Even New York Times writers Helen Cooper and Jennifer Steinhauer dub political the president’s decision yesterday to make three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and one to a new “consumer” agency:
President Obama touched off a fierce election-year confrontation with Congressional Republicans on Wednesday, defying their deep opposition to appoint Richard Cordray as director of a new consumer protection agency and fill three labor board vacancies.
The decision to install the four nominees without Senate approval under the constitutional provision for making appointments when lawmakers are in recess was a provocative opening salvo in Mr. Obama’s re-election strategy of demonizing Congress. It threatened to ignite a legal challenge and left Republicans fuming that the president was abusing the recess privilege.
Emphasis added. So, the president is fitting his official powers into his electoral strategy.
Now three out of five members of the powerful NLRB take office before the Senate, as the Framers intended, had a chance to scrutinize their rhetoric. Seems someone is trying to rally an important Democratic constituency (i.e., labor unions). Not just that, the Times writers add, “The recess appointments seemed deliberately timed, coming a day after the Iowa caucus vote and seemed intended to rile the Republicans.”
For, this guy it’s all about riling the Republicans.
Times staff may find the Senate in recess, but others disagree. John Hinderaker doesn’t mince words: “Obama took his war against Congress to a new level, announcing four “recess appointments” when the Senate was not, in fact, in recess.” The lawyer show why the Senate was not in recess and reminds us that as recently as 2010, even administration lawyers shared that view. (Read the whole thing.)
Glenn Reynolds has a nice mini-roundup here.
Seems the guy who was supposed to transcend partisan politics just loves playing partisan politics.
UPDATE: “Why,” Allahpundit asks, “would O risk a constitutional confrontation with Congress over something as minor as the NLRB or his new consumer board? Why, for the same reason he does everything: Because it might help him get re-elected.”
FROM THE COMMENTS: V the K quips, “Well, this is not what democracy looks like at all. I am sure OWS and Rachel Maddow will be all over this anti-democracy power grab.” I’m sure she savaged the appointments on her show last night.