Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston





Thursday, January 5, 2012


Okay.  We've heard Little Ricky pop off at the mouth about President Obama's recent recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Cue the know-nothing GOPers who clutch their pearls and take to their fainting couches--hello Mitch McConnell--over a procedure that Republican presidents have used many, many, many more times than has President Obama.

Little Ricky, who proves his incompetence every time he opens his mouth, called what Presidents Reagan, G.H.W.Bush, Clinton, and G.W.Bush routinely practiced  something worthy of a Banana Republic. 

Perhaps he and Willard believe their followers, like them, are too incompetent to research this very common procedure and see that President Reagan used it more than any of the U.S. presidents that came after him. 

That's quite a precedent, Mr. Reagan!


According to reports from the Congressional Research Service, during their time in office:

President Ronald Reagan made 240 recess appointments,

President George H. W. Bush made 77 recess appointments,

President Bill Clinton made 140 recess appointments, 

George W. Bush made 171.

Obama's first term has seen a paltry 28.

From The National Review:  "Two high-ranking Justice department officials from the (George W.) Bush administration support the position Obama has taken on the grounds that the executive branch has always maintained a "common-sense view" that the Senate is not in session when nobody's there and it isn't doing anything."

From the New York Times, 1/5/2012:

"Consumer advocacy organizations hailed Mr. Cordray’s appointment. 'The C.F.P.B. will no longer have to fight mounting consumer financial abuses with one arm tied behind its back,' said Travis B. Plunkett, legislative director for the Consumer Federation of America.

But some banking and business organizations objected. The American Banking Association, which represents banks of all sizes but generally is considered the voice of the largest institutions, said the appointment 'puts the bureau’s future actions in constitutional jeopardy, threatening its work, complicating compliance efforts of banks and further undermining the entity’s authority and credibility.'

Many community banks and credit unions have been eager to see the agency up and running because they often compete against nonbank mortgage lenders and other loan companies.

Thomas J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said its members 'strongly believe it’s important to protect consumers from predatory lending, financial scams and fraud in the marketplace.' But he cited the agency’s structure and lack of oversight as its main problems."

Talking Points Memo explains how and why President Obama made this particular recess appointment.


Rational Nation USA said...

If the issue truly is about recess appointments Mr. Santorum has egg all over his face.

I happen to think recess appointments lack principle from a ethical philosophic view. From a purely practical and self interest perspective I understand the purpose for them. So does Rick S. I'm quite sure.

Santorum is pandering and in the process looking very foolish.

Jerry Critter said...

Republicans have never allowed truth to get in the way of their bitching and moaning.

Rational Nation USA said...

Jerry - Republicans is much too general, not all republicans are as you describe.

It is what the nature of politics have become. Unfortunately.

Dave Miller said...

Shaw, the GOP is claiming that the Senate is not officially in recess, thus making a recess appointment not possible.

The Dems themselves have used this practice of not adjourning in the past to limit President Bush's ability to make recess appointments.

While I applaud the nominee, a little balance in acknowledging that this is a regular practice used by both parties to limit Presidential power is a fairer explanation.

At least in my opinion.

I think our President would be on stronger ground if he was to just smack the GOP daily for not approving someone to fill a job that was created with bi-partisan legislation.

And then he should get someone to be his Bernie Mac and beat the snot out of McConnell.

Shaw Kenawe said...


The chart I provided shows that presidents since Mr. Reagan have used this recess appointment. Neither party is willing to give up these obstructionist procedures: the filibuster and the refusal of the senate to give an up or down vote on a presidential appointment.

While it is true that Democrats have used these tactics, it is also true that the GOPers have used them more with this president than any other in modern history.

It's obstructionist and damaging to the country, because it interferes with getting work done to move the country forward.

When I hear GOPers and others say that Mr. Obama is the most divisive president in our history, I have to laugh.

Which party announced before Obama took his oath of office that they hoped he failed? How does that rhetoric encourage cooperation?

It is apparent to anyone who's been paying attention that the policy of the GOP in the age of Obama is to say NO! to everything he proposes and obstruct, obstruct, obstruct.

This is not governing.

I'm amazed the president has accomplished as much as he has under these conditions.

What a dysfunctional country.

Mr. Obama was vilified by his own party for reaching out and trying to compromise and common ground with the GOP. I've heard Eric Cantor himself say that compromise is not a good thing.

These people don't know anything about governing.

Jerry Critter said...

I don't believe I said all.

Shaw Kenawe said...


Jerry Critter said...

My most recent comment was in response to RN comment to me...if that is what you are asking.

Rational Nation USA said...

Jerry - Acknowledged. Thank you, this is an important distinction.

Although I am no longer a republican because the "real" republicans have fallen to the fringe and religious right elements of what was once the GOP.

Jerry Critter said...

If you vote republican, you are a republican.

