Some Ridiculousness

For your consideration, some of the more ridiculous, immoderate statements and actions of the last 2 months:

  • Obama nominated Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That’s not the ridiculous action – Cordray is actually more moderate and less divisive than Elizabeth Warren, who basically crafted the bureau from start to finish. The ridiculous part is that 44 Republican senators have vowed to block any nomination to head this agency. Because they don’t like the agency, they’re going to refuse to give it a director. This is petty obstructionism. The agency was lawfully created, Obama has the right to nominate its director, Republicans should judge that nominee on his or her capability not their feelings about the agency itself.
  • Meanwhile, Republicans have also taken steps to block any recess appointments that might allow the government to function while they block the actual appointments. Since Pres. George W. Bush was the master of these things, it smacks of a particular hypocrisy. Another example of how “advise and consent” has been warped beyond all reason. My suggestion: A procedural rule that if a presidential nomination does not receive an up or down vote by the full chamber within 6 months, he gets to make a 1 year recess appointment regardless of whether Congress is in session. That should combined the necessary incentives with enough time to process nominations. Still slower than ideal, but not so fast as to shift all power into the hands of the president.
  • More evidence that our campaign finance system is out of whack: The $1 million donation to Romney’s super-pac from a shell company. A corporation (with legal personhood) exists only long enough to dump money into a political fund, thus skirting some of the few remaining disclosure laws governing this whole process. I’m not always a fan of transparency (it’s no panacea), but I think campaign spending ought to be done in the open.
  • Rick Perry’s “treasonous” comment. The idiocy of this should be obvious to anyone. This kind of rhetoric coming from someone who wants to run the executive branch is totally irresponsible. How will Perry govern if he wins by convincing voters that everyone in government service only acts as part of a conspiracy to steal elections? Beyond that, he needs to take the crime of treason seriously.
  • Michele Bachmann’s apparently cut from the same cloth. She’s now claiming that she worked for the IRS in order to study the “enemy.” In other words, she’s claiming to have been exactly the kind of federal bureaucrat (in it for her own gain, motivated purely by partisanship) that she so frequently rails against. Why should we let her run that government then?
  • As if to prove that idiocy isn’t a partisan characteristic, Obama even lost the fight over the scheduling of his jobs speech. In what I can only imagine as a partisan campaign decision, he chose the same night as a Republican primary debate for his speech to a joint session of Congress. Sure, there are a lot of these debates this month. And scheduling for Congress is tight. But it obviously wasn’t the only available night, since they’ve capably rescheduled for Thursday. Whatever he proposes, Obama is guaranteed to argue that jobs (as opposed to the federal debt, and perhaps even federal regulation) must be the government’s top priority right now. If that’s the case, why use the scheduling of the speech as a partisan power-grab? Boehner was right to reject that date. Obama should have scheduled the speech on Thursday to avoid the conflict and gone a step further by inviting all the Republican candidates to attend as his guests.


(Apologies for the month-long hiatus. I initially took a break while working on another writing project and then work got in the way. I should be back up and running more frequently soon.)

2 Responses to Some Ridiculousness
  1. CJ
    September 5, 2011 | 8:33 am

    Jason, I love your posts. The only issue i have with you post is the following.

    “Republicans should judge that nominee on his or her capability not their feelings about the agency itself.”

    -Yes, they SHOULD. However the Republican party seems to be infected with a host virus that is controlling their thoughts and actions. I wish that true conservative Republicans would stand up and make thier voices heard. Where are the old style Republicans. Which reminds me of the famous quote from a well known Conservative:

    “However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise.
    There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate thanJesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’ ”
    ~Barry Goldwater

    • Jason
      September 5, 2011 | 1:25 pm


      Thanks for your comments and compliments. You’re right about Goldwater and the disappearance of actual Goldwater-style conservatives. This is what always frustrates me when some commentator talking about the Tea Party has a line about “not since Barry Goldwater’s nomination in 1964 has the Republican Party…” Goldwater was NOT a modern Republican in the Tea Party mold, or in the mold of the Religious Right. Bachmann, Palin, Perry, and Cain would have all troubled him.