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Samantha Power gets past Cruz, heads to the U.N.

It turned out to be one of the year's easiest confirmations.

The Senate on Thursday approved the nomination of Samantha Power as the next ambassador to the United Nations, a relatively smooth and quiet process that lacked the partisan acrimony of other recent confirmations.

Only 10 senators voted against Ms. Power. Eighty-seven supported her, including 33 Republicans.

Of the 10 senators who opposed Power's nomination, all were Republicans, including some folks who may have their eyes on a national race in 2016: Marco Rubio (Fla.), Rand Paul (Ky.), and Ted Cruz (Texas).

All 10 knew she'd be confirmed anyway, but wanted to be on record opposing the Pulitzer-prize winning scholar who has spent most of her professional life combating genocide and raising awareness of human rights abuses and global humanitarian issues. Up until recently, Power has served as the senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights at the National Security Council.

But what I found especially interesting was a statement from Cruz, who sought to explain his vote by saying Power's positions on the United Nations "suggest she agrees with President Obama in giving the United Nations authority over fundamental rights, such as our right to bear arms."

First, Cruz appears to be referring the Arms Trade Treaty, which he clearly does not understand.

Second, it's fun to speculate sometimes as to whether far-right senators actually believe their own rhetoric, or whether they know their arguments are nonsense but find it useful to treat their base like easily fooled rubes. I'm hoping in a case like this, it's the latter.