Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Go Senate Dems!

For once the Democrats in the U. S. Senate are standing their ground on something and have really blocked Bolton's nomination, for the time being. Meanwhile, an embittered and frustrated Bush White House threatens to send Bolton to the UN as a recess appointment.

Really, Congress needs to limit the use of this "recess appointment" power. I can see it making sense for the executive to appoint someone to temporarily fill an important position when Congress is out of session for extended periods and it is impracticable to bring them back together just to confirm somebody. But for the President to use to thwart the express will of the People of the United States as determined by the Congress is a violation of the separation of powers and just plain dangerous.

1 comment:

Vince Marchand said...


I thought you were against the filibuster? "The express will of the people," at least as expressed by a majority of the Senate (admittedly not a very representative body, but the only body given the power to confirm), is to close debate to allow a vote on Bolton, who would then, almost certainly, win confirmation.

I think Bolton is a terrible choice. But we should be careful about using terms like "thwarting the express will of the people," when we are in the minority in Congress....

I'm also torn on the extent to which Democrats, as a minority party, should block nominations of the party in power. Certainly in some cases. But part of being in the majority (and holding the office of the presidency) is having the ability to make executive branch appointments, and generally run the country as the party in power sees fit. If they do a poor job, then there is clear accountability, and an election every two or four years to hold the majority accountable.

I worry that Democrats are starting to adopt the mindset of a permanent minority -- vigorously protecting the right of the minority party to object and "thwart the will of" the majority party. It is as if the Democrats don't expect to be taking over the majority, or the Presidency, anytime soon.

I hope that isn't the case.