There are two parts to this question. First, is Norman Bay someone who is seen as fair and moderate or is he seen as an ideologue? Second, has Harry Reid so poisoned the atmosphere in the Senate that no appointment can get confirmation?
Clearly Mr. Bay has outstanding academic and professional credentials. But, has his time as the head of enforcement been prosecutorial or more judicial? No matter how well qualified, it is likely that he will face a tough confirmation hearing, at least as a way for the minority to vent its spleen on the unfair treatment it believes it has received from the Majority Leader.
Senator Reid shows no signs of wanting to get any thing done before the November elections. If he maintains his current approach, Mr. Bay could fail to get enough votes to avoid a filibuster. This is very unfortunate because the “world’s greatest deliberative body” has become the world’s greatest intellectual toxic waste site. That is truly unfortunate because there are important national problems that are not being addressed.
Mr. Bay’s fate, the fate of important legislative initiatives, and the fate of the Senate’s reputation is in Senator Reid’s hands. The time has come for him to rise above partisan zealotry and petulance and look to the role models of those who have preceded him as Majority Leader. A good place to start is the wise counsel of Henry Clay. Politics is not about ideology or political purity. It is about governing and if you can’t compromise, you can’t govern. Mr. Reid, start governing!
This article appeared on the National Journal’s Energy Insiders weblog at http://disqus.com/wokeefe/