Contrary to assertions made by right-wing partisans in this New York Times article, it’s actually the Republican minority in the Senate that long ago “risked nothing short of an end to the Senate’s role of providing advice and consent on presidential appointments,” and not President Obama with his recent recess appointments. Senate Republicans’ routine use of filibusters to prevent votes on Obama administration nominees has “left 74 nominees pending consideration on the Senate floor and an additional 107 bottled up in committees.” In addition, 18 nominees have just given up and withdrawn their names from consideration, including such leading lights as Peter Diamond, a Nobel Prize winner in economics. If this is a constitutional crisis, it has been provoked by Senate Republicans.
Adding insult to injury in Jonathan Weisman’s offensive article is that the reporter lends a platform to a prime advocate of presidential over-reach from the George W. Bush administration. David S. Addington, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, and a chief architect of and apologist for torture believes this:
“The president. . . violated constitutional law. ‘I’m kind of surprised he did it, because more so than most presidents, this guy has a personal ability to assess the constitutional implications,’ Mr. Addington said, referring to Mr. Obama’s experience as a teacher of constitutional law. ‘It’s flabbergasting and, to be honest, a little chilling.’”
Nowhere in the following paragraphs does reporter Weisman point to the appalling and rich irony that this statement was made by a veteran of an administration that never failed to arrogate more power to itself. Surely, Weisman could have pointed at this without injecting the dreaded appearance of undue opinion-making into his piece. His editor should have insisted on more perspective in the story. It is journalism like this that makes news consumers like me disgusted with the New York Times and other media that consistently refuse to point out self-serving and tendentious statements made by partisan sources.