Independents Gaining Ground In 2010?

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Democrats, Elections, Independents, Republicans

USA Today highlights an interesting trend that may be good news for the centrists, indies, moderate repubs and moderate dems out there.

A taste…

WARWICK, R.I. — Lincoln Chafee comes from a long line of Rhode Island governors, three in the previous four generations, all of them Republicans. Now the former Republican senator and mayor of Warwick is running for governor himself.

As an independent.

No independent has been elected to lead a state for more than a decade, since pro wrestler-turned-politician Jesse “The Body” Ventura became governor of Minnesota in 1999.

But this year there are three credible independent contenders for governor — a record. [...]

The other two are Tim Cahill, and indy turned Dem who’s running against incumbent Dem Gov Deval Patrick in Massachusetts, and Eliot Cutler, a Dem (who was briefly registered with the GOP) turned Indy who’s running for Governor in Maine. Cutler was a former Carter administration energy official who also helped craft the Clean Water and Clean Air acts while he was a legislative assistant under Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine.

Also, let’s not forget Charlie Crist, who’s now leading in a three way race in Florida for that Senate seat.

I think we all realized that this was coming sooner rather than later, especially with the Joe Lieberman situation. He was one of the first to switch to the middle after his party rejected him…and it seems like he’s been having a pretty good time in the middle. True, a lot of hardcore Dems hate him, but he still toes the party line a majority of the time so Dems might want to wise up. Especially since it’s likely that Romney will be the Rep candidate in 2012 and Lieberman could easily support Obama under those circumstances.

But to get back to the point…

Again, this writing has been on the wall for years. People hate party politics. And even though Fox News and the far right wing have co-opted the Tea Party, what we’re seeing as a result of these primaries is that people don’t want to go with the status quo. 2010 is a bad year for incumbents, be they Dems or Repubs. Most likely this will hit the Dems more because they make up the majority, but the mood is universally “throw the bums out.” Voters see the inherent flaws in being tied to this ideology or that, because politics has always been about the art of the compromise, and these newly minted independent politicians could actually deliver a new path forward.

But will people actually vote for an Indy?

Well…

Sixty percent of those surveyed in the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll say they are very or somewhat likely to vote for an independent candidate this fall, signaling at the least an openness to the idea.

“These are bad economic conditions and an extreme public disenchantment with the major parties,” says Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution and a former political science professor at Brown, in Providence. “That creates an opportunity for independent candidates.”

What’s unfortunate is that the Tea Partiers would be electing people who are far more likely to just be another cog in the right wing machine, as opposed to true independent thinkers. Well, let me back up. It’s not unfortunate because, as mentioned, the net effect may be politicians who are now not tied to any party and can make the best decisions.

Still, we’re not naive. We know that palms will still be greased and backs will still be slapped, but at least it appears we’re moving in a better direction.

So…who will you be voting for in the Fall?


This entry was posted on Saturday, July 10th, 2010 and is filed under Democrats, Elections, Independents, Republicans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

23 Responses to “Independents Gaining Ground In 2010?”

  1. Jim Satterfield Says:

    Justin, you know where we live there are no moderate Republicans to vote for. Even if one wanted to it would still have the downside of contributing to the power of the current Republican leadership, which should be anathema to anyone who cares about having people in office who want to get things done when we need them. Libertarians are fools, IMO, whose only competition for the title of “Most Ignorant of Reality” are communists. So looking at who is going to be running for things I can vote for it will be the Democrats. I largely quit voting for Republicans after St. Ronny tried to persuade me that he could cut taxes, increase military spending and still balance the budget.

  2. mw Says:

    What? Jim is voting a straight Dem ticket? Shocker!

    And Justin thinks that Independents are only truly independent when they vote as a “cog” in the left wing machine? Double Shocker!

    I’m voting for the restraint, moderation, and oversight we get with divided government. If we elect a divided government in the fall, I’ll vote for the re-election of Barack Obama to keep it in 2012.

  3. Simon Says:

    Jim, it’s conceited nonsense to say, as you implicitly do, that “the current Republican leadership … [doesn't] want to get things done when we need them.” The leadership is against doing certain things that you want done, and that frankly I want done. That’s different. So your comment in fact boils down to something more workaday: “why would anyone who supports the Obama/Pelosi agenda supply the Republican leadership, which opposes that agenda, with more votes?” Why indeed, but that is a point that preaches only to the choir. For those who do not support the Obama/Pelosi agenda–no serious Republican, moderate or otherwise, does, and but a dwindling number of independents do–bolstering the votes of the caucus that opposes the leadership is precisely the idea.

