April 6, 2007

The Nature Of Political Appointments -- And Opposition

Jules Crittenden scores a bulls-eye today in a post regarding the recess appointment of Sam Fox as Ambassador to Belgium. After all the screeching from Democrats about firing prosecutors over their politics, John Kerry and his allies attempted to deep-six Fox for his engagement against Kerry in 2004, and Jules wonders where the Democrats draw lines:

If it’s wrong for the president to fire political appointees over their politics, doesn’t that make it wrong for senators to oppose political appointees over theirs? Wait a minute. I’m getting confused. The president fired them over their performance, but the Senate only gave a damn about Fox’s politics. So much crap flying around these days, its hard to sort out what’s what. But I think the Dem Cong might need to start holding hearings about itself.

But when I see moves like this, I realize I’m starting to really enjoy the Dem Cong.

I don't think firing the prosecutors was a wise or desirable move, especially in the current political environment, and I think Alberto Gonzales has handled it incompetently. Nevertheless, the President has the plenary power to appoint and dismiss them, just as he does with ambassadors, for every purpose he desires except the obstruction of justice.

And the Senate Democratic Caucus has proven this point with Fox. They don't have to confirm Fox, and they can use any reason they want, or none at all. It leaves them open to fair criticism for their efforts, as did Gonzales' termination of the federal prosecutors. It also shows that they have no problem playing politics with presidential appointments when it suits their purposes. That takes a lot of steam out of their moral outrage over the administration's insistence on finding federal prosecutors who will follow their policies.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Nature Of Political Appointments -- And Opposition:

» Bush OutFoxes Kerrycrats (Updated and bumped) from Bill's Bites
(I may keep this one near the top of the site a while. I'm enjoyin'g the hell out of it.)Bush Uses Recess Appointment Power to Install GOP Fundraiser Sam Fox as Ambassador WASHINGTON — President Bush named Republican fundraiser Sam [Read More]

Comments (29)

Posted by Rob D [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 10:15 AM

The Sam Fox nomination was withdrawn before a vote. Maybe Fox has good qualifications, although no one is citing them; the discussion has become a replay of the Kerry election campaign, and not about Fox.

Many political fundraisers have done well as Ambassadors, and others have been embarrassments. The President has every right to appoint whoever he wants. It would be good to hear more about why the Administration chose Fox for this role.

Posted by Brooklyn [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 10:32 AM

thanks for the interesting link...

if an Attorney working for the JD and the AG, ignored cases on illegal immigration, Democrat Politicians, and voting fraud, they should be fired.

sound policy should determine the actions of any President or Administration.

mistakes are bound to be made, by even the finest amongst us.

ethical, wise policy is very different than making a few mistakes.

regardless, it matters little what a Republican Administration does, the Democrats will demean and slander it.

and Conservatives should show more strength in facing it, and not being shaped by the constant unethical effort.

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 10:39 AM


"March Hare", posting a response in your previous take on the Fox appointment, said the same thing as Jules Crittendom, but says it one day earlier, and far more politely and circumspectly.

It's one of the good things about your blog -- all the great ideas appear to have roots here.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 10:39 AM

I seem to recall Clinton "ramming" through a nomination of homosexual pedophile James Hormell as ambassador to Lichtenstein.

What exactly were his qualifications? Besides being heir to a sausage fortune?

In the eyes of the morally and intellectually bankrupt Democrat Party, child molestation isn't nearly the crime that opposing a mentally ill trophy husband like John Kerry, is.

Posted by Monkei [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 10:49 AM

ND ... I think the intellecttually bankcrupt Democrats handled the Tom Foley incident quite well thank you! But it's good to see your keeping up with the GOP slogan of "they are just as bad as we are".

Posted by Geoff [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 11:02 AM

I recall that John Kerry left $10 million in unspent treasure in his campaign bankroll after his defeat in 2004.

If Mr. Kerry had a factual rebuttal to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, shouldn't he have spent his donor's money wisely at the time, and issued a rebuttal?

