Pushes Come to Shoves - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Pushes Come to Shoves
by

TEST CASE
Conservative Republican Senators plan on pressing the nomination of Defense Department General Counsel William James Haynes to test just where their seven Republican colleagues stand on the filibuster-buster deal they cut three weeks.

Haynes is one of the nominees — if you believe the Democrats who cut the deal — not officially part of the agreement. However, several Republicans in the negotiating room, including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, claimed that Haynes was one of the nominees that all 14 agreed would be released for a vote by the full Senate.

“We want to hold Graham and [Susan] Collins and the rest to their word,” says a GOP staffer in leadership. “One of the reasons why we went along with this to the degree that we did, was because they promised nominees like Haynes would get an up and down vote. They gave us their word. We assume their word to fellow Republicans is as good as their word to Democrats. But we will see.”

Haynes was not viewed as a particularly high-profile nominee from an ideological perspective, but in his capacity of advising the military on how legally to wage the war on terror and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Democrats had him fingered as a potential troublemaker.

“We keep hearing about the guys in limbo,” says a Republican Judiciary Committee staffer. “But the dealmakers insist that there were side deals to free them up and get them votes. It’s only the Democrats who talk about them being in limbo and spinning it to the press. But I don’t think Senate leadership wants to take any chances. They will push this thing, because a few careers depend on it.”

BOXER AND COX
No one was surprised when Rep. Christopher Cox asked Sen. Dianne Feinstein to introduce him before his Senate confirmation hearing. But everyone is waiting to see what the other Democratic Senator from the left coast state will be doing.

Cox is expected to easily gain confirmation to the chairmanship of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a number of California Democrats have expressed support for him … except Sen. Barbara Boxer, who has been strangely silent on the matter.

Boxer and Cox go back a ways. They clashed a number of times when both were serving in the House, and when Cox was on a list of potential federal judicial nominees back in 2001 (Bush wanted to nominate him to the notorious 9th Circuit), Boxer made it clear she would block him.

Back then, her opposition was due almost entirely to his pro-life position, and Cox, not wanting to get hung up in a bitter filibuster fight, stuck it out in the House.

But could Boxer be looking to block him again? “Probably not, but she will be looking at a number of his answers in the days ahead. She definitely wants to meet with him,” says a Boxer aide in California.

Over the weekend, there were mixed signals, however; the Orange County Register at one point reported that Boxer, in fact, was introducing Cox, though Feinstein was the one making the public statements about her fellow Californian.

Neither Senator serves on the Senate Banking Committee, which will consider Cox in the coming weeks.

OUT OF THE MONEY
So much for Former Vermont Gov. Howie Dean running the Democratic Party. He couldn’t even cop an invite to one Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s California fundraisers. “He wasn’t invited, and to the best of my knowledge he didn’t ask,” says a DNC staffer, who said party headquarters was nonetheless talking about the snub last week.

What is known is that some of the very DNC donors that Dean has been unsuccessful in drawing into this fundraising scheme were out in force raising money for Hillary.

Clinton was out in California for a series of events that netted her “Friends of Hillary” political action committee more than $500,000. One of the events — a dinner at the home of Democratic big-wig Norm Pattiz, also raised about $400,000 for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Sen. Harry Reid was present at the event, with no sign of Dean, who had in the past several months had been attempting to get Pattiz to host a fundraiser for him and the DNC.

“The fact that Dean goes out there and pulls in a measly couple of hundred grand, and can’t get the real, high-end, deep pocket party types to sign on is more telling than anything else about where he stands with the party,” says a former DNC fundraiser. “Hillary goes out there and just makes them realize who they really want in charge of the party.”

It wasn’t just the old-line Democratic money. Young money, too, was out there: poptartlets Christina Aguilera and Lindsay Lohan were hosts of a late night event for Hillary, along with Jake Gyllenhaal, who is set to star in Brokeback Mountain, a movie that has Hollywood liberals abuzz. It’s about bisexual cowboys.

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