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The Clinton-Bush Administration

By Charles Bloomer
web posted August 20, 2001

As the senate departed for its August recess, 60 per cent of the Bush administration's political appointments remain unfilled by Bush picks. Part of the blame rests with the president, who has been slow submitting his selections to be confirmed by the Senate. Additional blame can be laid at the doorstep of the Democrat-controlled Senate that has been dragging its feet in considering the names that Bush has sent.

The Democrats who control the Senate are in no rush to put Bush's people in place. The reason is obvious: Until a Bush nominee fills a position, the incumbent remains in place. As a result, over half of the federal political appointees that are tasked with executing the Bush administration's policies, or that make policies affecting the relationship between the federal government and the American people are filled with Clinton appointees. America is now seeing the impact of the treacherous Jeffords defection that gave the Democrats control of the Senate.

Without Bush appointees in place, policies that affect the way government works, the enforcement of regulations, and the interpretation of administration goals and methods are left in the hands of people who are politically and ideologically opposed to the Bush administration. While the heads of federal agencies are all now Bush appointees, the majority of lower level implementers and interpreters of policy in those agencies are leftover liberals. These people may not be able to generate policy to achieve their own ends, they certainly are in positions to resist, delay, and thwart new policies that the president may want to implement.

There is a simple solution. Political appointees serve at the "pleasure of the president", meaning that the president can remove them at will. Despite the whining and moaning of certain members of the Democratic Party, despite what Terry McAuliffe thinks, George W. Bush is the president.

Dubya doing the job with Clinton folk in the way
Dubya doing the job with Clinton folk in the way

President Bush should immediately call for the resignations of all Clinton appointees, effective at noon tomorrow. He should thoroughly purge the ranks of government of all the liberals left in place when he took office. He has the authority and should not be shy about using it.

During his vacation, Bush should get together with his cabinet officers and develop a complete list of the names of replacements, then submit the list en masse to the senate for immediate consideration when they return from recess. For critical positions that cannot do without an appointee, the president should make recess appointments to ensure important functions of government can continue. Non-critical positions can remain vacant until a candidate is confirmed.

Having passed his list to the senate, the president can hold their feet to the fire to get his people approved. If the senate balks or drags its feet, the president should quickly call attention to the Democrats' obstructionist actions and point out the partisanship that everyone knows exists among the liberals. The mainstream press will no doubt dutifully give full vent to Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle's complaints that Bush has submitted a list of far-right extremists, but the president should ignore the potential global warming created by Daschle's hot air.

The president should also call on members of his own party to remove any and all holds on appointees, and have them press the Democratic leadership of the senate to move quickly on approval. Republicans in the senate should rally around the president and lend all necessary assistance.

In an ideal world, appointees in government positions would set aside their politics and serve the president. If not, they would have the decency to resign. But this is not an ideal world and liberals never forego an opportunity to further their own agenda or to obstruct that of their opponents. President Bush should not let his gentlemanly manner prevent him from calling for the resignations of those who have the ability and disposition to disrupt his presidency.

There exists no good reason for President Bush to have to be saddled with political appointees who do not support his policies. Whether or not the Democrats in the senate like it, Mr. Bush is the president. The president is allowed to choose his own team, with advice and consent of the senate. But while the senate is advising and consenting, the president need not retain the political leftovers who oppose him and contributed mightily to the damage done to the country by the Clinton administration.

Clear them out, Mr. President, before the can do any more damage. ESR

Charles Bloomer is a senior writer for Enter Stage Right. He can be contacted at clbloomer@enterstageright.com. © 2001 Charles Bloomer.

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