Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Three Great Lies

“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you.” “The check is in the mail.” “The President really looks forward to working with Congress.” The third of the three great lies was mouthed by Jay Carney, President Obama’s press secretary and full-time sockpuppet. It's hard to see how The One plans to work with Congress since his executive/bureaucratic administration has largely ignored Congress (or at least about half of Congress).

Carney spoke the words at the weekly press conference, the day after Obama made four highly-questionable recess appointments—three to the National Labor Relations Board and one to the newly-created Dodd-Frank Consumer Financial Protection Board. Those appointments may or may not be valid, but they are clearly an exercise in derogation of Congressional privilege.

After saying “the fact is, the President firmly believes he has the constitutional authority to do so,” Carney offered a diametrically opposite theory of why the President proceeded with the appointments. “It’s not about whether Congress is in session. What it’s really about is the absolute urgency to install Richard Cordray as our consumer watchdog so that he can get to work today protecting the middle class.” This isn’t only about Republicans. The Senate that soundly rejected Cordray (and one of the three NLRB appointees) is still controlled by Democrats.

Well, in this instance, it is all about whether the Senate is in session. The President “firmly believes” a lot of things which are completely wrong—historically, constitutionally, legally, economically, factually, and politically. But in this case, Carney should have stuck to defense number one. There are respected authorities who argue that Congress is not in session, and the appointments are valid. I’m not one of them, but the problem here is that Carney has announced the President’s desire “to work with Congress” while at the same time challenging Congress on its own rules. That doesn’t sound like cooperation to me. Forget the anger and acrimony over the appointments for a moment, and consider how much Obama has any intention of cooperating.

For Obama, “working with” is a synonym for “taking potshots at.” As of this writing, only one Democratic Senator has formally announced that he believes the appointments are valid and that the Senate is in recess. All other Democrats who talked about the issue at all merely praised the appointments and scrupulously avoided discussing the issue of the Senate being in pro forma session. Senate Republicans had sent a formal letter to the President in December, signed by forty-seven of the Senators, requesting that the appointments not be made during a recess. Obama ignored them, and as a result the Senate did not consent to a recess, and the House went on vacation without the required consent of the Senate (Article I, Section 5 of the US Constitution).

But to make sure, the Senate avoided the three-day (or five-day) recess rule (depending on which expert you listen to) by staying in pro forma session. In his last exhibition of cooperation prior to his announcement of further cooperation (yeah, I know), the President spat in the face of the Senate. Right or wrong, the majority or near-majority of Senators believed that the pro forma session was sufficient to fend off recess appointments. Even if the President was right, which may have to be determined by the Supreme Court, the appointment of four highly-partisan and generally unpopular bureaucrats is anything but a demonstration of cooperation with Congress.

All tyrants and wannabe tyrants are in a hurry because they believe that they alone know what’s best for their nations, and waiting for any other branch of government to act is simply not acceptable. Some, like Hitler, simply declared the basic law null and void and ruled by fiat. Others, like Middle East potentates and clerics either write the basic law to suit themselves, or exercise a stranglehold on the legislatures which are charged with writing the nation’s laws. Obama hasn’t reached that point, but he’s on the path.

This President has chosen a course that is questionably constitutional, bootstrapping on the incremental power-grabs known as executive orders and recess appointments. He is not the first, but an alarming number of his executive orders seem to be aimed directly at seizing power from Congress. If Obama succeeds with these four appointments, he will have added a new chapter to executive power by establishing that Congress is not the branch which exercises power over its own rules and procedures.

Previous Presidents have acted by executive order, as well as weakening Congressional legislation with “signing statements.” Previous Presidents have made recess appointments. Then-Senator Obama somehow has changed his views on the subject since becoming President because he had opposed George W. Bush’s recess appointment of John Bolton as UN ambassador on the ground that presidents shouldn’t recess-appoint “unpopular” people whom the Senate had already rejected.

So back to the original theme. Big battles inside and between the various branches of government are not unusual and can be annoying or uplifting, depending on the subject matter of the quarrel. Even power-grabs can be politically-expedient if the president chooses to defy Congress by ignoring its own self-imposed rules. But don’t call it cooperation. Man up. Tell the truth. Don’t hide behind your questionable interpretation of the Constitution. If Obama truly “looks forward to working with Congress, these odd recess appointments are a strange way of showing it.

"Congress should do this, right away" is quickly becoming "Congress will do this right away, or else."


AndrewPrice said...

For Obama, “working with” is a synonym for “taking potshots at.”

Isn't that the truth. I can't help but notice that every time he claims he wants to work with people he starts slamming them for one thing or another. The guy really is a jerk. He's also a bad politician because he comes across as angry and snide... bad combination in a President.

(Of course, "socialist moron" is a bad combination too.)

Unknown said...

Andrew: He's a coward as well. He tends to make his worst remarks about his opponents right after he's made one of his peace, love and brotherhood speeches and sucked another Republican into trying to talk with him. Sorta like Lucy, the football, and Charlie Brown.

CrisD said...