    Actually, a candidate that was pledged against “get[ting] things done” would be worth serious consideration. The constant drumbeat for more change, more legislation, more action is understandable in view of the institutional configuration of Congress (there is terrific pressure that WE be the ones who fix this problem, that we fix it now, and that we fix it comprehensively for all time), but it isn’t terribly healthy. A congress (in the sense of a two-year iteration of the institution of Congress) that was engaged and studying issues, yet passed no legislation all, or a candidate who was pledged to vote against all legislation whose need was not categorically established by a clear legislative record, might be a healthy thing.

    There are a lot of statutes in need of repeal, perhaps a few to enact, but a brief pause for reflection, evaluation, and study–a sabbatical congress, if you will–could do us good.

  4. Tweets that mention Donklephant » Blog Archive » Independents Gaining Ground In 2010? -- Topsy.com Says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Justin Gardner. Justin Gardner said: DONKLEPHANT: Independents Gaining Ground In 2010? http://ow.ly/1856S5 [...]

  5. Jim Satterfield Says:

    I judge the current Republican leadership by their actions. How many positions remain vacant because the Republicans refuse to let their appointments proceed for no good reason? The truth is that if it has anything to do with this Democratic president they vote against it. That is not principled opposition, just political gamesmanship.

    mw, there is no moderation produced by keeping the current crop of Republicans in office. Notice that if a Republican tries to work with a Democrat on reasonable compromise on issues the odds are pretty good right now that they will be opposed by a Tea Party candidate and lose their party’s nomination. Look at Utah and South Carolina. Your position on divided government is an anachronism based on a Republican Party that no longer exists.

  6. kranky kritter Says:

    I am strongly considering a vote for Cahill, but he’s lagging in 3rd and stands to be a spoiler guaranteeing Deval Patrick’s re-election. I do think Cahill has shown a genuine independent bent. I liked him as treasurer and think he’s an independent now because he wasn’t a good insider ballplayer for the democrats.

    Haven’t heard much about Chafee’s new bid. But I got the impression he wasn’t especially well like by Rhode Islanders over time…that he was viewed as bit of a bullshitting opportunist. But I don’t know that much about him other than what some folks have said.

    I am eager to vote for truly independent-thinking leaders. But I am leery of washed-up former insiders who are no more than opportunists looking for some way back onto the teat. These are the folks to watch out for…for example, if Blagojevich somehow gets acquitted, he’s a shoo-in to try an independent candidacy for something, because he’s a narcissist with no discernible skills besides back-slapping.

    Jim, it’s conceited nonsense to say, as you implicitly do, that “the current Republican leadership … [doesn't] want to get things done when we need them.” The leadership is against doing certain things that you want done, and that frankly I want done. That’s different.

    That’s another way to look at it. But either way, it’s pretty clear that the GOP is playing obstructionism to the hilt, and Americans who want action on various issues are correct to perceive that the GOP is in favor of inaction instead of action by the majority party in most cases.

    The ability to filibuster is not supposed to be used to stop everything the minority party doesn’t like. That kind of brinksmanship is ugly and unseemly, even if a decent principle can be found to hide behind.

    For example, the GOP has repeatedly stopped passage of a bill (HR4213) renewing extended benefits for jobless folks so that if they are still unemployed when state benefits end, they can get federal help for awhile. It’s not unprincipled at all of the GOP to want the renewal to be paid for, and to have more spending kept out of the bill. But…

    But they’re the minority, and still-jobless Americans deserve help just bailed out big companies got, and just like Americans who received extended benefits before they expired. The extension is important, and Americans deserve it. When push comes to shove, the GOP, as the minority, doesn’t have the right to hold up the extension because they don’t like how the democrats want to do it.

    Right now, the GOp deserves its reputation of being the party of :our way, or over our dead bodies.” After all, politically speaking, the latter can be arranged. Right now, the allegedly independent but filibuster-sustaining Scott Brown stands zero chance of getting my vote for re-election. He’s behaving like a tool. Full disclosure. I’m one of the folks Scott Brown is leaving in the SOL category.

