Sen. Richard Shelby Gets Stick, Passes On Carrot: A Coincidence?

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Two big pieces of news today related to Sen. Richard Shelby, the Alabama Democrat-turned-Republican:

First, the Senate Democratic leadership leaked word that Shelby was holding up Obama appointees so that he can try to preserve two pork projects for Alabama, a military plane contract for Mobile and a $45 million FBI explosives lab for his state.

Then, we get word that negotiations over financial regulatory reform have “reached an impasse” between Democrats on the Banking Committee and Shelby. Are these two events unrelated? I would guess not. And I would guess that the talks had ground to a halt before the leak. Would Reid have risked a breakdown in talks to embarrass Shelby? In response, Shelby has launched his own assault on the Obama Administration.

“The Obama Administration wants to read terrorists our Miranda rights and try them in U.S. courts but is impeding the processing of evidence that could lead to convictions,” said his spokesman. “If this administration were as worried about hunting down terrorists as it is about the confirmation of low-level political nominations, America would be a safer place.”

As Chris Matthews likes to say, “Hardball.”