Thursday, January 5


Incompetence and Inexperience R Us

So Bush appoints a young government lawyer who has a single year's management experience (170 employees and a $25 million budget) to run a vital U.S. agency with 20,000 employees and a $4 billion budget.

Among other questionable recess appointments, the pResident named Hans von Spakovsky for one of three openings on the Federal Elections Commission. This guy was one of the keys to the Justice Department approving the Texas redistricting plan despite the objections of career DOJ lawyers who believed the plan violated minority rights. Yeah, he'll be a great defender of free and democratic elections in the U.S.

Just more Bush administration political cronyism. Nothing to see here, move on.

On the contrary, it's more than that. It's more evidence that this president is determined to usurp the power of the other branches of government, in particular Congress, which the Constitution anoints with the power to advise and consent on his appointments. Yes, the Constitution allows the president to "fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session." Clearly the framers intended the clause for the purpose of keeping the government running efficiently in the absence of a sitting Congress. But Bush has used this authority not for reasons of government urgency but to bypass the "advise and consent" restriction upon his power. All these offices have been vacant for quite some time. BUT his suggestions for filling them were challenged, and for good reason: their unsuitability. So Bush just does an end run around the Congress and gets his way. It's a political ploy, nothing less, and distastefully symptomatic of his entire governing style.

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