  7. Simon Says:

    I agree with KK on Chafee and his ilk.

    Jim Satterfield Says:

    I judge the current Republican leadership by their actions. How many positions remain vacant because the Republicans refuse to let their appointments proceed for no good reason?

    None. Those positions remain vacant because the GOP leadership don’t like the people nominated by the President to those positions. That you or I might disagree with their assessment changes nothing. Take Dawn Johnson, for example, O’s nominee to the OLC. Perhaps you love Dawn. Our man O did. But the GOP didn’t, so they opposed her confirmation. (There’s no political cachet to playing games with the OLC nomination, so one doesn’t even have to presume good faith, as you should, to reject the claim that it isn’t principled opposition.)

    You can characterize the vacancy as being caused by the GOP’s refusal to confirm the President’s nominee, but you can equally characterize it as being caused by the President’s refusal to nominate someone who is confirmable. You can spin it either way. The fact of the matter, though, is simply that the President is nominating people that the leadership doesn’t like. There’s nothing unprincipled about his nomination or their rejection.

    One other thing: There’s certainly merit to the proposition (Senator Lieberman has advanced it in floor speeches, for example) that the Senate should afford Presidents exceedingly broad latitude in making executive branch appointments. I tend to agree. In fact, the stronger a version of the unitary executive one supports, either normatively or constitutionally, the stronger the argument for Senate deference becomes. But the Democrats are in no position to make that argument given their obstructionism to the last President’s appointments and nominal opposition to the unitary executive.

    At risk of butting into your conversation with MW, it’s striking how you use the same one-sided spin in that context to. Just as it’s all about the GOP delaying confirmations, it’s the GOP that is pinned by its fringe. And yet one has only to look at the nearly, nearly successful attempt to dump Blanche Lincoln. So we could invert your remark without any loss of precision or accuracy: “there is no moderation produced by keeping the current crop of Democrats in office. Notice that if a Democrat tries to work with a Republican on reasonable compromise on issues the odds are pretty good right now that they will be opposed by a progressive candidate and lose their party’s nomination. Look at Arkansas or Connecticut.” At most, we can conclude that either the tea party has just a little more traction in GOP primaries than progressives have in Dem primaries, or by sheer chance the establishment candidates have been just that little bit stronger in the Dem primaries.

  8. Simon Says:

    KK:

    That’s another way to look at it. But either way, it’s pretty clear that the GOP is playing obstructionism to the hilt, and Americans who want action on various issues are correct to perceive that the GOP is in favor of inaction instead of action by the majority party in most cases.

    I can’t even agree with that. The GOP is against acting on proposals that will make America worse. Duh. So are the Dems. We just disagree on the wisdom of certain actions. They are being “obstructionist” in the sense that they are using the tools available to them to preserve America from policies they regard as destructive, but not in the sense that I think you and Jim have in mind, which is reflexive opposition for partisan gain alone.

    For instance: How many votes were there against confirming General Petraeus recently? When Obama proposes something that is smart and good for the country, the GOP supports him. I think that if the Dems brought a bill that extended unemployment benefits, and which only did that, for example, it would pass with but a handful of dissenting votes. They have blocked the bill, as I understand it, because the Dems insist on larding it with other things in the hope that public pressure will blackmail the GOP into letting the riders go by. (Both sides do this with military appropriations bills on a similar theory.) Jim’s obstructionism theory can’t account for such facts. Which means it’s wrong.

    The ability to filibuster is not supposed to be used to stop everything the minority party doesn’t like.

    Indeed, but there is merit to the idea that a unified opposition, even if commanding fewer than a majority, can throw a spanner in the works in the hope that cooler heads will prevail. (That point has stronger force when you have more parties–it would be particularly appropriate in the British Parliament, for example–but it isn’t useless in a two-party system where the parties are big tent enterprises with many fault lines.)

    The filibuster isn’t a constitutional privilege, of course, but it’s in beautiful harmony with the Constitutional design, which is written in the key of delay. It isn’t minority rule, as a recent column at HuffPo remarked conclusorily, but a minority veto. It should be used sparingly, and the GOP has probably overused it recently. But there are two sides to that coin, too. As I’ve remarked before, the increased incidence of filibusters doesn’t necessarily imply greater opposition by the minority party, and can instead reflect greater activism by the majority party in pushing through a large and controversial agenda.

