“I can’t and won’t simply pretend as if nothing has changed,” Lee, a 40-year-old lawyer elected in November 2010, said in an interview. “Something has fundamentally changed in the balance of power between the president and the Senate. And he has shown a certain disrespect for our confirmation prerogative.”
As Republicans seek to take control of the Senate in the November election, Lee might end up posing more of a challenge to his party than to the Democratic president. Obama is accusing Republicans of obstructionism, playing off record-low congressional approval ratings. The question is whether other Republicans will join Lee or hold back and let him promote himself as a champion to the party’s right wing.