Friday, January 4, 2008
Advise & Consent vs. Deceit
Okay. So it's Friday afternoon, the day after the Iowa caucuses, and the entire media's focused on the Presidential campaign. Which can mean only one thing: time to scan the White House website. And after running a few Google searches on Richard Stickler, who the White House just designated Acting Asst Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, I'm glad I did.
Stickler, it seems, was named to replace John Pallasch, the previous Acting Asst Sec of Labor for MSH. Pallasch, it turns out, hadn't been on the job long himself, though, as he was designated the Acting Asst Sec of Labor for MSH on Tuesday. The man Pallasch was named to replace? You got it. Richard Stickler.
Now if you're asking yourself why President Bush replaced Stickler in the first place, it's very simple. Stickler was a recess appointment, first named to the job in October 2006. His nomination had been frozen in the Senate by Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy, in part because of his long management background in the mining industry, but also because of his poor record as a state regulator of mine safety. His recess appointment expired on Dec. 31, 2007. But because his poor record as a Federal regulator had done nothing to improve his chances of winning a new nomination hearing, President Bush just decided to play a game of musical chairs to keep him on the job.
After all the callous indifference President Bush and his administration have shown towards the Constitution, this seems almost comical by comparison. But when you think about it, the cynical, legalistic sleight of hand -- down to scrubbing the Dept. of Labor website of Stickler's bio this past week -- is really emblematic of the Bush imperial Presidency. He's got his Acting Asst Secretary, I suppose. His dignity, well, that's another story.