  9. Jim Satterfield Says:

    Simon, using one person as an example when there are over a hundred being blocked is asinine. Look at the nominee for head of HHS. An extremely well qualified person who the Republicans are just using as another way to obstruct the Obama administration.

  10. Chris Says:

    Lol simon you’re such a tool.

  11. Edith H Says:

    What gives with the Democrat party? They could have been the heroes and opted to be duds. I have just been listening to the thoughts of Governors participating in their national meeting in Boston. There is some real talent at the state level and some decent economic insights by most of the speakers of both parties. I know, because I am finely attuned to listening for pragmatic workable solutions to the erosion of American economic competitiveness and to the decline in sustainable jobs. To be frank, it’s all I care about, and I believe, if this is solved, all else is manageable. The good news is, that at the state level, there are some really competent and effective people wrestling with and working through these problems, often with great success. The bad news is that they are at the state level; at the federal level we are saddled with ineffectual nitwits who are blinded by passe ideologies. Obama has revived my preference for gridlock, so I, for one, will vote accordingly.

  12. Simon Says:

    Jim, I don’t know how many are being “blocked,” and I don’t know anything about the HHS nominee. But the GOP leadership do, and they’ve evidently decided that they shouldn’t be confirmed. Your assumption is that it’s gamesmanship, but there’s no reason to suppose that beyond your distaste for the GOP. Which isn’t too convincing.

    And even if we assumed arguendo that the leadership is using particular nominees as proxies in a broader strategy of “obstruct[ing] the Obama administration,” that would still not support your assertions that “Republicans refuse to let their appointments proceed for no good reason” and are against “get[ting] things done when we need them.” Stopping or slowing down this administration are “good reasons” for those who, not unreasonably, believe that this administration is intent on making America worse.

  13. Tully Says:

    Look at the nominee for head of HHS. An extremely well qualified person who the Republicans are just using as another way to obstruct the Obama administration.

    Um, Jim? Leaving aside ALL arguments as to “well qualified,” no one blocked Kathleen Sebelius’ nomination. She was nominated on March 2 2009, sailed through hearings, was confirmed April 28 2009, assumed office as “head of HHS” April 29 2009, and isn’t leaving anytime soon.

    Les than convincing, indeed.

  14. mw Says:

    @Tully,@Jim,@Simon
    Jim was presumably referring to Obama’s recess appointment of Donald Berwick as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

    This is an interesting case because it exposes the truly cynical and Machiavellian politics at the heart of this Axelrodd/Rahm White House. They are adept at recognizing when and where they have a political weakness, and launching a preemptive spin attack to control the framing in the MSM while signaling talking points to the Obamites. I wouldn’t call it “dog whistles” – more like conducting a marching band.

    I am going to just stipulate that Donald Berwick is eminently qualified for this position. He would certainly be confirmed. The problem for the administration is not Berwick. The problem is Obamacare.

    The accusations of “Republican Obstructionism” is pure smokescreen. This is all about the most “transparent” administration in history wanting to avoid a public hearing for this appointment at all cost.

    The reason is simple. Donald Berwick has in the past spoken clearly and plainly about the requirement to ration healthcare under Obamacare:

    “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open”

    “Most metropolitan areas in the United States should reduce the number of centers engaging in cardiac surgery, high-risk obstetrics, neonatal intensive care, organ transplantation, tertiary cancer care, high-level trauma care, and high-technology imaging.” – Donald Berwick

    He has spoken publicly with admiration about the British Healthcare system and the NICE board and has said he would like aspects of that system to be emulated here. In a public hearing he would be asked about all these statements and need to make his position clear for the American people. The likelihood of ripping off the scab on Democratic Obamacare wounds was very high. A public confirmation could not be permitted to happen.

    Now I am not arguing with anything Berwick says. Most of what he says is true (excluding admiration for the UK system) once you buy into a vastly expanded publicly funded healthcare system with limited resources to pay for it all. But the Obama administration has decided that the American people can’t handle the truth, so there will be no confirmation hearing. Now they can’t say that hiding him from public inquiry is the reason for the recess appointment. So instead they play the Axelrod/Rahm “Republican Obstructionism” tune on the Pied Piper flute – and the MSM and Obamites merrily dance to the tune.

    Charles Krauthammer explains it.

