President Obama officially nominated Joseph M. Torsella as United States Representative to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform. Torsella is chairman of the Pennsylvania state board of eduction and his wikipedia page suggests a career of civic participation, including as a big player in the state Democratic party. (Incidentally, the previous person to hold this post was a lawyer for the Bush team in Bush V. Gore, so it is not unusual for this position to go to political insiders.)
So now that he is nominated, he should start work any day, right? Wrong. This position requires senate confirmation and this senate has been particularly tough on Obama nominees. According to the White House, excluding a slate of new nominees announced today, there are 205 nominees awaiting senate confirmation. Individual senators have the right to put a “hold” on any nominee for whatever reason they like. These holds can only be released with 60 votes, which is hard to come by. Once the new Senate is seated after January 1, that threshold will be even harder to overcome.
So, while I hope that the Senate realizes that American interests are advanced at the UN with an Ambassador dedicated to making sure that every dollar the United States spends there is spent well, I would not expect a confirmation vote anytime soon.