Faced with a Congressional opposition bent on hobbling his domestic and foreign policy efforts for the next two years and an approval rating ostensibly under 30%, President Bush continues to show restraint. That it continues to be admirable, I’m not sure. The latest example – Bush made three recess appointments. “What? what? what? That’s restraint?!?!” I can hear the would-be Rosies screaming now. Yes, that’s restraint. Recess appointments aren’t some obscure provision of the Patriot Act or theoretical construct of the “unitary executive” model of the Imperial Presidency. They’re a genuine Constitutional prerogative of the Chief Executive.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.- U.S. Const. art. II, Â§ 2, cl. 3.
The Bush administration has also shown restraint in not removing political appointees who don’t tow the political line of the Administration, even to the extent of reappointing some incompetent Clinton appointees in the intelligence community.
Don’t believe Bush has shown restraint? Here’s how the speech to the American people might go if Bush were the semiliterate cowboy the liberals paint him to be (instead of the highly intelligent rancher he actually is):
My fellow Americans, Congress has been a little upset with me lately because I fired some of our lawyers. They think I was cherry pickin’. Guess they still think I’m in the tree business. Well, I decided to solve that problem and earlier this afternoon I fired every political appointee in the administration.
Don’t worry though, Condi’s still with me. First thing I did was make her Secretary of Defense.
Now Congress was also concerned that Karl Rove picked the replacements for those attorneys. Well, I think Karl did a fine job. Karl always does a fine job. So I told Karl to get together a list of the people we would have put in all those jobs if we didn’t have to worry about Congress…because we don’t.
You see, somebody read me this part of the Constitution that says while the Senate is out, I can appoint whoever I want and they’ll be in the job until about a week before I’m outta here.
So, Karl made that list and I just signed a really long executive order appointin’ these folks. I got a guy who wants school vouchers in charge of the Department of Education. I appointed a guy who wants to sell off the National Parks as head of the Bureau of Land Management. I appointed a guy who wants a gold standard as head of the Treasury. I called the CEO of General Motors and asked him if he’d like to run my Labor Department. And after I pardoned Jeffrey Skilling I appointed him to run the Department of Energy. There were lots more…pages and pages of ’em. I called Bernie Kerik and told him he could have the job at Homeland Security after all – dealing with these terrorists his mob ties may just come in handy!
Our friends the Democrats keep making a lot of noise about energy independence. I’ve submitted energy legislation to Congress every year of my administration that would have increased our energy independence by a combination of conservation, alternative fuels and expanded production of conventional fuels in the United States. Congress has stalled for six years. No more. This afternoon I signed an Executive Order authorizing the Department of Defense to develop the National Security Oil Reserve consisting of oil wells off the coasts of Florida and California and in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, under authority provided in the Patriot Act. Attorney General Gonzalez assures me that this authority is there and even if it isn’t no one in Congress will know because they didn’t read it before they voted for it. He-he, suckers.
And just to make sure, I filled all the vacant judgeships today, too. We only asked two questions – “Will you vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?” and “Does the Patriot Act allow the President to do anything he pleases?” Eventually we found enough people who answered both in the affirmative to fill all the posts.
Congress has been a little upset because I’ve threatened to use my veto pen for only the second time in six years. Let me kick that up a notch. If they send me a budget that isn’t balanced or that is balanced using tax increases or accounting gimmicks, I’ll veto it. If it shuts down the government, that’ll just make the balancing that much easier. The American people spoke in November and they want lower spending. Give it to them – balance this budget this year and forget about tax increases. Cut. Cut. Cut.
And start with the Department of Education. I let Ted Kennedy write the education bill that I promised during my first campaign. That was a mistake and American education has gotten worse as a result. The best thing we can do for education at this point is to get the federal government out of it and let parents and local officials decide what’s best for kids instead of a drunk with a bad driving record.
Now Congress is also upset because the war in Iraq is costing too much and we’re losing too many American lives. I have to agree with Congress on that. But what they aren’t telling you is that we could have lost far less lives and spent far less money if we hadn’t been trying to be sensitive and politically correct. They want this war to come in on time and under budget and I’ve decided to oblige. We’ve rewritten our forces rules of engagement to allow them to take any action necessary to defend themselves or our allies and expanding greatly the situations where they can fire first. More importantly, I authorized our commanders in the field to use the most cost effective weapons in our arsenal. My advisors tell me that means tactical nukyeler weapons. So be it. I expect a lot less noise out of al Anbar province after the glow in the dark dust settles and we ought to be able to meet that March ’08 deadline with about 10 months to spare.
May God bless you, and may He watch over the United States of America.
A happy medium between “admirable” restraint and the “cowboy” would be nice. But then so would liberals who appreciated just how restrained the Bush administration really has been for six years. Admirable restraint is a prescription for continued approval ratings in the 30s and an administration so hamstrung it accomplishes nothing and actually earns that rating. The right amount of cowboy could hardly hurt those approval ratings and might just be the prescription to accomplish some of the worthy goals of the Bush administration’s last 20 months.