No, Mr. Kerry only came out swinging inside the safety of the democrat-controlled senate, where he can retaliate like a thug, yet still get away without having to stand up like a MAN to explain to the American people, clearly and unambiguously, what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth lied about.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 11:17 AM

But, but, but... (splutter!)... How DARE you or some other reichwing chickenhawk Christian fascist nut like Jules Crittenden hold both parties to the same standard???


Jon Cary is a war hero! He said so himself! And that nasty ol' Fox paid people to say bad things about him! Keeping him from being ambassador to Belgium is perfectly OK!


Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 11:20 AM


Back during the height of the US Attorney flap I made the point that the Democrats are engaging in open political warfare against the Administration. At the time I warned that the goo-goo Republicans were playing into the Democrats hands on by not supporting the President’s right to remove the prosecutors for whatever reason. This is what you get when you ignore the obvious. The Democrats aren’t interested in good government they interest only in the exercise of raw political power for their own enrichment. Republicans should either go to political war or they should retreat into a noisy ineffectual minority. The only time you break with the President is when there is actual evidence of wrong doing. This you reward for not supporting the President.

Monkei: Yep, they sure handled the Foley business right. Engaging in homophobia is ok as long as it enhances your political power. Too bad they weren’t so indignant when Gerry Studds took a 17 year old page to Europe for his own sexual gratification or when Barney Frank’s boyfriend was running a prostitution ring out of the Congressman’s apartment and fixing parking tickets for his pimp boyfriend.

Posted by Ground State [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 11:30 AM

Ahoy Captain!

I agree the demo cong are indeed hypocrites. And I think the US attorneys who fail to enforce immigration laws should indeed be fired no matter what year of the Presidency it is. The part that stuns me is the idiocy of AG Gonzales lieing about the motives and claiming no involvement. Why do that? Now it's an action that's legal but stinks. It's always, always, always the cover-up.

Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 12:03 PM

Any outrage at the recess appointment of Fox has got to be feigned. The appointment is in keeping with the sub-playground level of political discourse and maneuvering. And both sides took it there - any attempt to place disproportionate blame on one party ignores the facts.

The Dems withheld their consent, fine. The president did an end-run, fine. It's a relatively inconsequential appointment. I don't know what the Dems have to gain by whipping up memories of 2004, or why they should take Kerry's lead with his too-little, too-late bluster. They should learn that anything evoking Kerry '04 is a bad memory best left undisturbed.

Now on the other side, I don't want to insult the mentally challenged, but "Dem Cong" is just retarded. Sometimes the base just needs to call names though. Okay, all the time. Whatever. And Tom Foley is now an equal rights issue.

Posted by NoDonkey [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 12:06 PM

Oh please, Monkei, if Foley had been a Democrat there is no doubt whatsoever that he would still be serving. Any Republican "persecution" of the poor, misguided waif would have been chalked up by the DNC-Media as "hatred" of homosexuals and an invasion of "privacy".

Dingbat Pelosi ran on rooting out the Republican "culture of corruption". Dingbat Pelosi sat William "$90K in my refrigerator" Jefferson and will probably hand him the Chair of Homeland Security.

Not saying the Republicans are perfect, but they don't try and defend the indefensible. Foley resigned, Gingrich resigned, Livingstone resigned.

Democrats not only defend the indefensible, any discovery of a Democrat pervert is used as a stick with which to beat Republicans with. That's entirely possible, since Democrats have no standards.

The only things that rule the behavior of Democrat sociopaths are blinding ambition and a pornographic lust for power.

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 12:08 PM

It's the only "power" the donks have. And, yes. Politics always has ways to "walk around" stuff.

Take "slam dunk." Where is George Tenet, now? Butt kicked. (Even though he has powerful friends, still.)

And, that's just one example.

Meanwhile? You can probably tell that Fox WANTED the ambassadorship. And, he's willing to take the job without pay. (Which is the only reason you'd find "rubber stamping" his confirmation, to have been the better choice.)

The next big issue up there, by the way, is to focus on DEAN KOH, out of Yale. Because it seems Bush does want to get someone nominated into the next vacancy on the Supreme's. And, he's going to pick an ubber'liberal.

At least Glenn Reynolds provided a link to Professor Bainbridge. So you could pick up the background information.

