Wednesday, January 04, 2012

PLAYING PROCEDURAL GAMES

“They have decided no one can stop them.”

Sometimes its easy to think of the high government officials of a country as being more noble, better educated, and more mature than most people. Judges, legislators, and so on, they seem like they're more dignified and adult than, say, Snooki or the latest contestants on Survivor.

Then every so often, they prove they're not. Right now, the Senate of the United States is not in recess, but only barely. A few Republican Senators are showing up for a few moments to gavel in the Senate, then gavel it out - the start and finish of a Senate session, then go party or whatever they do the rest of the time. God knows its rarely "go home and get in touch with your constituents." So while nothing is actually being done in the Senate, its technically being kept open.

Why do this? Because the president is able to appoint "recess" members to various cabinet and court positions in case they need filling while the Senate isn't around to confirm them.
The President shall have 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.
-US Constitution, Article II, Section 2

And the GOP congressmen don't want that to happen, because they don't care for these appointments. Now, I don't care for them either, but that's beside the point. This is a childish, petty, and distasteful way to try to stop the president from putting people into positions where they're needed. Its underhanded and beneath the office of Senator, and it is simply wretched and pathetic.

But wait, is the president any better? Well, no. He's decided that the Senate isn't really in session, that it is technically in recess, so he can appoint them anyway:
White House attorneys have concluded they have the legal authority to make a recess appointment despite Republican efforts to block the move, Democrats said Tuesday, and administration officials say they reserve the option to install Richard Cordray as head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without Senate approval.
Now this is childish as well, its the kind of game playing you'd expect from a junior high student between giggles at the word "gay" in old books and songs. Both sides are playing procedural games to get their way and both are blatantly violating the intent and spirit of the law to spite the other.

Republicans are crying "impeach!!!" for the president's disregard for the constitution, and Democrats are crying "obstruction! the party of 'no!!'" at the senators' behavior. And each side is acting like a juvenile, like a petty, screeching cat fight. Its pathetic, I'd rather they broke out into a fist fight than this disgusting behavior.

With all the genuine problems in this country and all the real need for leadership and integrity, this is what we get. Fire them all.

*UPDATE: It appears that the Senate Republicans aren't so much opposed to the specific appointee, but the legislation that created his position. They want the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau removed or rewritten, finding its powers and legislation problematic. Fair enough I agree that its bad but this isn't the way to go about it.

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