Posted 10:44 am | Printer Friendly
Presidential recess powers are supposed to be reserved for filling urgent vacancies when the Senate is in recess, which is why it's so frustrating to see Bush abuse this power to an unprecedented extent. As far as the White House is concerned, the notion of Senate confirmation might as well cease to exist.
The president announced not one, not two, but 17 recess appointments late yesterday afternoon. What's worse, many of these officials faced stiff resistance in the Senate. Rather than allow lawmakers to fulfill their advise-and-consent responsibilities, Bush effectively sidestepped the Senate altogether by appointing a motley crew of hacks, cronies, and Michael Brown-like incompetents.
There are quite a few embarrassments here, but I'd like to highlight a few of my favorites.
Ellen R. Sauerbrey, of Maryland, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration — Sauerbrey has literally no background in setting up refugee camps, delivering emergency supplies, and mobilizing international responses to humanitarian crises. Her only "qualification" seems to be that she's a Republican activist looking for a job in the administration.
Dorrance Smith, of Virginia, to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs — Smith raised eyebrows last year that Al-Jazeera "operated on behalf of terrorists and that U.S. networks aided them by televising Al-Jazeera's images." Smith wrote, "Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and al Qaeda have a partner in Al-Jazeera and, by extension, most networks in the U.S. This partnership is a powerful tool for the terrorists in the war in Iraq." For a high-ranking official in charge of Public Affairs, Smith is clearly the wrong person for the job.