President Obama, making a muscular show of his executive authority just one day after Congress left for spring recess, said Saturday that he would bypass the Senate and install 15 appointees, including a union lawyer whose nomination to the National Labor Relations Board was blocked last month with the help of two Democrats.but kevin drum says the move is as significant in who obama did not appoint as who he did:
Coming on the heels of Mr. Obama’s big victory on health care legislation, Saturday’s move suggests a newly emboldened president who is unafraid to provoke a confrontation with the minority party.
Just two days ago, all 41 Senate Republicans sent Mr. Obama a letter urging him not to appoint the union lawyer, Craig Becker, during the recess. Mr. Obama’s action, in defiance of the Republicans, was hailed by union leaders, but it also seemed certain to intensify the partisan rancor that has enveloped Washington.
After he took office Obama nominated two Democrats and one Republican to fill the [National Labor Relations Board's] three vacant seats and got support from a couple of Republicans on the HELP committee for the entire slate. But when it got to the Senate floor John McCain put a hold on [Craig] Becker, and his nomination — along with the others — died.
Fast forward to today and Obama finally decides to fill the board using recess appointments.
But what does he do? He only appoints the two Democrats. This is not what you do if you're trying to make nice. It's what you do if you're playing hardball and you want to send a pointed message to the GOP caucus. You won't act on my nominees? Fine. I'll appoint my guys and then leave it up to you to round up 50 votes in the Senate for yours. Have fun.