You can also puzzle over Bush's behaviors. Like his dad, his ability to "pick" is not particularly outstanding.

His ability to survive? Always graded at the level of "C" grades. He's got a rather flat learning curve.

Do you?

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 12:10 PM


I didn't raise the Foley issue. I was just using it to demonstrate how the Democrats are willing to use anything to gain power.

I would call the Foley incident an equal wrongs issue.

Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 12:24 PM

jerry - you called it "homophobia" which I found amusing, that's all. Yeah, poor misunderstood Foley.

Frankly I don't need Foleygate to revile the GOP - and that is a backhanded criticism of the Dems for trying to rely on it, along with other transgressions (such as Fox) that did no more than bruise a few Senators' egos.

Posted by Michael Smith [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 12:48 PM

Ground State said:

The part that stuns me is the idiocy of AG Gonzales lieing about the motives and claiming no involvement. Why do that? Now it's an action that's legal but stinks. It's always, always, always the cover-up.

Gonzales never said he had "no involvement". What he said was he wasn't involved in the selection of which particular attorneys were to be replaced. He acknowledged that he knew the process was underway and ultimately approved the list of attorneys to be replaced, but didn't actually make the selections himself.

Apparently, the Democrats are unable to grasp the idea that the head of an enormous function like the DOJ can be aware of, and approve of, the activities of his subordinates without being involved in the details of what they are doing. Anyone who has managed a business or a large department can understand this -- but Democrats can not.

Posted by biwah [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 1:27 PM

Michael Smith: "[I]was not involved in any discussions about what was going on"

...and a lot of other distancing as well.

So you would admit that he has represented that he had no role in the discussions about who would be fired?

And I'll admit that if the evidence shows that AG was indeed just passively aware of the process (and not of the specific names being bandied about), and just approved the firings post-hoc, there's no serious scandal here.

Other than the mismanagement, that is. You suggest a corporate analogy, but if DOJ was a corporation, not only would AG not be getting paid to prepare to defend his sorry butt, he would have been out merely for the fact that he did not know what was going on under his nose. Would the head of North American operations for a Fortune 50 company have no involvement in the months-long, multilateral discussions about which regional heads were going to get replaced and why?

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 1:44 PM


Republicans suffer under the Sainthood standard. This standard may be used by the Democrats and their lackeys in the MSM but it really set by Republicans themselves. The Goo-Goos and the purists labor under the “Republicans are better then that” illusion. Sadly to say we are not better men. We can behave as political venal and morally offensive as the Democrats or any other grouping of men. So my reaction to a Foley or a US Attorneys controversy is to defend my party against Democrats who revile us when we do act like goody two shoes and are all too willing to betray their own so-called ideals if it serves their ambitions.

What makes the Republicans different is that at least in theory if not in practice (that human thing once again intrudes) with government so we are not all that enthused with the accumulation of political power for its own sake. We also may carp about a Democratic Presidents conduct of foreign affairs but stops at the border restrained by the same influence that limits our desire for unlimited political power. We are not an end justifies the means party, I will leave that realm to the Democrats.

Posted by Michael Smith [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 3:33 PM

biwah said:

So you would admit that he has represented that he had no role in the discussions about who would be fired?

I'm simply saying that what I heard Gonzales say was that he didn't pick the attorneys that would be fired.

What you seem to be insisting is that if Gonzales denies knowledge of ANY particular aspect of these firings, he is denying knowledge of ALL aspects of them -- and, conversely, that if he admits knowing ANYTHING about the firings, he is admitting to knowing EVERYTHING about them. But those are not the only two possibilities.

Posted by Jim [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 4:24 PM

Hey Monkei,

The Democrats handled the Foley matter very well? What planet are you living on? The knew about the scandal long before it ever broke and did nothing about it. They put politics above the safety of teenagers. Don't even try to pass of that nonsense here. That's the problem with you Democrats; facts all too often get in the way of your arguments.

Jim C

Posted by Bennett [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 5:24 PM

I haven't really followed the firings story so probably shouldn't be commenting. It's just really hard to get overly interested in the fate of some lawyers, especially ones who had the privilege of serving as a U.S. Attorney which has to look good on the resume even if the job ended somewhat abruptly.

