After making an end run around Senate Republicans to fill the top job at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday, President Barack Obama ran the same play again a few hours later, making three recess appointments to bring the National Labor Relations Board to full strength.
The president used his power to name Sharon Block, Terence Flynn and Richard Griffin to the board, which arbitrates workplace disputes and federal labor issues and has recently drawn considerable fire from Republicans after it sided with an aircraft workers’ union in a dispute with aerospace giant Boeing.
So what should we think about this? I'd go with the following:
- It's unfortunate;
- It's likely to come back and bite Obama in the future; and
- He's the President and he gets to do things like this.
It doesn't make much sense to complain too much about this sort of thing, because every president I can remember has done the same thing. It's how we got a year of John Bolton at the U.N., among other things. If you don't like Obama acting like a king, there are two things to do. First, vote his butt out of office in November. Then, make it clear that presidents who act like kings will get deposed. Historically there hasn't been much of a price to pay for such behavior, which is why we get it.
Democrats used to complain quite bitterly about Dick Cheney's notions about a unitary executive, but now that Obama is president, they've warmed to the idea considerably. Of course they have. Both parties love to use as much power as they can when they are in a position to wield it. The only power you have, as a citizen, is to stop such things with your ballot. This is an election year, so get to it.