Thursday, January 12, 2006

Same Old Tune

One of the favorite Republican memes is that liberals are out of touch with heartland values. It is difficult to tell just what exactly is meant by this, but I suspect the conservatives are trying to imply that liberals tend to be elitist snobs who live on either coast and who have no connection to the hardworking people who live in the wide swath beween the coasts. That's why it's always amusing when one of the major newspapers from "the heartland" comes out with an editorial that spanks the current regime for not paying attention to what really matters to Americans. The Minneapolis Star Tribune did just that in an editorial posted last night. is galling to see that, with Congress on winter break, President Bush has used his recess appointment power to name a badly underqualified candidate to run the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Julie Myers is an attorney, former prosecutor and former White House personnel officer who seems to be a rising star in the administration (she is also married to the chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security), but she has little expertise in immigration and no management background to suggest she can take over an agency with 15,000 employees and a $4 billion budget.

...A White House spokeswoman told the New York Times that the president has complete confidence in Myers. Then why use a recess appointment? It implies that even a compliant GOP Congress would have balked at her nomination. And why cite Myers' experience prosecuting drug smugglers and money-launderers as relevant job experience? If the White House equates immigration policy with felony law enforcement, that is a very bad sign.

After fiascoes with Iraq, Medicare, Social Security and FEMA, the White House badly needs to restore public confidence in its managerial competence. This appointment is not a good start.
[Emphasis added]

The editorialist is quite properly concerned with the cronyism involved in the appointment. While Ms. Myers may be a very experienced and highly qualified prosecuting attorney, nothing in her resume suggests that she has any experience or training in running a large agency which deals with immigration, a subject which some elements of the GOP have promised will be a major campaign issue in both 2006 and 2008. By using the recess appointment, the Emperor in Chief has effectively admitted that she wouldn't pass muster even in a Republican controlled Congress.

I think more than cronyism is involved in Bush's increasing reliance on the recess appointment tool, although that is certainly reason enough to be upset. I believe that the White House is demonstrating once again the theory that the President has greater powers than Congress and the Judiciary and intends to wield those powers as proof those powers exist. By totally ignoring the "advise and consent" provision of the US Constitution, the Emperor demonstrates that he has unlimited power, and the other two branches can do nothing about it.

Perhaps this Congress can't, but unless the Emperor intends to cancel all future elections, the next Congress had better begin reining in the boy-king.


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