Senate shift could benefit Adelstein

Nov 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

One of the bigger surprise winners in the wake of the Republican takeover of the Senate in last week’s election could turn out to be a Democrat: Jonathan Adelstein.
According to key industry sources, the GOP victory may prove to be what is needed to unstick Mr. Adelstein’s long-pending nomination for a Democratic vacancy at the Federal Communications Commission.
Mr. Adelstein’s nomination was originally put on hold by Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., early this year, after Senate Democrats refused to confirm the appointment of one of Sen. Lott’s longtime friends-U.S. District Court Judge Charles Pickering-to a federal appeals court.
The hold on Mr. Adelstein tightened as Democrats nuked other Bush administration appointments to the judiciary. Mr. Adelstein has proved to be a convenient target for Republicans because he is an aide to Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., who has been serving as the Senate’s majority leader.
For that reason, some insiders predicted that a GOP election victory would spell political doom for Mr. Adelstein.
But other key sources told Electronic Media last week that the GOP victory may be what it takes to get Mr. Adelstein’s nomination moving.
Sources also said Sen. Lott has never had any personal objections to Mr. Adelstein. So as long as Senate Democrats don’t simply shift their blockade on GOP judicial nominations to behind-the-scenes machinations on the Senate floor, there’s no good political reason for him to continue to block Mr. Adelstein.
Of course, Mr. Adelstein’s ultimate prospects depend on the good faith of Sen. Daschle and Democratic colleagues-and the cooperation of the Senate’s new GOP leadership.
“If they [Democrats] are going to let the judges through, I think he’s in,” said one well-placed industry lobbyist. “If they [Democrats] are a pain in the ass, I don’t think he’s going to make it.”
“He [Mr. Adelstein] may be more valuable as a hostage to the GOP in the majority than he was as a hostage to the Republicans in the minority,” added another industry source.