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I’ve been keeping a mental checklist of the pluses and minuses that Claire McCaskill has racked up, per my druthers,  since she was elected. Sad as it makes me feel, I have to admit that for a long stretch her pluses have been few and far between, and not quite as big and bold as her minuses. Well, today she gets a great big, bold-print, double plus for taking on the Republican obstruction machine all by herself – and I am grinning as broadly as Carroll’s Cheshire cat

One of the ways Republicans have tried to hinder the Obama administration has been to stall the President’s nominations, and the secret hold, applied to about 80 nominations so far, has been one of the weapons of choice  Today, Senator McCaskill took a step that could force those who placed the holds to reveal themselves and justify their actions.

McCaskill has requested unanimous consent to vote on 18 stalled nominations – and she has indicated that she will do the same for 60 more nominations. According to Senate rules passed in 2007, this means that:

… once the unanimous consent motion is made on a nominee, the member who is holding that nominee has to file a letter explaining their hold and that has to be published in the Congressional record …

Needless to say, many if not all of those placing holds might be seriously embarrassed if they had to identify themselves and come up with plausible reasons for holding up the nomination process. McCaskill twittered earlier today that she is “trying to put an end to ‘secret’ hold nonsense,” and forcing the the guilty parties out into the light could be just the ticket. Of course, since she is nothing if not cautious, she followed up with this qualification lest anyone accuse her of acting rashly:

Only making motion so disclosure of the “secret”hold required on nominations that had NO opposition in committee.

Makes you want to reassure her that we would never suspect that she hadn’t dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s – but, of course, there are those who would. No matter – way to go, Senator McCaskill! I’m proud that a Missouri Senator took this overdue step to try to beat back Republican thuggery, and insure that our government has the people in place to do what needs to be done.