Appointing in Recess and Bending the Air

President Barack Obama has come under a little bit of fire for making a recess appointment of Donald Berwick to take charge of Medicare and Medicaid.  Normally, the Senate has to confirm or reject such appointments by the President.  But if he waits until Congress is in recess, he can fill positions temporarily without the Senate getting to vote.

Criticism from Republican senators didn’t surprise me, but the complaints from Democrats like Max Baucus did.  The senators don’t appreciate the fact that the President did an end run on the confirmation process.  In the face of bipartisan disapproval, why would the President opt for such a tactic?  Maybe because Berwick has some controversial views. According to Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus, Berwick has championed the rationing of health care, which the President had assured us his reforms wouldn’t do, and Berwick is apparently comfortable with redistributing wealth via health care reform.

I’m not surprised by the politics of this.  It’s not a scandal if the President makes a recess appointment; it’s in the Constitution.  To use a quotation I heard from one of my students years ago, “Don’t hate the player; hate the game.”  And I’m not shocked by the fact that this person, Berwick, leans to the left.  The President is liberal–he surrounds himself with liberals.  If a majority of voters don’t like that then they will vote him out in 2012.  If the public likes this, he gets four more years.

Now, when the President appointed czars and gave them powers and federal money, thus circumventing the constitutional confirmation process?  That was alarming.

In other news, I’m probably not going to see “The Last Airbender.”  I never saw the First Airbender, so what’s the point?