You know it’s gotten bad when the Democratic spokesmodels at the reliably liberal Star Tribune are chiding President Obama. In a commentary entitled, ‘Recess appointment flap -- a sign of the rule-bending times,’ Strib editor D.J. Tice has some cautionary words for his friends on the left. Using a comparison that is more akin to that of the Tea Party, Tice warns that if we let President Obama circumvent the Senate’s authority to advise and consent, we may find ourselves becoming Libya. He suggests, quite rightly, that our political procedures encased within the Constitution are what keep us free and democratic. Tice’s poking of the Democrats, while necessary, was rather weak tea, but it shows just how radical this (his) party has become.
The situation isn’t very complex. In the Clinton administration, they figured out just how long an absent Congress must be before making recess appointments, legally. The magic number was three. Clinton could safely appoint high officials without the consent of the Senate if they weren’t in session for over three days. This number came in handy because when George W. Bush became president, Democrats kept Congress going with pro forma sessions to prevent Bush from appointing people to vacancies.
Constitutional Professor Obama, never one to cater to something as pathetic as the law, decided to appoint some officials even though Congress wasn’t in recess. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat Nevada, endorsed the procedure, even though it means the blunting of one of the Senate’s most important duties; deciding whether appointees are trustworthy and acceptable to administer the laws Congress has enacted. Obama basically took the constitutional powers of the Senate into his own hands. Democrats are mostly silent over this blatant exercise of unlawful authority.
For the most part, Democrats realize if they relinquish this powerful tool, when a Republican president is elected, they will be without the ability to stop his or her appointees, no matter how much they disagree or doubt the candidate. But, Professor of Constitutional Law Obama is becoming desperate both politically and policy-wise. He continues to get kicked in the teeth by his most radical leftwing allies for being too soft. This act would prove Obama could be a cowboy too, albeit a lawless outlaw.
So, the editors of the Star Tribune knew they needed to publish their protests to this blatant, flagrant abuse of presidential power, no matter how muffled. In order to retain even a modicum of credibility, they had to get this on the record. Tice did three things in his article. First, he pretended the paper cared about the warp and weave of the Constitution, though Democrats only really bother with the ‘general welfare’ and ‘commerce clause.’ Second, he had to warn rank and file progressives and socialists that this could easily bite them in the derriere once The Party loses power. The final, and most important thing Tice wanted to achieve, was to twist the president and the Democratic Party’s feckless behavior into something to blame Republicans with.
So Tice mischaracterized the situation like this:
“So, let's review: 1) Obama has called the Senate's bluff on its fake sessions, 2) in order to make recess appointments that really aren't justified by a prolonged Senate absence, 3) while all the while Republicans are blocking confirmation votes they couldn't win to paralyze agencies that they can't abolish or restrain via legislation.
It's shenanigans all the way down.” January 10, 2012.
Pro forma sessions aren’t fake sessions. In fact, it was during a pro forma session just a couple of weeks ago the Senate passed the two month extension of the payroll tax rebate Obama and his fellow prevaricators in the Senate had wanted. From the United States Senate Democrat website:
“During today’s pro forma, the Senate entered an agreement to pass a bill providing for a 2 month extension of the reduced payroll tax, unemployment insurance, TANF, and the Medicare payment fix; agree to the request for a conference with respect to HR 3630; and authorize the Chair to appoint conferees on the part of the Senate, all occurring if the House sends us a bill to extend reduced payroll tax and other provisions for a period of 2 months.”
If pro forma sessions are fake sessions, the payroll tax cut, passed by Reid in a pro forma session, is in fact null and void. I wonder if Tice is bothered by that idea.
Tice then characterized Obama’s abuse of power concerning the appointments, “really aren’t justified by a prolonged Senate absence.” What mealy mouthed drivel is this? Tice specifically picked words that neither condemn nor admonish, but instead suggest the president was being a little too assertive. He should have called Obama’s act criminal in that he stole the powers of the Senate to judge appointed officials and actually bypassed the representatives of the people.
Tice ends with the idiotic narrative that Republicans are obstructionists. This in spite the fact the Democratic controlled Senate hasn’t passed a budget in almost 1000 days and there are fifteen jobs bills passed by the House and ignored by the Democrats. Tice also pretends the House didn’t pass a YEAR LONG payroll tax rebate while the Senate only passed a two month extension because Minnesota’s Sen. Amy Klobuchar had to get home and hang the mistletoe and cut the fruitcake for her union thug bosses and enviro-fascist allies.
Tice ends with the dismissive “shenanigans all around” when it clearly one-sided. The only shenanigans going on are in and amongst the Democratic Party and their tyrant-in-chief, Professor Obama. The Republicans are doing their job by stopping the installation of a lackey by the name of Richard Cordray. Republicans insisted the job he was getting had too much power and was too broad. They contended, quite reasonably, other regulatory agencies had boards to oversee financial institutions, yet the Consumer Protection Safety Bureau was a fiefdom that would ruled by one person. This certainly seems like a fair reason to object to an overreaching executive branch hellbent on singular control of the economy out of the White House.
Tice doesn’t mention that. He and his cohorts at the official DFL newsletter whitewash that in order to excuse the dictates of an authoritarian president and his toady followers in the Senate. But, at least we have to give Tice credit. He spoke out against the president’s actions, unlike our two cowardly Senators, Klobuchar and Franken. They wanted the president to recess appoint communist Elizabeth Warren to head this totalitarian bureau. I’m sure they think Obama’s appointment of Cordray was the safe way out, even if it was at the expense of their own constitutional authority and responsibility.
Tice may use a rhetorical device like the Tea Party, but he twists and contorts the facts like a progressive. We should all demand our elected officials protest this unlawful act by the president, or at least get them on the record of where they stand. Someday, people like Sen. Franken will be whining and crying because he can’t stop President Mitt or President Ron’s appointments. It will be because of unlawful President Obama and his unabashed theft of power.
Crossposted at Looktruenorth.com as "D.J. Tice's "Weak Tea" Party Protest