Obama's latest - a recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to run Medicare and Medicaid. Do you think there might be a reason to vet this doctor on how he intends to run those organizations? Listen for yourself.
Once again, Obama has appointed a radical left wing ideologue to a position of significant importance to our country. Moreover, Obama completely bypassed Constitutionaly mandated hearings to do so by recess appointment. Obama justified his recess appointment of this doctor in a speech yesterday on the grounds of Republican obstructionism:
"It's unfortunate that at a time when our nation is facing enormous challenges, many in Congress have decided to delay critical nominations for political purposes. . . These recess appointments will allow three extremely qualified candidates to get to work on behalf of the American people right away."
This should have brought all Republicans running out of the woodwork to set the record straight in no uncertain terms. It did not.
The Constituion provides, at Art. II, Sec. II that the President "shall have Power . . . [to] nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint . . . all . . . Officers of the United States . . ." The Constitution further provides that the "President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session." This power to make recess appointments was important prior to the era of mass transportation as Congress could be out of session for months at a time. Today, it seemingly exists to act as an end run around Congress. The most controversial use of the authority during the Bush Administration was Bush's appointment of John Bolton as UN ambassador. But even that appointment occurred only after Senate hearings.
What our Thug In Chief has done is skip the entire process of having hearings, let alone seeking the advice and consent of the Senate. The reason he did so had nothing at all to do with Republican obstructionism. This from ABC correspondent Jake Tapper:
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., echoed the president's suggestion, saying that “Republican lockstep stalling of Don’s nomination was a case study in cynicism and one awful example of how not to govern.”
But Republicans were not delaying or stalling Berwick’s nomination.
Indeed, they were eager for his hearing, hoping to assail Berwick’s past statements about health care rationing and his praise for the British health care system.
“The nomination hasn’t been held up by Republicans in Congress and to say otherwise is misleading,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which would have held Berwick’s hearing.
Ummm, no, Sen. Grassley, it is not "misleading." It is a "damned bald faced lie to the American people, not to mention a cynical abuse of the power of recess appointments." Do please get your terminology correct as it is important that Americans understand precisely what is occurring. To continue from Mr. Tapper:
Grassley said that he “requested that a hearing take place two weeks ago, before this recess.”
Berwick’s nomination was sent to the Senate in April, and his hearing had not been scheduled because he was participating in the “standard vetting process,” a Democratic aide on the Senate Finance Committee told ABC News.
But speaking not for attribution, Democratic officials say that neither Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., nor Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, were eager for an ugly confirmation fight four months before the midterm elections. . . .
And there you have it. Our Thug In Chief and his fellow Congressional thugs did not want to have unpleasant questions asked of Dr. Berwick or about Obamacare. That is not Republican obstructionism. That is not remotely a legitimate use of the recess appointment authority. It is an incredibly cynical end run around Congress justified on a gross, bald faced lie to America.
Besides Sen. Grassley, responses to Obama's thuggery have come from Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnel and Democratic Senator Max Baucus:
Echoing Republicans, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Wednesday blasted the Obama administration for sidestepping Congress to install Donald Berwick atop the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
"Senate confirmation of presidential appointees is an essential process prescribed by the Constitution that serves as a check on executive power and protects Montanans and all Americans by ensuring that crucial questions are asked of the nominee — and answered," Baucus said in a statement.
Berwick had not been vetted by the Finance panel, nor had Baucus scheduled a hearing to examine the nominee.
Baucus's office did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday. Baucus is the first Democrat to criticize the recess appointment, which Republicans have blasted.
“As if shoving a trillion-dollar government takeover of healthcare down the throat of a disapproving American public wasn't enough, apparently the Obama administration intends to arrogantly circumvent the American people yet again by recess-appointing one of the most prominent advocates of rationed healthcare to implement their national plan," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.
McConnell criticized Democrats for not holding a confirmation hearing for Berwick, and suggested the party was trying to avoid tough questions about the healthcare reform law.
"Democrats haven't scheduled so much as a committee hearing for Donald Berwick, but the mere possibility of allowing the American people the opportunity to hear what he intends to do with their healthcare is evidently reason enough for this administration to sneak him through without public scrutiny." . . .
Our Congressional Republicans simply don't understand how to communicate. Honesty and emotion - so long as it is justifiable and honest - are key to effective communications. While you should never overstate your case, understating is equally as harmful. So while McConnel's response is factually accurate, it lacks both the simple honesty and emotion to make it memorable and newsworthy. What should have happened is that McConnel, Grassley, and all Congressional Republicans should have held a news conference where their spokesman, with anger and contempt dripping from each word, should have said that "Obama is lying to America and he is a thug who is shredding the Constitution." Then an explanation should have followed.
I understand the desire to be tactful and respectful of the President. But respect is earned - and if there is a single Republican in office who, at this point, thinks that Obama has done anything worthy of their respect, they have to be drunk or on medication. If Obama is obviously lying to America - as he is in this case - then he must be called out on it in no uncertain terms. Likewise, if he is abusing his power - as he is in this case - that also must be made clear to America. Otherwise Obama controls the narrative and, as Lincoln famously said, "you can fool all of the people some of the time." There is no excuse for Obama fooling anyone on these facts.