Daily Archives: November 19, 2008

Respect the ‘stache!

Roger Clegg over at NRO points out something I hadn’t considered. Eric Holder’s nomination as the next Attorney General, if approved by the Senate (as it almost certainly will), would mark the first time an African-American has served as Attorney General. Historic, of course. However, Clegg puts his finger on something of far greater consequence: Holder would be the first Attorney General in 100 years with facial hair.

More on the history leading up to Holder’s tearing his way through the hair ceiling below the break.

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Obama Cabinet Watch: Health & Human Services UPDATE: SecDef Powell?

WitSnapper’s hiatus skipped over a couple of rumored and actual tappings for Cabinet and Cabinet-level posts in the upcoming Obama administration. (Still no sign of any answer to Chuck Schumer’s aspirations for Information Minister.)

First, the most recent: for Secretary of Health and Human Services, President-elect Obama is believed to have chosen former senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), defeated for re-election in 2004. Word is Daschle will also act as the White House’s point man on health policy (“health czar”), which means he will be more influential in the actual writing of the President’s health care policy than a HHS Secretary normally would be.  Daschle is currently a special advisor to a Washington lobbying firm. He is not a registered lobbyist, though his wife is, and she does have some health industry clients.

Status of appointment: Story and acceptance confirmed; Senate approval likely.

More appointment news from the hiatus below the break.

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Alaska: Race is over

The prince has been dethroned. The long recount in Alaska is almost over, and not enough ballots remain to give convicted incumbent Senator Ted Stevens a chance of overtaking Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. Next stop: prison. So long, Citizen Stevens; I recommend the bologna sandwich with mac-‘n’-cheese. (More here, here, and here.)

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-NC) had already written up a resolution of expulsion from the GOP conference just in case Stevens managed to stage a comeback, but DeMint was persuaded to hold off until the election results were certain. Now the expulsion plan has been shelved, as Alaskan voters have done the job Senate Republicans should have done months ago.

Total Senate seats in Democratic hands in the coming Congress: 58. Number of Senate races with results yet to be determined: two (MN and GA). Chances of a filibuster-proof Democratic majority: long, but still within reach, at least in terms of party. Republicans may be virtually incapable of mounting a filibuster in a practical sense anyway, given their demonstrated aversion to anything resembling a sense of unity.