  15. mw Says:

    “Obama has revived my preference for gridlock, so I, for one, will vote accordingly.” – Edith H

    Music to my ears.

  16. Edith H Says:

    Hey MW: Are you from Chicago?

  17. Tully Says:

    But mw, he can’t be talking about Berwick. No one was blocking Berwick’s appointment. (Though I largely agree with your assessment otherwise.)

    In any case, Berwick would be a VERY poor example to use to whine about obstructionism for other reasons. Namely, the reason the position of CMMS director has been open since late 2006 is that the incoming Dem Senate majority flatly refused to even schedule hearings for Bush’s appointee to replace McLellan, Kerry Weems.

    As gfor these purported hundreds of other blocked appointments, I can’t wait to hear the details on how a GOP minority in the Senate can block hearings when all the committees are controlled by Democrats. The only way they can block appointments is by filibuster. I don’t suppose Jim would care to point to those hundreds of specific filibusters….

  18. kranky kritter Says:

    Simon it’s fair-minded of you to concede that the filibuster has been overused. The question is where the line should be drawn, We agree the usage should be rare, I am willing to accept such a tactic for something like healthcare because it’s a very large, very expensive, and likely enduring change. To the extent that the filibuster is to be deemed acceptable, I think such epic circumstances are the place where it’s acceptable. But something like HR 4213? Nope, Even if they have a good argument about the method of financing, they don’t have the votes. They’re putting themselves in the ugly spot of appearing to suddenly want to teach congress not to overspend at a point when everyday folks really need the help.

    Filibustering and blocking appointments are related congressional tactic in my mind, because they are both informal but traditional mechanisms which are both arguably not part of the intent behind how the system was supposed to work. They’ve evolved from the nuts and bolts of repeated political pissing contests over time.BTW, Tully, that hearings or votes haven’t been scheduled could mean any number of things for any given nominee. The majority party might not bother to schedule a hearing if one senator has put a hold on a nomination, for example. Ask Bill Weld, for example.

    I’m not especially interested in assigning party blame for unfilled positions. Both parties have always played like partisan d-bags, so both parties deserve to be despised for their collective failure to act in good faith to fill appointment positions in a timely manner.

    I agree with the idea that the President deserves more latitude than he gets. In particular, presidential nominees deserve an up or down vote. They deserve not to be blocked or held by one senator, and they deserve not to be kept from a full vote by some small group via any parliamentary or informal mechanism.

    As long as nominees are routinely held up, congress makes itself look like a jerk store. As long as they behave like that jerk store, I’m strongly inclined to give each President complete benefit of the doubt whenever he does an end run around congress. That applies to all Presidents.

    Confirmation of presidential appointments by congress should be roeformed. If an appointee is objectionable enough to be denied a position, it should be done by demonstrating that the objections are valid, and having congress vote down the appointee.

    That’s a simple straightforward concept that all Americans can grasp and accept. That congress has so blithely moved away from this idea in favor of personal privilege and party politics is a very good example of how out of touch with their actual jobs they have become.

  19. Tully Says:

    Disingenuous sophistry, KK.

    Tully, that hearings or votes haven’t been scheduled could mean any number of things for any given nominee. The majority party might not bother to schedule a hearing if one senator has put a hold on a nomination, for example

    Holds do not stop nomination hearings from being held. They prevent floor votes from being held without a cloture vote AFTER a nominee has been reported out of committee. I note once again that the GOP is not the majority party in the Senate, so equivocations and rationalizations about how the majority party can hold up a nomination are 100% off point when applied to Obama nominations that have not reached the hearings stage. The Dems hold a majority in the Senate, on all committees, hold all committee chairmanships, and can move any nomination right up to, through, and out of committee without a single GOP vote, regardless of any holds.

    The only place Republicans can hold up a nominee right now is after hearings have been held and the nominee reported out of committee. Berwick’s nomination was NOT held up by Republicans — he never even returned the standard vetting questionaire to the committee. He is about the worst possible example one could use to rant about holds placed by the minority.

    FWIW, I don’t a problem with the President (ANY President) making recess appointments of nominees who have been through hearings and been reported out of committee but have been stalled from going to a vote AND who have sufficient support to clear a simple-majority floor vote in the Senate but cannot clear a cloture/filibuster vote. Such nominees have already gone through the vetting process and have the “advice and consent” of a majority of the Senate, just not a filibuster-proof super-majority of 60 votes. One can argue about the merits of obstruction in such cases, but the merits as such fall outside of majority advice and consent rules.

