The Spectacle Blog
Sen. Harry Reid is the most politically unethical leader in Washington. By this we mean he is willing to lie and manipulate facts and information he provides to his constituents and the American people to suit his purposes regardless of the cost.
For example: before the Christmas recess, he claimed he wasn't playing politics with the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act. Yet sources tell us that Reid aides and other members of the Democratic leadership staff who were coordinating with sympathetic media and third party operatives, threatened the New York Times with going public about the NSA anti-terrorism prevention program themselves if the Times did not run the story they had been sitting on for almost a year before the Act's renewal debate was over. Reid said he had little to do with the threatened filibuster of the Act's renewal.
The power plays among Ariel Sharon's possible successors have already begun. One Israeli correspondent e-mailed this morning that Sharon is close to death and isn't likely to make it. His temporary successor, Ehud Olmert, is already attracting intense fire. Stay tuned. This will be a prolonged and important change. The only short-term beneficiaries will be the Palestinians, who will now claim they have no "peace partner" in Israel, and will return to higher levels of violence almost immediately.
I wonder if Bush's neglect in taking advantage of recess appointments was part of a larger plan to make the Democrats look even worse. For example, by putting off a nomination for the FCC, the Republicans will have an opportunity to stomp the Dems for being obstructionist.
Of course, that's my interpretive optimism speaking. They could just be lazy, as the record might show.
You read it here first before the Christmas Recess that the House GOP was looking to cut the cord on Suspended in Animation Leader Tom DeLay. It was the cocktail chatter at the St. Michael's Island retreat after Thanksgiving, and it continued throughout the December legislative session.
Rep. John Boehner has been putting himself in position to challenge for the leadership post for more than a year. Sources say that since January 2005, he has been holding weekly strategy sessions with a kitchen cabinet of advisers in Washington to discuss options, map out fundraising trips and commitments that best put him position for a run at leadership. "If we get a vote, we're ready to go," says one of the advisers. "We've been waiting for this for a while."
Word was leaking out late Tuesday that Wednesday would be "Recess Appointment Day." The list of who received a "Get Out of Filibuster Hell Free" card isn't so interesting as who was left off the list. There are men and women far more qualified for their nominated positions than Julie Myers who were left off the recess appointment list. The White House has some explaining to do on that front, and we'll leave it at that.
More troubling is the White House's seeming inability to stock some of the critical commission seats. For example, in this round of recess appointments, the White House finally sat two Federal Election Commissioners. Yet 1600 Penn still has not put forward the name of a Republican nominee to the Federal Communications Commission, where chairman Kevin Martin has been balancing policy changes with a 2-2 (including himself) commission split for months.
As Jed mentioned last night, President Bush recess nominated Julie Myers last night as head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In short, it stinks. As Michelle Malkin extensively reported last year, there's no indication that she's particularly well qualified to lead the 12,000-strong law enforcement organization besides her knowledge of export controls. This isn't the Bolton nomination -- in which petty partisanship held up an important post -- but a nomination that deserved to be held up.
Roll Call is reporting that the president may announce a number of recess appointments tonight or tomorrow. Included among them are some, such as Julie Myers, nominated for chief of the Immgration and Customs Enforcement.branch of the Department of Homeland Security, who is criticized as unqualified by experience. Her case is unclear. But there are a whole bunch that aren't.
There are too many important positions left unfilled for the most petty of political reasons. Such as Deputy Defense Secretary-nominee Gordon England. The president should have made these appointments long before. Now's as good a time as any.
There's nothing that says they couldn't have simply said, "Hoping". This whole thing was indicative of the media's need to come up with the story first, rather than deal with checking their facts. You can blame them, as honest a mistake as it may have been -- the mentality is completely wrong.