Rational Nation USA said...

Well Jerry, I've been pretty clear about my politics. Since Ron Paul Will at best be a spoiler and at the most exert measured influence in the GOP I'll be voting for Johnson in the general if he gets the Libertarian nomination.

Have fun with that dude!

Rational Nation USA said...

Shaw - Thanks for the link. I am indeed appreciative.

Jerry Critter said...

Either a Democrat or a republican will be elected president in 2012.

If you vote for a third party candidate, you are irrelevant in terms of picking the next president. If you vote for the Democrat, then you are a democrat no matter what your positions are. Similarly, if you vote for the republican, then you are a republican.

Your choices are be a Democrat, be a republican, or be irrelevant.

Take your pick.

Rational Nation USA said...

No Jerry, you take your pick. Statism is statism, whether the mascot be red or blue. Sadly there are few who grasp this. So be it.

Were there a classical liberal party, and it adhered to "classical liberalism" it would be my party.

You see Jerry principles do still matter to some. Allegiance to a hide blind ideology Will be a thing of the past. At least for those possessing a active mind.

Jerry Critter said...

Whether you like it or not, at this point the solutions to our problems are going to come through the Democrats and the republicans. You can work within those systems to effect the changes you want, or you can stand on the sidelines. It would appear that you have chosen the sidelines.

What A Cracker said...

RN has been supporting these Rethugs for decades, Only now (when they look absolutely absurd) does he disavow them. Of course he supports the bigot in the group.

Octopus said...

To put the graph of recess appointments into perspective, it should be superimposed over a graph of filibusters by president and party. I recall, but don't have time to reference a link, the rate of filibusters against Obama's legislative initiatives are a multiple of what they were during previous administrations.

Informed readers of this forum understand intuitively what the Republican strategy has been since the beginning: Obstruction!

If RN thinks recess appointments lack principle from an ethical viewpoint, so does the excessive and unwarranted use filibusters (which necessitates the use of recess appointments). There is a larger ethical principle at stake here: The fiduciary responsibility of legislators pursuant to the terms of the U.S. Constitution.

When a bill is passed by both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support and signed into law by the president, a special interest group has no right to undo the law with deceit and trickery.

Yes, a special interest group! The same crooks and scoundrels who gave us the Great Recession do not want to be regulated. They want to retain the right to cheat and steal from consumers with impunity, and no amount of partisan spin will change the facts.

Look at it this way: If RN wants to waste his vote on a third party candidate, at least his vote won't be going to the plutocracy. And if more voters like RN withhold their support, the plutocracy loses - one way or another.

Rational Nation USA said...

Your point may be valid Jerry. Continuing to support either the democrat or republican party will yield the same results at the end of the road.

So yes, playing the same game with the same players and their respective ideologies supports the system the establishment wants. You're an active player in that system you so heartily claim to want to change. Good luck with that.

Jerry Critter said...

I guess the question comes down to how to best effect change. Do you do it from within the existing parties, like the rightwing fanatics have done with the republicans, or from the outside with a third party.

My choice is from within the existing party. Your choice appears to be a third party. Both are legitimate decisions.

Dave Miller said...

Don't get me wrong Shaw, what the GOP is trying to do, oppose anything that might help the economy in one small bit, or advance any Obama initiative so they can claim he is a failure, is horrible.

Politics in the worst way.

But the Senate has not technically adjourned, so by their rules, you cannot have a recess appointment.

Is it a childish maneuver to keep Obama from making a recess appt? Of course it is, but the Dems did the same thing with Bush on occasion and he took his lumps and did not appoint anyone.

But I applaud Obama for finally deciding to stand up and show these guys for what they are... obstructionists, pure and simple...

Shaw Kenawe said...


It's a manipulative made-up Senate rule. How could the GOP say with a straight face that it was in session when no one was there? It was "in session" procedurally only to keep the president from appointing his choice to a position that was legally voted on and passed over a year ago. The GOP wanted it to whither on the vine, as it would have, being left without a leader.

The president had to do something. He did. And he's ready to take on the criticism with excellent reasons for doing what he did.

"Democrats should welcome a fight in which Republicans’ only possible complaint is that President Obama has thwarted their efforts to protect Wall Street bankers from regulation...


Senate Republicans earlier this month used a parliamentary maneuver known as a filibuster to block Cordray’s nomination, even though the former Ohio statewide official had the backing of a majority of senators."--Columbus Ohio Dispatch

All of these obstructionist maneuvers need to be struck down. But neither the Dems nor the Repubs will do so, hoping to keep them in their arsenal as ways of stopping other presidents from exercising their Constitutional perogatives.

Dave Miller said...

Shaw agreed, but the Dems used that same made up silly rule against Bush.

This is what happens when the worm turns in what is quickly becoming a cesspool.

