When even a New Republic writer suggests that Barack Obama’s Wednesday recess appointments to the Consumer Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board are probably unconstitutional, you know we’re in for a good fight… at least if Senate Republicans have the courage to take it on.
The left-leaning Politico also notes that “… President Barack Obama’s decision to jam the Senate and install three labor nominees and a consumer watchdog without a confirmation vote raises unsettled legal questions that could have a long-lasting impact past his presidency.”
The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin has a good summary of initial Republican response to Obama’s power-grab.
My view: While Obama is pandering to the far left and union (if you’ll pardon my redundancy) parts of his base, his move is politically unwise.
Think about Obamacare: It was not just the content of the law which people hated; it was also the process. From “deem and pass” to “reconciliation” to “pass it so you can learn what’s in it” every part of the Democrats’ efforts to shove the measure down our throats stunk of heavy-handedness if not outright tyranny.
Obama’s recess appointments were an unnecessary reminder by Obama that he is indeed a tyrant. It’s one thing to fight “obstructionism.” It’s another thing entirely to say that he, rather than the Senate, determines whether or not the Senate is in session.
If these appointments are challenged in court and if Obama loses, it would do measurable damage to his election prospects — not just because of the appointments themselves but because it is such a stark reminder that our president is a man who thinks himself and his vaunted goals so important that the rule of law should yield to his will. Other than among the roughly 20 percent of Americans (university professors, union members, and government employees) who strongly approve of Obama’s job performance, this sort of autocratic behavior does not play well to the American sensibility. It is a sensibility that is figuratively and literally foreign to Barack Obama, who spent formative years living in anti-democratic places like Indonesia and Columbia University.
It may be that Obama is feeling his oats after his payroll tax cut “victory” over House Republicans and therefore trying to flex his muscles. But he’s picked a stupid fight at a stupid time, with far more to lose than to gain, reminding us of the surprisingly tin-eared Chicago-style politician he spent most of 2009 and 2010 proving himself to be.
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