Thursday, January 5, 2012

More Power to the President(cy)

A major complaint from the many, many critics of President George W. Bush was that he was attempting to increase the power of the Executive Branch in general and the power of the Presidency in particular. There were Bush's use of signing statements, the creation of the DHS, and the whole Guantanamo thing, to cite a few examples.

But it would seem President Obama has proven himself to be not much different, in this regard. As I've detailed, he's employed signing statements in the same manner as his predecessor, he's created new government "czars" and new government agencies, and Guantanamo remains open for business. That's not a whole lot of change, there.

And now, Obama has gone ahead with recess appointments while the House is technically in session! Now, to be completely fair, there's some gamesmanship going on here. The Republicans were trying to block some appointments, particularly that of Richard Cordray. That said, gamesmanship is standard fare in DC, from both parties all of the time. People are cheering that Obama "laid the smack down," but they're missing the bigger picture: this move, if it stands, will expand Presidential authority, as it will allow recess appointments to occur when Congress is not in recess. There's no way around it.

George Bush would indeed be proud.

Cheers, all.


  1. Yeah, I was rather puzzled by the comments on AW that nothing special had happenned and these appointments are just the same as by previous presidents.
    Interestingly, the Clinton admin ( and even Obama's ( said that the recess has to be more than 3 days

  2. I think the move was more about giving his followers something to cheer for; a political calculation.

    It seems to have worked, as a cacophony of "way to go Obama"s has rapidly materialized.

  3. Yes, I know and agree. I think Krauthammer made a similar point in his column. The Repubs are technically right, but going after him for this will give him an opportunity to milk the issue for his advantage.

  4. A good roundup of views