    But listening to someone piss and moan about those evil Republicans holding up all these “hundreds” of nominations while using Berwick as an example is complete and utter hyperbole. 80% of Obama’s nominees have been confirmed, a few dozen more are in process, and perhaps two dozen more tops are being “held.” Dozens more positions are open, with the White House having made NO nominations for them. Berwick was placed by recess appointment specifically to avoid public hearings related to ObamaCare during election season, not because of any hold by the GOP.

    Obama blamed the GOP for holding up Berwick’s appointment when they had no power to do so at that stage in the process, when he had not even been through hearings — indeed, the Democrat-controlled committee had not even scheduled hearings. Who is to blame for your own party not scheduling confirmation hearings when your party has the power to do so? Hmm?

    Of note is that of the three recess appointments Obama made that day, one of them (Gotbaum) was being “held ” by a Democrat, Sherrod Brown. Gotbaum and Coyle had both been reported out of committee. And am I the only one who remembers that Harry Reid kept the Senate in pro forma session for two full years (2007-2008) to prevent any Bush recess appointments from being made?

    Pot and kettle.

  20. Tully Says:

    Oops, misstatement: I said “80% of Obama’s nominees have been confirmed.” It’s actually higher than that — I included the numbers for vacant positions for which there have been no nominations made as yet in the total, and they’re well over half of the 20% remainder. Less than 10% combined of the available nominatory vacancies are in process or being held, and the majority of those are in process, not held, so over 90% of Obama’s nominees have been confirmed so far.

    How many of the other roughly 10% in process will eventually be confirmed is for the psychics to figure out, as is the confirmation rate of those not yet nominated to vacancies.

  21. Nicholas Benjamin Says:

    This is an interesting case because it exposes the truly cynical and Machiavellian politics at the heart of this Axelrodd/Rahm White House. They are adept at recognizing when and where they have a political weakness, and launching a preemptive spin attack to control the framing in the MSM while signaling talking points to the Obamites. I wouldn’t call it “dog whistles” – more like conducting a marching band.

    It also exposes the cynical and Machiavellan politics of everyone else.

    I am going to just stipulate that Donald Berwick is eminently qualified for this position. He would certainly be confirmed. The problem for the administration is not Berwick. The problem is Obamacare.

    So there’s a federal job vacant, Berwick would be great at it, and the GOP is opposing his nomination because they think it shouldn’t exist?

    That’s incredibly Machiavelen.

    The accusations of “Republican Obstructionism” is pure smokescreen. This is all about the most “transparent” administration in history wanting to avoid a public hearing for this appointment at all cost.

    The reason is simple. Donald Berwick has in the past spoken clearly and plainly about the requirement to ration healthcare under Obamacare:

    “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open”

    If you actually read his speech you’d know he’s using a different meaning of the word “ration” then you and Krauthammer are. You’re referring to a government bureaucrat making decisions for individuals. Berwick is referring to the definition economists use. And, as far as economists are concerned, the free market is a method of rationing scarce resources.

    “Most metropolitan areas in the United States should reduce the number of centers engaging in cardiac surgery, high-risk obstetrics, neonatal intensive care, organ transplantation, tertiary cancer care, high-level trauma care, and high-technology imaging.” – Donald Berwick

    Here Berwick means that there are cheaper ways of dealing with these problems. For example neo-natal units deal with premature births, and premature births are almost always preventable. Trouble is no insurer is willing to pay for classes telling mothers how to prevent premature birth, but no insurer wants to deal with the PR nightmare of refusing to care for a premie.

    Thus there is infinite demand for neo-natal care, and no demand for cheaper preventive care.

    He has spoken publicly with admiration about the British Healthcare system and the NICE board and has said he would like aspects of that system to be emulated here. In a public hearing he would be asked about all these statements and need to make his position clear for the American people. The likelihood of ripping off the scab on Democratic Obamacare wounds was very high. A public confirmation could not be permitted to happen.

