After being in office for 14 months President Obama is finally, finally, finally, finally, finally, finally choosing to begin to govern the country. Today, for example, he finally, finally, finally, FINALLY decided it would be a good idea to put a few people into vacant offices. See President Announces Fifteen Recess Appointments, Including Craig Becker,
The President today announced recess appointments for fifteen nominees who have been waiting for confirmation in the Senate for an average of 214 days. Included in those nominees are two members of the National Labor Relations Board, which has been non-functional without a quorum for over two years.
Of course, this is only putting 15 appointments into vacant positions when there are literally hundreds of vacancies. But heck, it’s something, after months and months and months and months of nothing.
Here is what is going on. President Obama is way behind in nominating people to vacant posts and judgeships. On top of this the Republicans have used the filibuster to block many of the candidates that Obama has nominated. In the case of the Labor Board there were only two people left serving on the 5-member Board when 3 are required to make rulings, and some 600 cases have backed up.
The President has the power to make what are called “recess appointments” which means he can just put people into many of these vacant slots when the Senate is not in session. Such use of legitimate power to make the government operate as it should is also known as “governing.” Until today he has refused to use this power to get the government operating. Today he finally, finally, finally, finally put 15 people into positions where they can start getting their agencies operating.
A couple of weeks ago, after a year of delay that enabled Republicans to almost start a civil war, the President finally showed up and started working to get health care passed, and today it is law. Of course, the President didn’t fight for a public option — he was afraid that Republicans would call him a Socialist if he did –so instead he fought for a Republican-originated plan to make us all buy insurance from the monopolistic insurance giants that have been ripping us off. But at least that kept him from being called a Socialist.
So maybe the President will learn that actually showing up and fighting for something is a good way to get things done. Maybe. We’ll see.