Earning Their Hatred

Thank God for elections and election years. An election gives our president, who must face the voters in November, permission to think and act like a partisan. It’s long overdue.

President Obama has boldly made key recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The Republican strategy has been to destroy these agencies by failing to confirm appointees. In the case of the new CFPB, that meant nobody in charge to make key decisions to make the new bureau operational. In the case of the NLRB, it meant the lack of a quorum would paralyze the agency altogether.

In naming Richard Cordray to head the CFPB, the president has called the Republicans’ bluff. This was the agency that Elizabeth Warren invented and dearly hoped to lead. Republicans made clear they would block her appointment. When Obama passed her over in favor of the less-well-known Cordray, former Ohio Attorney General and also a strong consumer advocate, Republicans blocked his confirmation, too.

The selection of Cordray, an activist very much in the spirit of Warren, is in many ways a tribute to her leadership in fighting both for a strong consumer protection agency and a strong leader to head it. Cordray is that leader. Consumers will finally have an agency to keep watch for abuses that do not only harm small borrowers but aggregate to major threats to the financial system. Had there been a consumer bureau in the Warren spirit a decade ago, it would have noticed that sub-prime loans were not only ripping off homeowners but threatening to take down the economy.

In the case of the NLRB, the agency, which protects the right of workers to organize or join a union free from employer harassment, would have been totally paralyzed. The Republicans said as much. Here’s what Obama said, in naming Richard Griffin, Sharon Block, and Terrence Flynn to vacant seats on the NLRB:

When Congress refuses to act and as a result hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. I have an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. I will not stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people they were elected to serve. Not when so much is at stake. Not at this make-or-break moment for the middle class.

Well said. These actions define a president who is leading, not searching for futile compromises. It exposes both the Republican obstructionism, the unprecedented tactic of destroying agencies by refusing to allow confirmations, as well as the Republican hostility to agencies that defend regular Americans against powerful corporate elites.

Predictably, the Republicans, having invented new forms of obstructionism such as the use of the filibuster on ordinary legislation and not special cases, as well of refusal to consent to routine extension of the debt ceiling, now cry foul when Obama uses a constitutional provision, the recess appointment, which has been conventional for presidents of both parties. Their contrivance of a fake nominal session when Congress is actually in recess is shameless. They more of a fuss they make, the more they out themselves as defenders of the one percent.

As in the case of the extension of the payroll tax cut, this conciliatory president seems to be warming to the concept of maximizing partisan advantage, particularly when the Republicans hand him opportunities on a platter. Just to make sure that message did not lost, Obama chose Cordray’s hard-pressed home state of Ohio for his announcement of the appointment, and painted Republican obstructionists as allies of Wall Street.

The citizenry loves a fighter far more than a punching bag. The right hates Obama. In the spirit of Franklin Roosevelt, he might as well earn that hatred.


Will you still cheer when a Republican President bypasses congress to appoint an unelected hack with power to decide your future? Will you still cheer when a Republican President bypasses congress to start bombing a sovereign nation. Your shortsightedness is breathtaking.

What a partisan hack piece.

Democratic Board Stuffing >> Rule of law.

This is just B.S! Democrats started the mock sessions to prevent Bush recess appointments (with the support of Senator Obama) and now cannot abide the same standard applied to them.

Why I will never vote democrat again....

Bush had the most recess appointments of any recent presidents. Obama has the fewest.

The president has the power to use his recess appointments. That's politics. Deal with it.

Americans don't like losers either. These appointments look likely losers in courts. Rember how popular FDR's court packing scheme was? This looks like Obama's version of that fiasco.


"The president has the power to use his recess appointments. That's politics. Deal with it."

No one disputes that the president has this power, WHEN SENATE IS IN RECESS. They were not in recess, and Obama bypassed them anyway. And before you say that the pro-forma session they were in was a sham, this was an invention of Harry Reid, used by then Senator Obama, to obstruct Bush's appointees. That's right, Democrats came up with the "obstruction" initially.

The major difference of course is that Bush didn't do an end run around our laws and houses of government, and dealt with the obstruction. After all, back when Bush was president, votes mattered. The way we are heading with this administration, Elvis Presley and Mickey Mouse's votes are the ones that matter.

"...the Republican hostility to agencies that defend regular Americans against powerful corporate elites."

The problem is that "regular Americans" need at least as much defence from "powerful governmental elites" as they do from corporations--and at least corporations can't throw you in gaol for disagreeing with them.

All forms of power are prone to corruption and abuse, and it doesn't matter in the least whether it's the power of government or the power of corporations. And when those concentrations of power collude--"crony capitalism"--all of us "regular Americans" are in serious trouble.

Obama more and more is choosing to act like a Hugo Chavez style left wing dictator. Not really a surprise after all of his wistful comments about not having to bother with Congress like the dictators in Communist China. And who knows? If Obama and Holder get their way on IDs allowing millions of illegal immigrants to vote in 2012 he might even manage to steal a Presidential election like a left wing dictator. However, the extreme left should consider, as they cheer our Dear Leader onward as he voids the Constitution, is that all anything any of these illegal recess appointees do is going to be subject to legal challenge since Congress wasn't in recess when they were appointed, and Obama did not have the advise and consent of the Senate to appoint them. And more importantly if the courts do uphold the appointments than the extreme left should consider that a future Republican President will be able to choose to do the exact same thing essentially wiping out the advise and consent provision of the Contitution! What comes around goes around!

Valwayne, brilliant post. Obama is America's own Caudillo and if he had his way he would turn America into a bannana republic dictatorship. The left, under Obama, has unmasked itself as a self appointed cadre of specialists making an ever expanding number of decisions for American's that we should be making for ourselves. Whether it lightbulbs, the cars we drive or the food we eat the Nanny State under Obama is metastizing like a fast growing cancer.

Do you think the Govt. will 'shut down' when Obama doesn't get the money to fund his '180,000' Summer Jobs 'half-baked' plan? 110,000 'Work Opportunities' this summer will be UNPAID ... but surely there will be another 'Department' that 'We The Taxpayers' will PAY!! Obama is now getting either 'desperate' or 'dangerous' ... running around the Countryside like the 'Barnyard Rooster' .... thinking he is ABOVE THE LAW!!

"...the Republican hostility to agencies that defend regular Americans against powerful corporate elites."
This is of a kind with the creation of the DHS. We 'needed' homeland security because of the failures leading to its creation. But...were the agencies that now report to the DHS sec'y reformed? Were those responsible for the failures terminated? We still have a CIA, FBI, ATF...etc. Are there not consumer protection departments throughout state goverments? Why were they and their federal partners not reformed? And lastly...something that seems never to occur to liberals; What if those we want protection from...are FROM the government?

Problem with Obama's appointment was that the Senate was still in session. Harry Reid used this tactic many times to thrwart George Bush's recess appointments. This is very likely to be thrown out of court. Another unnecessary in your face move by Obama, if he had waited a few more weeks when Congress was in recess he could have made the move with no pushback and no legal challenge. The GOP has another issue with the new agency and that is it is independently funded. This is unprecedented; Congress has the power of the purse and the Dems were dead wrong in making this new agency unaccountable to Congress. I thought the Genius Obama was a Constitutional Scholar?

This article commences by stating this is a recess appointment. It is not.
Then it contends the agency will be hamstrung without the appointment. The agency actually does not exist and is not funded until an appoinment is made. Lastly, Obama is applauded for asserting he has an obligation to act without Congress because its the moral thing to do. Please, someone show me where the executive office is granted that privilege.

As to whether this is a recess appointment, let's ask Supreme Court Justice and former Solicitor General to Hugo...I mean Barrack Obama.

"Although a President may fill such vacancies through the use of his recess appointment power … the Senate may act to foreclose this option by declining to recess for more than two or three days at a time over a lengthy period. For example, the Senate did not recess intrasession for more than three days at a time for over a year beginning in late 2007."
Solicitor General Elena Kagan, April 26, 2010

Obama is happy to work with Congress when they agree with him. When they don't that pesky Constitution is no barrier.

Yes, they are clearly being obstructionist.
But yes, they are allowed to do this.
So it seems it should be up to them to determine when they are or are not in recess.
You cannot justify end-arounds based solely on what you think is right.

jperk, all presidential appointments are unelected. hack? you want a hack, look in the mirror.

rejoice party hacks like harry reid were just neutered by obozo and will never again be able to block republican presidential appointments

Republicans *DID NOT* invent this tactic to prevent recess appointments. Reality is this practice started under the Democrats when GW Bush was president. Republicans are just returning the favor.

It will be very 'interesting' to see how much 'Obama' get's accomplished between now & November 2012.... He's broken the very law that he signed... The DODD-FRANK Bill, that establishes the Consumer Protection Board, has it written into the law that the Director MUST BE CONFIRMED BY CONGRESS.... This was designed to be a 'Board' with oversight from Congress, but now Mr. Cordray will answer to NO ONE!! NO OVERSIGHT whatsoever, and he'll work for the TREASURY DEPT... Wow, how nice, no oversight... get ready for FINANCIAL COLLAPSE!! This just completes OBAMA's 'New World Order' and he will be DICTATOR... Welcome to the U.S.S.A.

When there is a 'Republican President', the Democrats will see how it feels to be circumvented ... In the meantime, Obama is getting BOLDER ... and more DANGEROUS.... Keep the powder dry folks... it's coming to a revolution soon!!

Obviously, Kuttner is an ill-informed partisan hack. The relevant statute specifically says that the the Treasury Secretary will be the head of the agency until a new head is confirmed by the Senate. A recess appointment is not a Senate confirmation. (Sorry.) But then maybe we are playing under Chicago Rules.

FDR at least sought Senate confirmation when packing the Supreme Court, and did not get it. I do not think the NLRB should be paralysed and I can imagine it possible that the Consumer agency might do some little good, but it's purvue is unimportant, especially compared to the Constitution, which this stunt clearly violates. What is next, burglary and tanks in the streets of America, as I saw under Mr. Nixon? Come on! Since when does the End justify any means imaginable...

I applaud President Obama for his leadership at a time when our country needs someone like him who is not intimidated by the dictates of the Republican party, especially those neoconservatives, whose only interest is their own aggrandisement, They have forgotten the people from main street, after they have been elected to office.

Thank God amighty! He finally is using the Republicans' own dirty tricks to beat them at their own game. After spending my entire vacation leave in '08 knocking on doors for him in Cleveland, I was beginning to think I'd wasted all that effort. It's starting to pay off. But I'll keep watching ... now we need to pass the Social Security "pop the cap" effort, and the Employee Free Choice Act.

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