    Now I am not arguing with anything Berwick says. Most of what he says is true (excluding admiration for the UK system) once you buy into a vastly expanded publicly funded healthcare system with limited resources to pay for it all. But the Obama administration has decided that the American people can’t handle the truth, so there will be no confirmation hearing. Now they can’t say that hiding him from public inquiry is the reason for the recess appointment. So instead they play the Axelrod/Rahm “Republican Obstructionism” tune on the Pied Piper flute – and the MSM and Obamites merrily dance to the tune.

    Or, rather, the GOP decided to fight a battle it lost in March. It doesn’t want there to be a Federal guy with Berwick’s job, it can’t actually stop him from doing the job, but it can use the hearings to re-debate an issue it already lost.

    What’s more Machiavelen? Deciding to vote against a perfectly qualified candidate, whom you acknowledge is perfectly qualified, so you can get on TV denouncing the law he’s supposed to enforce; or simply bypassing that guy?

  22. Simon Says:

    KK:

    The question is where the line should be drawn

    I don’t think that the line can be drawn ex ante, because it’s so intimately related to the nature and volume of legislation. If the communists were to take a majority, you’d expect the incidence of bad bills to go up, and with it the number of filibusters, whereas vice versa with (insert preferred party) in power. It’s a tool that should be used with care, because ultimately, like all countermajoritarian tools, if you raise the hackles of the majority too much, they’ll get pissed off and try to take it away.

    Filibustering and blocking appointments … are both informal but traditional mechanisms which are both arguably not part of the intent behind how the system was supposed to work.

    One difficulty in assessing how current practices interact with the original design is that the original design insulated nomination and confirmation. The indirectly-elected President nominated, the indirectly-elected Senate confirmed, and the directly-elected House was pointedly shut out entirely. One more example of the poisonous unbalancing of the framers’ design wrought by the Seventeenth Amendment, I’m afraid.

    I agree with the idea that the President deserves more latitude than he gets. In particular, presidential nominees deserve an up or down vote.

    Not for Article III nominees, but for Article II nominees, yes, because they are the hands of the President. (Cf. Free Enterprise Fund v. PCAOB.) If one rejects the unitary executive, however, as many on the left say they do, the deference due to the President must diminish, because all that would then be at stake is his inferred prerogative to initiate the nomination of independent officers, rather than the necessity of his choosing trusted aides to help discharge his constitutionally-assigned responsibilities. In the former model, the question is one of decorum, and in the latter, one of substantive constitutional law.

    And as to reform, as I’ve indicated before, I would be in favor of some kind of Senate “fasttracking” rule for such nominees.

  23. kranky kritter Says:

    Holds do not stop nomination hearings from being held. They prevent floor votes from being held without a cloture vote AFTER a nominee has been reported out of committee. I note once again that the GOP is not the majority party in the Senate, so equivocations and rationalizations about how the majority party can hold up a nomination are 100% off point when applied to Obama nominations that have not reached the hearings stage. The Dems hold a majority in the Senate, on all committees, hold all committee chairmanships, and can move any nomination right up to, through, and out of committee without a single GOP vote, regardless of any holds.

    And if the minority can at any point hold up the final appointment, and are threatening to do so, or if they are privately promising an ugly shoe, then it’s possible that the majority might not bother with the troublesome slot, having plenty of other business to do.

    I cheefully grant that any party with a powerful majoirty, can, if they really want to or need to, push through the folks they want. At some price.

    As to your other beefs, don’t make the mistake of presuming that I share the partisan PoV of anyone else posting in this thread, which you seem to be doing here. I don’t buy the notion that the GOP is is being one iota pissier than democrats, and I think I already made that quite clear in my previous post. So no need to cite Harry Reid on me.

    BTW, good to hear from ya, hoss!

Leave a Reply


NOTE TO COMMENTERS:


You must ALWAYS fill in the two word CAPTCHA below to submit a comment. And if this is your first time commenting on Donklephant, it will be held in a moderation queue for approval. Please don't resubmit the same comment a couple times. We'll get around to moderating it soon enough.


Also, sometimes even if you've commented before, it may still get placed in a moderation queue and/or sent to the spam folder. If it's just in moderation queue, it'll be published, but it may be deleted if it lands in the spam folder. My apologies if this happens but there are some keywords that push it into the spam folder.


One last note, we will not tolerate comments that disparage people based on age, sex, handicap, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry. We reserve the right to delete these comments and ban the people who make them from ever commenting here again.


Thanks for understanding and have a pleasurable commenting experience.


Related Posts: