Patterico's Pontifications

8/24/2009

Obama appointees: Plenty of empty seats, Plenty of thrones

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:28 am



[Posted by Karl]

The New York Times has noticed that after seven months in office, Pres. Obama has filled only 43 percent of the 543 policymaking jobs requiring Senate confirmation in four top executive ranks:

He is trying to fix the financial markets but does not have an assistant treasury secretary for financial markets. He is spending more money on transportation than anyone since Dwight D. Eisenhower but does not have his own inspector general watching how the dollars are used. He is fighting two wars but does not have an Army secretary.

He sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Africa to talk about international development but does not have anyone running the Agency for International Development. He has invited major powers to a summit on nuclear nonproliferation but does not have an assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation. He has vowed to improve government efficiency but does not have the chief performance officer he promised.

But wait, there’s more:

No Obama appointee is running the Transportation Security Agency, the Customs and Border Protection agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Mr. Obama still does not have an intelligence chief at the Department of Homeland Security, nor a top civilian in charge of military readiness at the Pentagon.

Moreover, according to another recent NYT report:

President Obama has made health care his top priority. He says the cost of Medicare and Medicaid is “the biggest threat” to the nation’s fiscal future. But to the puzzlement of Congress and health care experts around the country, Mr. Obama has not named anyone to lead the agency that runs the two giant programs.

The suggestion in these reports is that the vetting process “had become so intrusive that many candidates declined to be considered.” Which is rather incredible considering that Obama Treasury Secretary Timmy Geithner is a tax cheat, and still got confirmed. As did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, despite all sorts of conflict of interest concerns.

However, concerns that Obama’s appointees might be so problematic that even the complacent Senate might object would explain the dozens of “czars” Obama has installed — some with ethical clouds, all undermining the Senate’s constitutional role advice and consent.

–Karl

19 Responses to “Obama appointees: Plenty of empty seats, Plenty of thrones”

  1. “Czars” (or Tsars, perhaps) leave a bad taste in my mouth. Unaccountable except to the President, unconfirmed as to suitability by the Senate, I consider them an unconstitutional excess of the Executive.

    mojo (8096f2)

  2. Talk about imperial presidencies. What happens when a president doesn’t appoint confirmation required policy jobs but only policy czars? How much damage do liberals intend on inflicting on our country?

    Ray (3c46ca)

  3. At what point does the Senate wake up on the executive power grab and what can they do to stop it?

    Why appoint anyone to an executive position that requires Senate confirmation? Just stick a Czar in to do the job and skip the headache.

    CAL (9dbc16)

  4. Mr. Obama has won confirmation of 304 nominees, compared with 301 for Mr. Bush, 253 for Bill Clinton and 212 for the first President George Bush at this point in their administrations.

    Another phony crisis?

    Sunburn (5d93e3)

  5. hundreds of senior positions remain empty with 15 percent of Mr. Obama’s term over

    These are hundreds of fewer former Obama administration officials that the dirty socialist media can spend the next 30 years interviewing. Hundreds of fewer former Obama administration officials to defend what he done to our little country.

    You notice that I think when you see that Peter Baker found room for this little fillip…

    The process of assembling a new administration has frustrated presidents for years, a point brought home when George W. Bush received the now-famous memorandum titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike U.S.” eight years ago this month but still did not have most of his national security team in place when planes smashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

    … but couldn’t find a single Bush administration official for his article to talk about staffing or vetting issues. Just some dirty socialist academics and “The White House Transition Project.” Oops. That’s actually same same since Paul Light – who Peter Baker describes as “a professor at New York University who specializes in appointments” – is identified on the WHTP site as a WHTP member who’s also a Brooking Insitute fellow.

    So why is Peter Baker taking dictation for the “White House Transition Project”? Hell if I know other than that the WHTP is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Pew Charitable Trusts (scroll to the bottom of that last link).

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  6. Not really. The positions that are vacant are important to what Obama is trying to do. Having only Geithner at Treasury for the first few months was nuts.

    Also it is a 60 Dem congress doing the vetting. Any qualified nominees should roll through. Bush had jumping Jim Jeffords and a bitter Dem majority screaming about stolen elections to get his appointees through.

    CAL (9dbc16)

  7. Obama doesn’t give a rat’s rear anatomy about undermining the Senate. He’s thrown them under his bus along with his White Grandmother, Rev. Wright, and anyone else who pulls down his popularity numbers.

    I don’t know how any of O’s tsars are Constitutional? Why hasn’t some Senator or Rep. drug him into court to make him defend not making appointments and getting them passed by the Senate? THIS GOES FOR BOTH PARTIES!

    PCD (02f8c1)

  8. […] that have yet to be filled as well, and are quite ironic in their vacancies (Heads-up from Karl at Patterico’s). For all the emphasis on running health care responsibly, via the New York Times, the President […]

    NYT: 57% of Obama appointments not yet filled « Wellsy’s World (c67638)

  9. sorry – that should be *Brookings Institution* where I linked that Paul Light person

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  10. Is the problem that these positions were not offerred to the NYT Editorial Board,
    or that they wouldn’t take them?

    AD - RtR/OS! (cbe8a1)

  11. I’m Kimba Wood, and I approved this message.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  12. Um, more importantly, will a Republican MA Governor appoint a Republican to the Senate once Teddy expires?

    Or will another RINO fold?

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  13. Look, that article doesn’t take into consideration that the Bush Transition Team was on hold for about 60 days until the SCOTUS ruled. Obama has had 10 months to get these people in and confirmed and he does have a filibuster proof Senate.

    It is just not a priority with him, now that he has all of his czars in place.

    rls (e465df)

  14. And of course, Sunburn is going by the White House count, which includes ambassadors, United States attorneys, marshals and judges, who are also subject to Senate votes but are not counted by the scholars. And I don’t think Sunburn wnts to delve too much into the ambassadors or their qualifications.

    Karl (b77238)

  15. “I’m Kimba Wood, and I approved this message.”

    You stole my line, BITCH!

    Zoe Baird (718861)

  16. There is a silver lining in this. We have just that many fewer issuers of inane and insane policies running amok layering new crappy policies over the existing crappy ones. I suggest savoring the vacuum for as long as it lasts.

    political agnostic (c67d1c)

  17. His biggest priority is to ram through all his spending and takeover bills. You don’t need an undersecretary to take over industry and set up a huge slush fund (stimulus, wink wink).

    He almost succeeded.

    Patricia (29a01d)

  18. Obama seems determined to “presidentialize” the government – i.e to run everything out of the White House. Karl Rove noted that Obama planned to put four people in his office – his physical White House office, that is. This was a sign of Obama’s expansion of White House staff. When Daschle was tabbed to head HHS, he was also to have a White House title and office.

    Also note that with Daschle’s appointment KOed, it took Obama over three months to name a Sec of HHS. I believe that may be the longest delay of any newly elected President in filling a Cabinet post ever. (Not counting carryovers, such as Gates now, Nick Brady under Bush I, or John Forsyth under Van Buren.)

    Rich Rostrom (f3a9de)

  19. 12, HeavenSent, Duvall Patrick, the current Governor of MA, is black and a Obama supporting Far Left Democrat. What RINO are you speaking of?

    PCD (02f8c1)


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