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.
This is perhaps the most troubling failing of the Bush Administration. For example, it sat back and allowed a liberal Securities and Exchange Commission chairman to run roughshod over the marketplace for the first five years of its administration, only now replacing the boob with a solid conservative, market-oriented chairman in Chris Cox. The Bush Team has taken a similarly passive approach to other commissions as mentioned before.
Why is this a big deal? Because without strong conservative majorities sitting on the commissions, liberal, Clinton-era-hired career staffs on those bodies are writing and implementing policy across a range of American life with impunity: how elections are held, how technology is deployed, what we eat, how business can operate, who can get a job. And a Republican Administration just doesn’t seem to care. Fight for an unqualified junior Administration member to run a major Homeland Security agency, but don’t bother appointing the critical swing vote to the FCC? That’s just not right.