Don't you think-whether Obama is a jerk, angry, snide, obnoxious back-handed bully etc-the biggest problem is the mistrust people have of him?

He was such a sneak about ghost written books, sitting in that church for twenty years, and casting no votes as a senator. People fear that he really is trying to destroy America and these appointments really feed the flames.

I remember Carter as a doofus, not as a creep.

Joel Farnham said...

Once they all get to Washington, the mantra is given to each and every one, "Go along, to get along. No one likes a complainer. Unless you have over 50% of one party in your district or state, you won't be re-elected unless you appeal to the center. Don't insult the black president by asserting he doesn't love each and every one of his children, the American People."

Also, I bet that the mantra now is, "It looks like you will be in charge next year, that is if you don't upset the center by calling the first black president on his recess appointments."

Unknown said...

CrisD: I really and truly hope that this time out the Republican candidate calls Obama out for the phony empty suit he really is. He has delusions of adequacy. Whether he wants to destroy America or not, his policies will succeed in doing just that if he's re-elected. God help us all.

Unknown said...

Joel: There's a strong ring of truth there. I hope some of the Republican candidates are asked direct questions about this issue, then give direct answers like "this President has no respect for anyone but himself and his socialist agenda." Even if it turns out that the appointments are upheld, these are four leftist hacks who don't deserve to be appointed dog-catcher.

T-Rav said...

No, LawHawk, it's different when Obama makes recess appointments. Because he cares about the American people and wants to help them, so it's good when he does these things. Unlike when Bush did it, because he was an evil Republican who just cared about his rich buddies. You should really stay on top of these things.

T-Rav said...

Andrew: "(Of course, "socialist moron" is a bad combination too.)"

Not to mention a redundancy.

Unknown said...

T-Rav: He's going to love us to death--literally.

Individualist said...

Can Congress impeach an individual that has been appointed to one of these boards. If so, what needs to occur for that to ahppen. Can they just vote or do they have to have some cause.

The thing I find the most distrubing about Obama's "appointees" is that they don't seem to limit themselves to just shaping policy. They tend to use there jobs to reward those the administration likes and punish those that don't.

Gibson Guitar, the Black Panthers, Unions receiving stock after GM, etc. etc. etc.

Unknown said...

Indi: Impeachment always requires legal cause. That's a rule, but it suffers from unclear definition. In theory only, the appointees could be impeached, but it would have to be a great deal more than "they have the wrong politics." They can't be impeached because the president appointing them acted wrongfully. Only the president himself can be impeached for that, and we all know that ain't a gonna happen.

My post tomorrow morning discusses yet another of those examples of this administration using its powers for the benefit of friends and causes and at the expense of the American public and taxpayers.

Unknown said...

Tam: I sit corrected. LOL

Tehachapi Tom said...

I ran across a quotation that i like a lot.
"Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is to late".
That came from Tomas Sowell.
The whole bunch ,bo on down, prove the total failure of our countries excursion into government directed education.
There are a few exceptions and this countries future hinges upon the strength of those exceptions.
I for one am prepared to use force to defend civilization but hope such will not be required.
This worthless piece of excrement we are required to call our leader is an embarrassment to our population.

Tehachapi Tom said...

I must be on a Thomas Sowell tangent.
Another of his quotes that applies to this blog "Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric".
bo brings nothing but rhetoric to the table and it is BS.

Unknown said...

Tehachapi Tom: Sowell is right on the money. When my kids were grown and getting ready to rear their own children, I warned them. You'll spend eighteen years turning your little barbarians into civilized human beings despite the public schools, and just when you've succeeded, they'll leave home.

I too hope that it will never come to armed rebellion, but the Second Amendment wasn't about shooting squirrels. For the foreseeable future, I'll count on the American people to correct their mistake in electing The One without resort to the "backup plan."

Tennessee Jed said...

late to the party, but had an awesome day birding. A thousand sand hills in the air all whooping. Awesome. Four or five bald eagles. Nothing quite like the bald to make me feel patriotic. Obama is amazing inhis bullshit. We get it. The lib press plays along. He mainly makes me want to throw up. I like to think a majority of the electorate gets his hypocricy, and he will go down in November. It is an absolute must.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: Sounds like quite a day. We have golden eagles in abundance here, but I've only seen one bald eagle since I moved here. Quite an experience. I don't know what the eagle was looking for, but it had swooped down just as I walked out my back door. It was between my house and the hill behind me, well below the crest and no more then twenty-five feet from me. It was awe-inspiring.

I have developed such a visceral dislike for this clown that I've almost broken my neck falling over furniture to get to the TV remote when his arrogant face and droning voice pop up.

tryanmax said...

So Richard Cordray is the only man for the job? I am always leery when collectivists contradict themselves.

The President firmly believes a lot of things. Too true. “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant: It's just that they know so much that isn't so.”

I’m tired of all this cooperation garbage. Somebody help me out, there’s a quote on the tip of my brain about government only cooperates in conspiracy against the people, but I’m not quite pulling it together.

Unknown said...

tryanmax: Yeah, they're funny that way. The Reagan quote is right on the money, but you've got me on the other one.

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