Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The MSM, disappointed again

There was a funny moment in this NPR report about the reactions from other UN ambassadors to John Bolton's recess appointment. Linda Fasulo has Kofi Annan giving veiled warnings to Bolton to get along to go along, and has a Brazilian ambassador stress that colleagiality matters. Then she says something very close to, "even in private, the UN ambassadors to whom we spoke were reluctant to criticize Bolton." And that struck me as tremendously funny. I could just imagine Fasulo sticking her microphone under someone's nose and saying, "Come on, we all hate the guy. Give me some dirt." It did not escape me, though, that Fasulo's phrasing in that statement is not just silly, but it also implies that there is dirt to be found -- it's just that no one can or will talk about it. It's tough for the MSM when all they've got are nasty allusions and no facts. As an aside, the this morning's NPR reports also included one on the "expanding power of a recess appointment." This actually was an interesting story, tracing these recess appointments back to the 1820s. Apparently before that, it was understood that recess appointments would be used solely to fill vacancies that actually occurred during the recess. When the attorney general in the 1820s realized that the Constitutional language could be used to support appoints to vacancies that had fallen while Congress was still in session, he assured people that no one would ever actually abuse that power. Most interesting to me was the law professor who pointed the finger of blame for the increasing number of recess appointments, not at the president making the appointments, but at Congress. More and more frequently, Congress has been holding nominees in committees as a way to extort the President or Congress on matters entirely unrelated to the nominee himself. Because so many nominees are dying in committee for reasons having nothing to do with the nomination, Presidents are forced to use more and more recess appointments to fill vacancies. I suspect the report, while interesting, might not have been quite honest, though. The reporter opened by pointing out that the recess appointment power is used by both Dems and Republicans. The first audio clip is of Trent Lott reacting to Clinton's decision to use a recess appointment for James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg. As you may recall, the Republican controlled congress had objected to this nomination because Hormel was openly gay. I can't remember whether his nomination was put to the vote or not, but I believe it wasn't, and it's this belief that guides my analysis. Putting aside whether that was a good objection or not, thinking about how different that situation was from the situation with Bolton. When Hormel's name came up, Congress objected. Clinton knew that he couldn't win an up or down vote, so he snuck Hormel in at recess. Here, Bush knows that Bolton would win an up or down vote -- and so do the Dems, which is why they've prevented that vote. It's because Bush can't get to the voting process, which he knows he'd have won, that he made the appointment now. This stands in stark contrast to Clinton, who avoided the voting process, which he knew he'd lose. There's a huge ethical gap, I think, between these two approaches to executive power.