Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Via Think Progress, just how broken is the Senate? This broken: Only 57 percent of President Obama's civilian nominees have been confirmed by the Democratically-controlled Senate, as opposed to the 75 percent success rate of George W. Bush's last two years, with the Democratic Senate.
The White House and Senate Democrats say the experiences of Mr. Obama’s nominees had become intolerable. In the two years that Mr. Bush had to contend with a Democratic Senate, 740 of his 981 nominees for civilian positions were confirmed, a rate of 75 percent. During the 112th Congress, 285 of Mr. Obama’s 503 civilian nominees have been confirmed, or 57 percent, according to Senate statistics.
In all, 18 Obama nominees have withdrawn their names after their nominations languished for months. For example, Peter Diamond, a Nobel Prize winner in economics, could not get a vote to join the Federal Reserve Board, and Terry Garcia, a top official at the National Geographic Society, gave up on his nomination to be deputy commerce secretary.
Another nominee, Caitlin J. Halligan, spent more than 280 days awaiting a vote on her confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit before it fell to a filibuster.
People still awaiting Senate action include nominees to be under secretary of the Treasury for domestic finance, deputy commerce secretary, deputy secretary of housing and urban development, federal housing commissioner, head of the Corporation for National and Community Service and assistant attorney general for tax policy.
Of course, Senate Democrats had their chance to make a change in procedures to block the GOP's filibuster strategy, after two years of solid evidence of the GOP's intent. Having failed to do so, there was little choice for the White House beyond taking the GOP straight on, something it should have done a dozen or so failed nominations ago.