Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bush Recess Appoints Failed Swift Boat Nominee

Bush has used his powers of recess appointment to do an end-run around Congress and appoint Swift Boat funder Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium. Fox's nomination had previously been pulled by the White House because it knew it would not get the needed votes to pass him.

Time has the AP report:
Democrats had denounced Fox for his 2004 donation to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The group's TV ads, which claimed that Sen. John Kerry exaggerated his military record in Vietnam, were viewed as a major factor in the Massachusetts Democrat losing the election.

Recognizing Fox did not have the votes to obtain Senate confirmation, Bush withdrew the nomination last month. On Wednesday, with Congress out of town for a spring break, the president used his power to make recess appointments to put Fox in the job without Senate confirmation.

This means Fox can remain ambassador until the end of the next session of Congress, effectively through the end of the Bush presidency.

Bush also used his recess appointment authority to make Andrew Biggs deputy director of Social Security. The president's earlier nomination of Biggs, an outspoken advocate of partially privatizing the government's retirement program, was rejected by Senate Democrats in February.

Fox, a 77-year-old St. Louis businessman, gave $50,000 to the Swift Boat group. He is national chairman of the Jewish Republican Coalition and was dubbed a "ranger" by Bush's 2004 campaign for raising at least $200,000. He is founder and chairman of the Clayton, Mo.-based Harbour Group, which specializes in the takeover of manufacturing companies.

Fox has donated millions of dollars to Republican candidates and causes since the 1990s.
Sean Paul at the Agonist has Chris Dodd's reaction. He's furious and intends to challenge the appointment:
“It is outrageous that the President has sought to stealthily appoint Sam Fox to the position of ambassador to Belgium when the President formally requested that the Fox nomination be withdrawn from the Senate because it was facing certain defeat in the Foreign Relations Committee last week. I seriously question the legality of the President's use of the recess appointment authority in this instance. I intend to seek an opinion on the legality of this appointment from the General Accountability Office and invite other Senators to join with me in that request. This is underhanded and an abuse of Executive authority -- sadly this behavior has become the hallmark of this administration.”
And Bob Geiger has Kerry's statement:
"It's sad but not surprising that this White House would abuse the power of the presidency to reward a donor over the objections of the Senate,"..."This nomination was withdrawn because the Administration realized it would lose in the Foreign Relations Committee. Unfortunately, when this White House can't win the game, they just change the rules, and America loses."
I can't help but notice that the Bush regime seems to be getting more and more confrontational with Congress, on every issue they are afforded the opportunity. They obviously relish the prospect of a knock-down, drag-out constitutional crisis over the whole concept of "executive" power, war powers and the Imperial Presidency.

That worries the crap out of me. Are they so certain, from their bubbled view of reality, that the Supreme Court would rule in their favor? Or is it just that they don't care if the Supremes agree with Congress since Bush is still Commander In Chief and they feel neither Congress or the Supreme Court commands any battalions if they just decide to declare martial law and do what the hell they want to anyway?

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