includes Richard Cordray who was finally approved to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after being blocked for 730 days. For those of you without your abacus, that's two years. To the day. Happy anniversary.
(It's worth whimsically noting that if Republicans had approved the person who President Obama had initially wanted to nominate, Elizabeth Warren, she would not be a U.S. Senator today. And Republican Scott Brown, who she defeated, likely would still be. Instead, not only is Ms. Warren a senator, but her personal recommendation to head the agency, Mr. Cordray, is heading the agency. Note to remember: Beware the Law of Unintended Consequences.)
By the way, it's also worth noting that Richard Cordray was approved by a vote of 66-34, so it wasn't a squeaker. Nearly 20 Republicans who were blocking his approval somehow magically decided overnight that he was just fine after all and voted for him. Go figure.
But of all the commentary there's been about the agreement, one particular passage stood for me, in an article in the Huffington Post by Michael McAuliff --
"The aide said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was no longer involved in talks, but McCain and other Republicans 'are so sick of the gridlock themselves' that they are essentially ready to let Obama have his nominees..."
So sick of the gridlock themselves. And just think, it only took five years.
While I know, as Mitch McConnell said soon after Barack Obama was elected president, that the GOP's Number One priority was to make sure he didn't get re-elected (showing how even at that, their Number One priority, the Party of No can't get anything done), you have to figure that once elected to the United States Senate, men and women of such success, accomplishment, power and ego want to do something, want to use that grand power and authority. It's the whole point of becoming a United States Senator. And to sit around just blocking, blocking, blocking and doing almost absolutely nothing for five years must feel so freaking belittling.
That's because, of course, it is belittling. And they should feel frustrated. And it's about time -- five years -- that these Republicans at last felt sick of the gridlock themselves. So sick, indeed, that it’s worth noting Sen. McConnell – the Senate Minority Leader – was cut almost completely out of the proceedings. Mind you, this is only one small action, and I don't expect it to manifest itself in Republicans in the Senate starting to act for the good of the nation and not just blocking everything unanimously that the president proposes, just because the president proposed it.
But if for just one, brief shining moment, Republicans in the Senate could feel sick themselves, then there just might be a land known as Camelot...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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