Note to Obama: Recess Appoint All of Them:
At some point, Barack Obama has to, in a very public way, reassert his dominance in the political debate. He's got to do something that has an impact, something unilateral, something that doesn't involve talking about an issue or having a meeting that's open to the public or inviting anyone anywhere for a long walk. It's gotta be something that he can say to Congress, "See? Look at that. All that shit you wouldn't do? It's done. I did it by myself, assholes."
Right now, Republicans in the Senate (and Republicans in general) are relishing the role of agenda serial killer. It's like Obama's plans and policies are tied to a chair and Mitch McConnell's dancing around like Mr. Blonde with a razor. And when he slices an ear off or cuts a jugular, the rest of the GOP dance in the warm, sticky spray. Put the bodies in the garage freezer, motherfuckers, so we can cook 'em up later.
Republicans will say that they're just playing by the rules that are there. And, sad to say, it's true. But they are taking those rules to their extreme. Why filibuster one bill on principle when you can filibuster them all? Why block one nominee for ideological reasons when you can block them all for cash money? With allegedly moderate Republicans running scared of nutzoid teabagger-approved primary challengers, they have to show they're just as crazy, like they're saying, "Look, I can write vaguely-worded, meaningless manifestos with my own shit. See, Glenn Beck, see?" before proffering incomprehensible screeds covered in feces and tears for inspection by Herr Beck and Fraulein Palin, whose one nod can make their monkey hordes of followers hoot in anger or masturbate in pleasure over a candidate. Hey, man, Republicans will say, that's politics. Like it or lump it.
The rules cut both ways, though. Remember how outraged we all were when Yosemite John Bolton was given a recess appointment by President Bush in August 2005 to be U.N. Ambassador, a major damn position? That was after a Democratic filibuster over Bolton's qualifications for the job and his refusal to give more information that Democrats requested, not over getting pork to constituents. And it was joined by a Republican, George Voinovich. What did Republicans think of that filibuster? "Republicans said they easily had enough votes to confirm Bolton if Democrats had not used parliamentary tricks to prevent final action," reads the Washington Post. See that? The filibuster was a "parliamentary trick," not the method by which the "will of the Senate" is expressed, as Orrin Hatch just said about a filibustered Obama nominee.
Fuck it. Recess appointments are there. Ronald Reagan made 243 of 'em. And, remember, if Reagan did it, it automatically covers your ass because he was so fucking awesome when he wasn't soiling his diaper. Eisenhower did it with three Supreme Court Justices. Republicans aren't even really officially filibustering some nominees. They're using this bullshit "hold" that's a little like allowing each passenger on an airplane the power to determine when they land. At some point, the damn thing's gonna run out of gas.
So Obama should make a show of his strength, say, "Fuck you" to the Senate Republicans, and recess appoint every outstanding nominee awaiting confirmation. Not just a few. All of them. Dozens of people to fill positions that'll make the government work better. Take confirmation off the table as a negotiating tool. It's not like Richard Shelby's all of a sudden gonna start not filibustering legislation. And, by the way, the recess appointment is in the Constitution, Article II, Section 2. The hold is just a Senate practice to fuck with unanimous consent to proceed.
Obama has begged the GOP again and again to work with him. He started his term with a sign of good faith, by incorporating Republican ideas into the stimulus. That's the way it's supposed to work: the Democrats own game. If Republicans want to play, they have to play on the Democrats' board. But Republicans want to pull those razors again and force Democrats to hand over the game. Obama can use the recess appointment to show that the President has some power of his own to fuck with his opponents.