Friday, January 29, 2010

Nothing Really Changes

Caption: The Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC. Thanks to the U.S. Senate, there it's once again being run by a feckless incompetent.

Image credit: afagen

Nothing really changes in Washington, DC. That much is clear from today's votes to confirm Ben Bernanke as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve today. The cloture vote was 77-23, but the final vote on confirmation was 70-30. These Senators could at least rouse themselves to vote against confirmation:

Begich (D-AK)
Boxer (D-CA) *
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dorgan (D-ND) *
Ensign (R-NV)
Feingold (D-WI)
Franken (D-MN) *
Grassley (R-IA)
Harkin (D-IA) *
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Kaufman (D-DE) *
LeMieux (R-FL) *
McCain (R-AZ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sanders (I-VT)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Specter (D-PA)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Whitehouse (D-RI) *
Wicker (R-MS)

The Senators with the asterisks ('*') behind their names voted for cloture. Under the circumstances, their votes against the nomination are strictly symbolic. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) tried to put a good face on it, though, and came up empty:

“I think it’s important for him to note that he did have 30 votes-plus [sic] against him. I think the message is, take a look at Main Street, not just Wall Street,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said.

Ben Bernanke Confirmation Vote: Senate Gives Fed Chair A Second Term

Trying to make something out of nothing is certainly business as usual.

As you can see, that list is a mixed bag with little rhyme or reason, other than the Democrats are among the few who give more than lip service to the idea that the government's finances should be subject to some form of accountability. The Republicans are the ones who tend to think that obstructing anything Democrats try to do is a good thing.

The only unusual thing I note is that Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined the usual rogue Democrats in voting against cloture, even though she's not up for re-election.A bit symbolic given the circumstances, but appreciated anyway. Arlen Specter (D-PA) is, and he was not so surprisingly a no vote as well. Maybe he's feeling that primary heat.

As usual, a guy who can't do his job properly and doesn't give a crap about it is perfectly OK with the majority of the Senate. That doesn't surprise me in the least.

Ryan Grim provides perspective:

The lesson here: Centrist and conservative senators are willing to deny an up-or-down vote on policy they oppose, but progressive senators often are not. That dynamic tilts political power toward leadership and conservative priorities.

Ben Bernanke Confirmation Vote: Senate Gives Fed Chair A Second Term

That too, is the same old story. There are days when I really despise the people who run my government. You might not be able to tell, but today is one of those days.

(h/t Yves Smith, without whom I'd have been blissfully unaware of this vote, possibly for days.)

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