And who gets to be Ambassador to Belguim? Yeah, that matters too. The Democrats don't care about Sam Fox or his qualifications. They only want to embarrass the President and obstruct the process. This was more understandable when they were in the minority but a little puzzling now that they are in power. Bad habits are hard to break I suppose. I think they need a 12 Step program. "Hi my name is John K. and I am a recovering petulant whiner"...(and everyone says) "HI JOHN!"

Posted by HalConservative [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 6, 2007 10:47 PM

Is it just me, or did anyone else treat the phrase "Dem Cong" along the lines of Viet Cong?

Posted by TyCaptains [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 7, 2007 12:14 AM

jerry wrote
We also may carp about a Democratic Presidents conduct of foreign affairs but stops at the border restrained by the same influence that limits our desire for unlimited political power. We are not an end justifies the means party, I will leave that realm to the Democrats.

Oh really? Then pray tell what do you think of the following:

At the same time Congress was attaching human rights conditions to U.S. security assistance programs and negotiating a formal end-use monitoring agreement with the Colombian defense ministry, other lawmakers were secretly assuring Colombian officials that they felt such restrictions were unwarranted, and would work to either remove the conditions or limit their effectiveness.

One example of this was a congressional delegation led by Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) which met with Colombian military officials, promising to “remove conditions on assistance” and complaining about “leftist-dominated” U.S. congresses of years past that “used human rights as an excuse to aid the left in other countries.” Hastert said he would to correct this situation and expedite aid to countries allied in the war on drugs and also encouraged Colombian military officials to “bypass the U.S. executive branch and communicate directly with Congress.”


See the part where Hastert countermands the Clinton stance? Moreover Hastert actually tells the Military that they should deal DIRECTLY with Congress and NOT the WH.

THIS is a stellar example of the formation of a shadow government. According to the Republicans that went along with Pelosi, she only reitered the WH's message, a far cry from what Hastert did earlier.

Frankly, Congress conduct business like this period but don't kid yourself into thinking that the Repubs are clean and the Dems are the dirty ones.


Regarding Foley - It seems BOTH Dems and Repubs knew about his potentially pedophiliac behavior so why you are trying to pin this solely on the former is beyond me.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 7, 2007 6:57 AM


I think you posted to the wrong the thread but I will answer you anyway.

Hastert went to Columbia not to usurp Executive Branch power; he went to to legitimate fact finding to pass legislation. That is within in the prerogative of Congress. Pelosi went to Syria not to gain fact to pass legislation but to conduct negotiations not only for the United States Government but for Israel as well.

You, like all the left, are about equivalency. Hastert goes to Columbia to gain insight to design legislation so Pelosi can set up an alternative foreign policy and conduct negotiations to undermine both President Bush but Prime Minster Olmert as well. The real equivalency is Hastert is to Clinton on Columbia as the current Democratic leadership is Bush on the funding of the War. Both are legitimate expressions of Congressional Power

Pelosi is conducting an alternative Democratic foreign policy designed to support Syria, Iran and Islamic Terrorists in their wars against Iraq, Lebanon and Israel. That is a violation of the Logan Act and she should be prosecuted for it.

Posted by TyCaptains [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 7, 2007 10:45 AM


So you're telling me that when Hastert "encouraged Colombian military officials to “bypass the U.S. executive branch and communicate directly with Congress”, it was all just a part of a fact finding mission?

Secondly, shall I engage in endless one-upmanship with snarky comments by over generalizing Righties with "colorful" statements such as yours? Is this what this forum is about? Is that what discussion is like around here?

These are an honest questions btw; if the Captain is fine with injecting worthless, snarky comments, then hey, I'm fine with that but think that it needlessly pollutes any sort of meaningful discussions.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 7, 2007 11:51 AM


Just as you are clueless when in comes to evaluating military matters you appear to be clueless in understanding separation of powers...

If Pelosi wants to support the Syrian and Iranian governments she doesn't have to go over and find out what her marching orders are she can simply cut off the funds for the War and to Israel. That is within the powers of the Legislative Branch.

