Republican double standard?

Two issues have come up recently in Washington that raise soem interesting questions.

Recess appointments

At the end of 2011, President Obama made several “recess appointments”, including to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board. Republicans immediately went into attack mode, decrying the president’s use of recess appointments to avoid congressional approval. In the interest of fairness, let’s review how other presidents have used those appointments. Ronald Reagan made an average of 30 recess appointments each year, George H.W. Bush made 19 per year, George W. Bush made 21 per year, Bill Clinton made 17 per year, and president Obama made 9 per year. So,……… if we are going to criticize presidents for making recess appointments, let’s not forget that recent Republican presidents have used recess appointments far more than Democrats.

The real problem isn’t the use of recess appointments, it’s that Congress won’t give the president(s) an up or down vote on their nominees. (The National Labor Relations Board is supposed to have five members, but because the Senate wouldn’t give President Obama’s nominees a vote, it actually only had two members. They need three members to have a quorum so they can’t do anything with only two members. How long is this supposed to go on?) Rarely is the issue whether or not the nominee is qualified. Typically, the “issue” is that the nominee’s politics don’t match those of enough of the senators who have to “consent” to their appointment. Until senators of both parties are prepared to give nominees a fair vote based on their qualifications and not on their political affiliations, we will continue to have gridlock (and recess appointments) in Washington.  (The Republicans can complain all they want about President Obama using recess appointments all they want, but they do it, too.  Just saying.)

Virginia primary lawsuit

Rick Perry has filed a lawsuit in federal district court demanding that the State of Virginia place his name on the ballot for the Virginia primary on March 6, notwithstanding his failure to comply with Virginia state law, which is fairly onerous. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and John Huntsman have all intervened in that lawsuit seeking the same relief. Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are not part of the lawsuit, for the simple reason that they did manage to comply with Virginia law and their names are already on the ballot. Apparently it may be difficult to comply with the law, but it is not impossible.

The double standard here is that Republicans blather endlessly about “state’s rights” and that the federal government shouldn’t interfere in state law issues, which is certainly a legitimate position. The problem is that they advocate state’s rights until they decide a state is treating them unfairly, then they run as fast as they can to a federal court to make the state behave. I’m from Texas and we were our own country before joining the U.S., so we have a very strong sense of state’s rights. With that said, people need to take a position and live with it. If you truly believe that the federal government should butt out of state law questions, you don’t get to run to the feds when you don’t agree with the state.

Michael Baumer

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by Michael Baumer