President Obama has given us plenty of reasons not to like him — his penchant for redistributive policies, his love of increasing the power and scope of government, and his stances on terror and security that could at best be called ambivalent. But perhaps the thing that rankles most is his attitude. This is the President. Of the United States. The “leader of the free world” and the “most powerful man in the world.” His party had a supermajority (and still maintains a hefty majority despite the recent Massachusetts election) in the Senate and a wide majority in the House.
And yet he still insists on taking a whining, hurt tone when someone disagrees with him. Obama’s act is reminiscent of a rich, star high school quarterback who’s still bitter because someone, somewhere doesn’t like him and won’t invite him to their birthday party.
Sometimes, it seem the President really believes his own hype, that just by existing he’s changed the rules of politics and policy forever. How else to explain this latest complaint about holds being placed on his nominees for federal jobs?
A hold is the practice of a Senator objecting to a specific nominee–sometimes anonymously, and on any grounds–to a nominees for a Federal office. With a hold placed on them, the nominee can not be brought up for an approval vote in the Senate.
In the Washington Post, the writer, Ed O’Keefe (no relation to James as far as we know) gives voice to Obama’s complaint over Senate Republicans placing hold on his nominees for Federal positions. But in the lead paragraph (and let us just say that when a prominent newspaper does not consign a knock on this President to the 17th paragraph of the story, it’s quite telling), he also points out that this is the very same tactic that Obama himself used at least three times, for reasona having nothing to do with how qualified the nominees (of then-President George W. Bush).
Obama has this to say now, perhaps believing himself to be some sort of Obamasatz Haderach, who can take many positions at once:
“We’ve got a huge backlog of folks who are unanimously viewed as well qualified — nobody has a specific objection to them — but end up having a hold on them because of some completely unrelated piece of business.”
But had this to say just 5 short years ago. WaPo:
In 2005, a year after his election to the Senate, Obama placed a hold on Susan Bodine to lead the Environmental Protection Agency office that oversees Superfund and emergency cleanup programs because the agency had missed a deadline on new regulations for lead paint exposure.
In September 2006, Obama and Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) blocked Robert L. Wilkie’s nomination as a Defense Department assistant secretary over a long-delayed Pentagon report on Midwestern wind farms.
And Obama joined with other Democrats in October 2007 to block the nomination of Hans von Spakovsky to the Federal Election Commission. Von Spakovsky later withdrew; Wilkie and Bodine were eventually confirmed.
This sort of whiny, rules-for-thee-but-not-for-me attitude is unbecoming of the Office of the President. Obama knew the rules of the office when he ran for it. If he doesn’t like them, perhaps he’d rather find a line of work more suited to his temperament? We hear there are communities everywhere that need organizing.