Sunday, August 29, 2010

Not One of Those Good Problems

I have little patience for the conspiratorial theories about the failings of the Obama administration, as I think they’re misguided and miss many flaws. Let’s say you believe a bankers’ cabal runs the Obama administration—well, then why would said bankers’ cabal allow any financial reform at all, even of the moderately strong variety that ended up passing? And while I’m aware that the preceding sentence is a debate in itself, there’s a way in which focusing on, say, an alleged bankers’ cabal or conspiracy or what have you misses some other, odder flaws: say, for example, Obama’s refusal to nominate or push through judges and Federal Reserve directors.

Here’s the grisly details:
Today? District court vacancies without a nominee have reached 53; circuit court vacancies without a nominee are up to 9…By my count, five appeals court nominees and twelve district court nominees are ready for floor action; one (Jane Stranch, for the 6th circuit) is scheduled for action when the Senate returns, but the rest remain in limbo. Which leaves 22 waiting for the Judiciary Committee to clear them.
And of course several seats on the Fed board remain empty, leaving the doves outnumbered by the rapacious inflation hawks. That’s a significant barrier to good liberal policy (if you think Obama is more liberal than not) or to enacting the agenda of the bankers’ cabal (if you think Obama is a slave to the bankers and Bushies). Seeing as that deadlock is a significant barrier to someone’s desires, and seeing as Obama has shown very little interest in getting it done, you’re left with a riddle in a mystery in an enigma.

The gaping holes serves no one’s interests besides Republicans, and it’s awful that, nearly two years into the Obama administration, there’s still a surfeit of qualified nominees waiting to be confirmed and posts requiring confirmation. The performance of government obviously suffers for lack of people filling crucial jobs, and given that good governmental performance is an excellent way to convince people about the potential merits of government (and hence help dispose them for more liberal government), it’s particularly mystifying that no one seems to care that critical governmental posts are going unfilled and left to wither.

It’s also particularly bad in this instance for the President, who can legitimately blame Senatorial lethargy on many of his problems with government, but who has not shown the proper initiative to do his end of the bargain: giving the Senators nominees to advise and consent on. And given that it’s so bad, it sort of defies explanation: no one gains here, and the problems that have no good reason to exist are the most frustrating at all.

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