Thursday, July 8, 2010
President Obama made a recess appointment--proving he's a dictator!!!?
True, recess appointments represent an end run on the normal confirmation process. But it's also true that they're perfectly legal.
And it's ALSO true that routinely blocking 80% of a president's appointments ALSO represents an end run on the normal confirmation process.
The Senate's rules evolved to help it work as a deliberative body--as a check against the House's volatility.
But they also evolved during the century or more in which senators worked across party lines, had dinner together, and believed that seeking common ground was the height of democratic political virtue.
Then the Republican Party became radicalized in the early 1990s, driving for narrow majorities but then governing as if they had a 99% voter mandate, then in defeat acting as if they still have a right to govern, using the tools of that more cooperative era to obstruct everything from minor appointments to major legislation.
When a 60% vote is required to pass or confirm practically anything or anyone, it puts more power in the hands of the minority than the Founders intended or envisioned, and in some ways establishes minority rule.
Against this backdrop, a recess appointment is pretty minor stuff.
And the howls of "dictator!" "Marxist" "Hugo Chavez" by right wingnuts when President Obama tries to defend himself and his democratic mandate illustrate how radicalized the GOP has become--these people believe they have a God-given right to rule, regardless of the vote, and a God-given dispensation to violate the spirit of Senate rules to thwart the decision of the voters to put a Democrat in the White House.
When you climb in the ring wearing gloves and the other guy's wearing brass knuckles--you'd better take the gloves off.
[image: from Rolling Stone article "The GOP's dirty war: how Republicans have risen from the dead by distorting Obama's agenda and shutting down the government."]