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Shelby’s Holds Prove Need For Senate Reform

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), drunk on the power and joy of obstructionism, has decided to bring our government to a halt until Democrats promise to give his state some pork. Shelby has put an hold on every single one of Obama’s pending nominees. The genie is out of the bottle with this abuse of Senate rules. Why not hold everything hostage for every demand you can think of if you have the power? In an institution that insists on giving every single member an insane amount of power to ruin the basic workings of our government, it was only going to be a matter of time before someone like Shelby decided to pay real hardball. Matt Ygleslias puts it very well:

At any rate, I congratulate Shelby on fully exploring the logic of the modern United States Senate. Why, after all, should a great nation of 300 million people have a functioning government if preventing the government from functioning can help a lone Senator advance parochial interests? Why should a Senator act like a statesman when all the objective forces are urging him to act like an unusually pretentious ward heeler? Why hold one nominee when you can hold seven or seventy? Good for him! Now can we change this process?

If Democrats don’t shut down this nonsense quick and hard with a plan to reform the broken rules of the Senate, this type of abuse will only get more and more common. Shelby maybe the one abusing the rules, but until Harry Reid creates a plan to stop this abuse, his official position is technically – I don’t agree with your abuse of the insane amount of power we give individual senators to ruin our entire government, but I will defend to my political death your right as a senator to do it. Of course, without a strong response and a show of leadership, Reid’s political death will come very soon.

It appears senators really are like children — if you give them an inch, they will try to take a mile.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at