Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Playing out a Fantasy

For the second term of the Obama presidency, there was not much done in Congress.  Obama made speeches with generalized proposals, but bills to accomplish most of those proposals were not even introduced in Congress.  On a few other subject, one or another congressman or senator would introduce a bill, but they never got out of committee.  There was no push to get the bills through.  President Obama famously said that he would just go around Congress; he told us that he had a phone and a pen and would take executive action.  Even there, Obama did precious little. 

When it came time for the Democrats to explain why nothing was happening, the chose to blame "obstructionist" Republicans.  The problem with that explanation, of course, was that it wasn't true.  You can't block bills that don't exist.  The only high profile "obstruction" by the GOP came when Obama nominated Judge Garland to the Supreme Court.  On items like immigration, the Senate actually passed a bill in 2013, but it had no support in the House.  Obama and the Democrats made no effort to reach some sort of compromise with the House GOP.  The bill died, and the Democrats blamed Republican obstruction.

For years, the Democrats told each other that the GOP was blocking every move they wanted to make.  The GOP was "the party of NO".  But, of course, it wasn't true.  You can't block proposals when there are no proposals.

So now we have GOP control in Congress.  The Democrats have decided to live out their fantasy.  They are trying to block everything.  I'm not talking about the unified Democrat response on healthcare.  For that bill, there is a policy difference.  It may be an idiotic position, but there is a basis for that position.  No, I'm talking about how the Democrats are trying to block every nomination made by President Trump.  In the last two weeks, the Senate Democrats slow walked a judicial nomination so that it took up nearly a week of Senate time to get it passed.  When the vote came, the judge was confirmed UNANIMOUSLY.  First, the Democrats forced a one week delay and then they all voted for the judge anyway.  Whose purpose does that serve?  It certainly is not something good for the American people.

As a result of the non-stop opposition by the Senate Democrats to every nominee, we have huge numbers of vacant positions in the government.  There are literally hundreds of nominees who are just waiting to go to work.  Some of those nominees are for under-secretaries in the Defense and State Departments.  With all that is going on in the world, don't we want to have people in place who focus on particular problems or regions?  Do the Democrats actually want to keep our foreign policy under pressure due to lack of people to carry it out?  Remember, these are not positions for which there are great policy differences between the parties.  They both oppose terrorism, for example.  So why block the appointments?  The only real answer is that the Democrats are living out the fantasy that the GOP somehow blocked Obama and that this is some sort of childish payback.

In mid August, the Senate and the House will go on a three week recess.  At that point, President Trump should just appoint all these people to recess appointments.  They can take their positions for at least a year and a half, and the Senate can still decide whether or not to confirm them for full positions.  It's a drastic step, but one that is within Trump's powers.  It really ought to be done.

No comments: