Will the Senate GOP Filibuster the President's Next Nominees?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 13 2012 9:23 AM

Will the Senate GOP Filibuster the President's Next Nominees?

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NEW YORK, NY - JULY 19: United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice (C) votes in favor of a new U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria at U.N. headquarters on July 19, 2012 in New York City. The resolution aimed at ending the violence with non-military sanctions in Syria failed to gather enough votes to pass as Russia and China veto the resolution. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

That's the only way that they could prevent the buzzed-about, still-theoretical promotion of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to Foggy Bottom.

[Sen. Lindsey] Graham, interviewed on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said he was “not going to promote somebody who I think has misled the country” over the Benghazi killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens “or is either incompetent. That’s my view of Susan Rice. There are other people out there.”
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Graham, an influential senator on defense and foreign policy matters — perhaps not on the order of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), but pretty close — said he thought “Susan Rice would have an incredibly difficult time getting through the Senate.

Two problems here. One: Graham implies that Rice "misled the country" about Benghazi, which is GOP dogma right now. The White House simply doesn't agree. Republicans finger Rice as the administration figure who "blamed the attack on a video tape," but she didn't do that. She said that the video tape inspired a protest which was used as a cover for an attack by "extremists." Republicans are talking about staging a battle against Rice based on information that's been misremembered.

Two: When the next Senate meets to confirm nominees, it will have only 45 Republicans. Only five of them will be needed for cloture on nominees, and filibusters of high-level nominees are exceedingly rare. Graham can say what he wants, but a steady schedule of Sunday show appearances does not, in fact, give him extra votes in the Senate.

Zeke Miller has more from Republican aides hiding behind anonymity to pretend they can block Obama nominations.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.