Senator John McCain has figured out a loophole to that whole not-being-elected-president thing: Get the guy who did win to appoint the cabinet you wanted in the first place.
That's not precisely what he said, mind you, but what he proposed has basically that effect. McCain, not exactly known for his conciliatory ways, was offering a friendly suggestion meant to avoid Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's threatened rules reform which would end filibusters of presidential nominees. Reid leveled the threat out of frustration that a number of nominees had been stalled in the Senate. The body will vote on seven of them tomorrow. Unless the president and Reid accept McCain's modest proposal!
Part One of McCain's suggestion is to create a working group to debate the issue, similar to that which so famously came together to craft immigration reform. And then, as Politico reports, he offered Part Two.
McCain said he and Republicans are trying to strike a deal with Reid would either allow up-or-down votes on seven contentious nominees or at least find “replacements” for those nominees.
So, Senator Reid, the options are:
- Allow an up-or-down vote on the nominees, or
- Offer new nominees for the positions that the Republicans like.
Tough choice! Granted, the "up-or-down vote" idea presumably means "allow filibusters if desired," which is basically the option the Senate has now. If it didn't mean that, it's kind of a no-brainer for Reid: "Yeah, I'll take the option in which I get the vote I wanted without the contentious rules change everyone is mad about." But accepting that option with filibusters isn't a great choice either, if the alternative is Shadow McCain Cabinet 2013. Could the president come up with nominees for the judiciary and the cabinet that Republicans like? Sure. But one of the perks of winning the election last year is that he gets to pick who he wants.
We'll see which option Reid chooses. For amusement sake, we're hoping for option two — let McCain and the Republicans sign off on nominees. Because then the Democrats could filibuster them.