Furthermore, a lot of comments have been made about her naivete in misconveying Olmert's offer of peace talks to Assad. That is a lot of BS. You have to believe that she is stupid and I am sure in typical Republican fashion many will just assume that. Her actions were deliberate and done with malice of intent. She wanted to sandbag Olmert into negotiating with Assad under Syrian terms to please the anti-Semitic leftist extremists who dominate the Democratic Party.

Posted by TyCaptains [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 7, 2007 12:54 PM


Just as you were found to be intellectually lacking in the previous discussion, we have you found you to wanting again.

Let me sum it up for you so that even a person with your mental deficiencies might have a chance, ever so slight as it may be, to understand what is under discussion here.

1> You claimed that Republicans don't engage in power grabbing, unlike Democrats.

Gotta love those broad sweeping, over-generalizations but I suppose when one lacks the ability to appreciate any forms of subtlety I guess it makes sense.

2> I proved to you that Hastert willfully tried to undermine Clinton's policy towards Columbia by telling their officials to deal directly with Congress - a clear violation of the Logan act which Hastert was not prosecuted for.

3> You then went off on a tangent trying to excoriate Pelosi which I wasn't even responding to. In fact, I even stated that NEITHER Pelosi nor Hastert should have engaged in those either of those events.

Lastly before shooting off your mouth, you may want to educate yourself with the message that Pelosi actually gave to Assad. According to the REPUBLICANS with her, she reiterated the same concerns that the WH has said over and over with regards to supporting terrorism.

And just so we're clear, that does NOT change my stance that she should NOT have been there but at least she was not seeking to create a shadow government unlike Hastert.

Posted by Bitter Pill [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 7, 2007 1:25 PM

My my, but Ty is a sensitive soul. Can't handle a little snark. Typical thin skinned libtard.

Posted by TyCaptains [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 7, 2007 3:11 PM

Bitter Pill,

I'm just keeping pace. Not surprising your comment adds nothing to the discussion. Typical ReTHUGlican who can only engage in the politics of personal destruction when they don't have much of an argument.

Not a surprise you folks lost the November election and that the Conservative movement continues to lose steam. Your petty anger pushes away moderates like myself who are looking to move away from pointless polemics. Continue like this and the 30%'ers like yourself will soon be 20, then 10...

Posted by The Yell [TypeKey Profile Page] | April 8, 2007 4:22 AM

I disagree that the Fox show trial is equivalent to the President's legit exercise of his control of the whole DOJ.

The President has the authority (and plenty of people yelp, the duty) to alter the priorities of US Attorneys to reflect current events, such as yahoos truck-bombing federal buildings, organized crime domination of labor unions, white supremacist attacks on minority communities, etc. It is right and proper that the hired help share his sense of their top priorities, and right and proper that he weed out any iconoclasts who use delegated Article II authority for their own agenda.

Nothing is right or proper about forcing an American citizen to explain his political activities under oath, and accept stiff pressure to recant his opinions in line with his questioners. Swift Boat Vets for Truth is not a global revolutionary cabal sworn to overthrow our Constitution by covert, illegal, and violent methods. The Senate has no business seeking apologies from their members. That was an abuse of authority totally separate of any Constitutional duty.


Looking over the actual Embassy report, and not just the synopsis, Hastert's quoted as saying on PDF pg 15, p. 30

"He closed by telling the military and police that they already knew they could bypass the US executive branch and communicate directly with Congress; he encouraged them to continue to do so."

Hastert wasn't doing something he, or others, considered revolutionary.

Further on down, at the Uthuru press conference, Hastert and the rest of the Congressional delegation says their visit is oversight of the performance of the US embassy in Colombia, the withholding of anti-drug funds approved by Congress on grounds of human rights violations, and exploration of the means by which Congress could exempt Colombia from that process with a waiver.

Those are all part of Congress' functions. I don't think Pelosi is heading home to propose Congress spend any money differently on Syria, or issue any waivers to Syria, or insist on different operations by the US embassy in Syria.

I don't think it proves your point at all.