Ed Driscoll

'To Some Degree, He's Damaged Goods'

As blogger “AlphaPatriot” wrote in March during a previous round of Obama recess appointments, “Think back a short time. Republicans controlled the White House and the Social Democrats where widely known as ‘The Party of No.'”

It’s August 2005 and Bush just made James Bolton the UN Ambassador during a Congressional recess:

“To some degree, he’s damaged goods,” said Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I think that means we’ll have less credibility and, ironically, be less equipped to reform the United Nations in the way that it needs to be reformed.”

It’s April 2007 and Bush just made a recess appointment that made Sam Fox the Ambassador to Belgium. Fox was being blocked by Social Democrats because he gave $50,000 to support commercials against presidential candidate John Kerry. Senator Obama had this to say:

It’s disappointing that President Bush would defy the will of Congress by appointing Sam Fox Ambassador to Belgium. I opposed Mr. Fox’s nomination because I had serious concerns about his candor, judgment, and qualifications for this important post. Appointing nominees that are opposed by a majority in Congress simply because they are political cronies is old style politics at its worst. Our nation’s ambassadors should possess strong credibility and character so that they may effectively represent U.S. interests overseas, and I don’t think President Bush applied that test with this recess appointment.

Flash-forward to today. “White House: Berwick Appointment ‘Too Important’ to Wait for a Hearing,” Jake Tapper writes at ABC:

This morning on ABC News’ “This Week,” Senior White House Advisor David Axelrod insisted that President Obama’s recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to be the administrator of The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was simply “too important” to wait for a Congressional hearing.

“The Republican Party has made it a policy in the United States Senate to hold up… as many nominations,” as possible, Axelrod said. “This is too important. This position is too important,” he told host Jake Tapper. “In the midst of implementing health reform, it is too important to allow that kind of game-playing to go on.”

Tapper pressed Axelrod on whether the White House simply wanted to avoid a hearing because it didn’t have the appetite for the political fight.

“What we don’t want in this…is to let this be drawn out in a long kind of political circus while the job that needs to be done is not getting done or not getting done with the man who should be doing it,” Axelrod said.

It’s disappointing that President Obama would defy the will of Congress by appointing Dr. Donald Berwick to be ambassador to Nancy Pelosi. The Senate opposed Dr. Berwick’s nomination because they had serious concerns about his candor, judgment, and qualifications for this important post. Appointing nominees that are opposed by a majority in Congress simply because they are political cronies is old style politics at its worst. The Chicago Way, one might say.

Until it’s merely expedient.