I still do not understand how you can get a vote through both houses of congress, supported by both parties, and then one party can choose to ignore the law, and they are celebrated for that by the "law and order" crowd...

they should print this in the dictionary under hubris...

dmarks said...

No matter what the parties involved, I believe the Senate should actually do the "Advise and Consent" thing they are required to do.

The fillibusters and other delaying tricks used extensively by both Democrats AND Republicans are a shirking of their duty.

Octo said: "If RN thinks recess appointments lack principle from an ethical viewpoint, so does the excessive and unwarranted use filibusters (which necessitates the use of recess appointments)."

Yes. The fillibuster are the Senate being too lazy or craven to do its duty. Hurry up and vote, damnit. Obama comes across on top in this by pointing out that the Senate could not be bothered to do what it was supposed to do.

(...just as Bush did when he did his own recess appointments).

dmarks said...

RN said: "'ll be voting for Johnson in the general if he gets the Libertarian nomination. Have fun with that dude!"

Indeed. Bring the bong to a Johnson campaign party.

Rational Nation USA said...

dmarks ... "Indeed bring the bong to a Johnson campaign party."

Be my guest if you like. I'll be having a vintage French wine.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Marijuana was once legal, then laws were passed to make it illegal.

Alcohol consumption was legal, then laws were passed to make it illegal, then back to legal.

There is nothing inherently "illegal" in marijuana.

I would rather be in the company of people high on marijuana than high on alcohol.

Rational Nation USA said...

Everything in moderation. Although marijuiana just doesn't float my boat, so to speak.

Truth 101 said...

I see nothing wrong with Obama making recess appointments. It's legal. To call it childish way off base Dave.

I see nothing wrong with RN voting for Johnson. I didn't vote for that scumbag Blagojevich out of principle. I met him. He was a sleazebag. His inner circle were sleazebags. if that makes me a bad Democrat then I'll join RN at the Johnson shindig for pot and wine. Well. The wine anyway.

Jerry Critter said...

Hey! Anyone offering pot and wine can't be all bad.

S.W. Anderson said...

I like it that President Obama did this and isn't seeking some kind of compromise, like having Cordray work half days and promise not to do anything the financial industry really doesn't want done.

RN, I think holding phony "sessions" where there's no chance of a quorum and no way any substantive business will be done, all to block a perfectly qualified appointee in an effort to make the president look weak, impotent and like a failure, is unethical. It arrogantly dismisses the possibility the appointee and the position have any worth and importance to the people those in Congress are supposed to serve.

It would be different if there was a credible case to be made that the blocked appointee is unqualified or unfit. Republicans aren't claiming that. They just want to make Obama look bad by either succeeding with their shakedown demand that they be allowed to cripple the CFPB at birth, or make Obama look helpless in getting his man and the new agency to work for the public good.

Leslie Parsley said...

"On the one hand, they [Dems] said, Republicans maintain that both houses of Congress are in session, so the president should not fill vacant positions by making temporary “recess appointments.” On the other hand, they said, the House and the Senate are doing no real work and meet for just a few minutes in pro form sessions every few days."
"Republicans dismissed the Democrats’ efforts on the House floor as theater."

Anyone else see the irony?

Shaw Kenawe said...

I think the GOPers are pouting about the private sector jobs added news and the dip in unemployment.

Those numbers run contrary to their meme that Mr. Obama is destroying America. LOL!

Then there's the GOP inconsistency in their mantra that "government can't produce jobs," while at the same time blaming the president [head of government] for not producing enough jobs, not to mention that during the 2010 elections The Weeper of the House promised when the Repubs took back the House their first order of busines would be JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!

But...but...Mr. Weeper! Your party says government can't produce jobs!

I swear, Mr. Obama has made them all loses what little minds they had. LOL!

Shaw Kenawe said...

loses? LOSE!

Henry Zecher said...

All the things you say are true, but of both parties. Sure, Obama is divisive. So was Bush 43 and so was Clinton, and for many good reasons. Recess appointments are authorized by the Constitution, and politicians (in this case the GOP) who rattle their sabers about it are just playing partisan bullshit politics, which the Democrats have done just as much and, in a couple of cases, worse. So has the GOP. Get off your partisan rants and look at how the collective efforts of all four of our last four presidents have brought us to the economic precipice on which we teeter.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Dear Henry,

It is perfectly human to be partisan for a political philosophy one believes in.

In fact, this country is no more partisan than it was right after it was formed, and during the Civil War, or at any time in its history.

"Get off your partisan rants and look at how the collective efforts of all four of our last four presidents have brought us to the economic precipice on which we teeter."

Seriously? You think presidents alone brought this country to "the precipice?

I disagree. There are forces beyond our government that have a much larger role in how economic policies impact this country and all countries.

Rational Nation USA said...

Shaw - Your observation that there are forces beyond our government that exert much greater control over the economic policies of our country I share with you.