Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Confirmation collision courses

Tomorrow begins the confirmation rounds for many of president-elect Obama's Cabinet appointees. Daniel Libit discusses five of them sure to generate a buzz. We honestly believe the following three will actually generate the most fireworks in the coming days:

Sen. Arlen Specter v. Eric Holder

The Spectrometer has been climbing over Obama’s pick as attorney general. Specter has drawn on low moments from two recent presidencies to beat up on Holder.

He’s noted – more than once – Holder’s role in former President Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich, and he’s compared Holder to Bush-era AG Alberto Gonzales. Specter said last week that the nation needs an attorney general with the stature and courage to say no instead of yes. In addition to the Rich matter, Specter can be counted on to follow up on a few other issues he raised on the Senate floor last week.

Among them: Holder’s involvement in former Attorney General Janet Reno’s decision not to appoint a special counsel to investigate allegations that Al Gore was raising illegal campaign funds in 1996; the clemency Holder had supported for Puerto Rican militant group Armed Forces of National Liberation; and Holder’s involvement in the investigations of the 1993 Waco siege and nuclear spying by the Chinese.

This is the one to watch. Specter made headlines last week in voicing his opposition to Holder, and stating that the GOP caucus needs to stand against his appointment. Much of this stems from what Mr. Libit opines about -- a record in the Clinton Justice department that is dubious, at best. One question that is sure to be asked (or should be asked) is whether he'll allow Patrick Fitzgerald to finish his case against Rod Blogojevic now that he's obtained the extension for indictment.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein v. Leon Panetta

Don King might be moved to proclaim this battle the Vendetta of Panetta.

Miffed that she hadn’t been consulted before word of Obama’s CIA pick leaked out, Feinstein made her disapprobation known in a sharp press release questioning whether an Intel neophyte was right for the job. She softened her stance a few days later, after Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden called to apologize and following a 20-minute conversation she had with Panetta.

"I've known him for 20 years,” Feinstein said. “”I know him to be a man of credibility and a man of conscience and a man of talent, and I believe he will surround himself with top-notch staff from the intelligence community."

But there have been stories of strain between the two Californians over the last two decades, and it’s possible that some of that played into this. There’s also the matter of Feinstein’s recent outspoken independence: She was among the first of the Senate Democrats to suggest publicly that Roland Burris should be seated.

She has been fairly outspoken lately, and she's not afraid to stand up to the likes of Harry Reid, which makes us happy. But she was right to criticize the Panetta pick. While she plays it off as "I wasn't called" it's more akin to "Why'd you nominate the neophyte?" She was right to make the stink the day the pick was named given who it was, and what he had been chosen for. Additionally, it's come to light that Panetta was one of the people advising Clinton to cut back on the CIA's budget, so his integrity of running that agency is now in question. What are his goals? What will he do? Will he maintain the vigilant stand we've held for 8 years, or flush it all away?

Sen. John Kerry v. Hillary Clinton

While unlikely to be acrimonious, this exchange – tinged with the awkwardness most familiar to the high school prom court – is on the list for reasons of pure spectacle.

To wit: Kerry wanted to be president. Then Clinton wanted to be president. Then Kerry wanted Obama to be president. Then Obama became president. Then Kerry wanted to be secretary of state. But Obama wanted Clinton to be secretary of state. This all sets the stage for Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, where the back-and-forth will be finely parsed for any evidence of recriminations.

Or maybe Kerry will eliminate the need for such parsing by asking, “Why you and not me?”

This last one will be fun to watch if for nothing else than to see the egos collide. Not just between Hillary and Kerry, but with Hillary and the whole committee. She's a self-absorbed pol with ambition that is dangerous, and she's being sent up as the chief negotiator and diplomat for the United States.

Now do we see knock-down, drag-out fireworks? No. As Mr. Libit observes at the beginning of his piece, those are reserved, usually, for judicial confirmation hearings. We're not saying these people are going to get a pass, but we're also not saying that the committees won't pull out the long knives. In fact we expect to see some very sharp knives pulled out for Holder. He is the one guy who might not get his seat if enough is uncovered about his time int he Clinton Justice department. All we can say is sit back, pop the popcorn, and get ready for a couple of really decent bouts that are certain to generate a buzz on center-right blogs.

Publius II


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home