Friday, April 06, 2007

The John Kerry Post of the Day

My latest discovery about my favorite cheese-eating surrendermonkey-looking Ketchup King cum former Presidential candidate:

I guess John Kerry finally hit back against those nasty Swift Boat Veterans... oh, wait, instead he attacked one of their supporters. President Bush had nominated Sam Fox, a prominent GOP fundraiser, to become the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, a position in the U.S. government that's so important that only Wikipedia probably knows who Fox was replacing.

The problem with Fox was that he, God forbid, contributed $50,000 to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an evil 527 organization that somehow evaded the clutches of McCain-Feingold long enough to stop the Ketchup King from becoming President, at which time he and Teresa would have saved America from global warming and achieved intergalactic peace.

Okay, that's not entirely accurate, although that's how the New York Times would have reported the story, had they chosen to report it. Jokes aside, the real story is this -- because Fox gave money to the Swift Boat Veterans (and perhaps because his name reminds Democrats of Fox News), Kerry threw a hissy fit and the Democrats decided not to confirm Fox. Heck, they wouldn't even let it come up for a vote by the full Senate, since they guessed that Fox might get a few votes from Democrats not mystified by the Ketchup King's hair (hint: Joe Lieberman).

President Bush decided to get down in the sandbox with the Dems and appoint Fox via a recess appointment while Congress went on spring break (we hear Kerry went windsurfing). Personally, if I were the President, I would have nominated John O'Neill, the head of the Swift Boat Vets, just to see if he could make Kerry's head explode on C-SPAN.

Frankly, I wouldn't have blamed the White House if it had opted to let this petty exercise in stupidity go. This little battle between Kerry and the White House accomplishes nothing in terms of public policy. I also can't blame them for the recess appointment, since it (a) effectively settles the issue, since Fox can serve till the end of Bush's term, and (b) it tweaks the pompous blowhard junior Senator from Massachusetts (okay, that could apply to either Senator from Massachusetts).

Oh, wait. Perhaps it doesn't settle the issue. Glad to see the Democrats are making effective use of the Congressional control...
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd and two other Democratic colleagues Thursday formally asked Congress' investigative arm to determine the legality of President Bush's appointment of Republican stalwart Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium.

"We view the appointment of Mr. Fox as a clear abuse of the president's recess appointment power," said Dodd, D-Conn., and Sens. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., and Robert P. Casey Jr., D-Penn.

Opposition from Kerry, who questioned Fox's 2004 contributions to the Swift Boat fund that helped finance an effort to discredit the Democratic presidential nominee, had derailed the nomination last week.

But Wednesday, Bush revived it under a provision that allows him to fill jobs until the end of a congressional term, without seeking Senate confirmation. Fox can thus serve until the end of the current congressional session, probably at the end of next year.

The Democratic senators were outraged, and asked the Government Accountability Office Thursday, "If the U.S. Senate defeats the nomination of Mr. Fox, would Mr. Fox's recess appointment continue through the current session of Congress, or would it be terminated?"

There has also been talk that Fox, a wealthy St. Louis businessman, would not take a salary. The senators wanted a ruling on whether that would be proper.

Thursday, Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney hailed the appointment.

..."Senator Lieberman regrets that partisan politics prevented Sam Fox from being confirmed through the regular Senate process," said spokesman Marshall Wittmann. "The Senator is confident that Mr. Fox will make an excellent American Ambassador to Belgium."

Wittmann said Lieberman had no discussions with administration officials about the appointment.

Thursday's request was not the first time Dodd has sought a GAO opinion on a recess appointment--nor is it the first time he and Lieberman have split on a controversial nominee.

In 2002, after Dodd blocked the nomination of diplomat Otto J. Reich as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Bush gave Reich the job as a recess appointment.

...The GAO advised Dodd that he could not block the nomination. In a three page opinion, its general counsel cited the U.S. Constitution, which gives the president the 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."
Hey, glad to see Robert Casey is hard at work representing my former home state. This effort really helps, Bob -- last time I visited home, everyone wanted to know about the legality of recess appointments. In Philly, I hear it's more important to the constiuents than the Eagles' first-round draft pick.

Beyond that, I'm glad to see Dodd is wasting government time and resources on essentially a partisan issue, in part so he can object to Fox's effort to take the job with no salary. At least the Democrats are philosophically in tune here -- they want to spend money, dammit, and no one's going to work for free!

Jules Crittenden has a humorous take on this, in comparing it to the furor over the U.S. Attorneys scandal...
If it’s wrong for the president to fire political appointees over their politics, doesn’t that make it wrong for senators to oppose political appointees over theirs? Wait a minute. I’m getting confused. The president fired them over their performance, but the Senate only gave a damn about Fox’s politics. So much crap flying around these days, its hard to sort out what’s what. But I think the Dem Cong might need to start holding hearings about itself.
Crittenden's analogy is off, since this is merely an objection to an appointment on political grounds, not an objection to a firing on political grounds. Heck, the Dems don't really dislike firing U.S. attorneys, since they all thought it was peachy when Clinton axed all of them in 1993. The Democrats apparently object to the firing of U.S. Attorneys when they're members of your own political party (we'll cover this in our next post).

But any investigation of Congress should include an effort to determine how many carbon offsets Senator Kerry should buy to make up for his use of hairspray.


Post a Comment

<< Home