Rep. Mel Watt’s nomination to lead a key housing agency appears in peril. The top Judiciary Committee Republican is slowing down Obama’s pick to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is hinting at another talking filibuster—this time of the FBI director nominee—in order to get information on the president’s drone program.That's not even taking into account the three high-profile nominees for the D.C. Circuit, the nominations that have pushed the GOP into "peak Republican stupidity" by threatening not just to block the nominees, but to entirely do away with the three vacant seats on the court.
Even Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was instrumental in reaching the deal with Majority Leader Harry Reid last week, said he would hold the nomination of Army Gen. Martin Dempsey to lead the Joint Chiefs of Staff until he gets more information on U.S. military intervention in Syria. [...]
In the words of the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas: “We are where we were before. Which is: It takes 60 votes.”
But Cornyn's wrong: We're not where we were before, because 51 Democrats—and Majority Leader Reid—were ready to pull the plug on the filibuster of nominations. Reid expressly did not make a promise to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to give up the nuclear option on these nominees. He left it lying there on the table, ready to use when necessary. Which means, if Republicans successfully block any of these nominees, it's because Democrats are allowing it.
There's pressure on Republicans, yes, to stop with the obstruction already. But now there's equal pressure on Democrats to make them stop. This isn't going to end until they do.