Ed O’Keefe reports:
President Obama’s pick to serve as head of the Office of Management and Budget looked headed for an easy Senate confirmation until this afternoon, when Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) announced she will place a hold on the nomination until the Obama administration lifts a moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Although Mr. Lew clearly possesses the expertise necessary to serve as one of the President’s most important economic advisers, I found that he lacked sufficient concern for the host of economic challenges confronting the Gulf Coast,” Landrieu wrote in a letter informing Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid of her decision.
America is a large and diverse country. So even though it contains a lot of well-financed special interests, it’s difficult for any particular interest to dominate the entire national political scene. It’s much easier, however, for an interest group to dominate a particular state. Senators from Louisiana owe their loyalty to oil and gas drillers, while Senators from Michigan pay homage to the car industry. So when individual Senators are empowered to hold national priorities hostage at their whim, the practical impact is to serve as a force multiplier for these kind of concentrated interests.