Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Obama's cynical recess appointment of Donald Berwick

[Updated below on July 9 at 5:50 p.m.]

As a matter of policy, President Obama's nomination of Donald Berwick to oversee Medicare and Medicaid was inspired: Berwick, co-founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, is the country's leading evangelist for the proposition that it is possible to deliver higher quality medical care at a lower cost. He's not only preached that gospel; he's shown that it can be translated into reality.

As a matter of politics, the president's choice of Berwick was, well, the polite word would be bold. The less polite word: boneheaded. Administration officials argue that Republicans would have seized on any nominee as an opportunity to re-litigate the health-care debate. But Berwick offered opponents a loaded gun with his talk about rationing, his discussion of health reform as a matter of redistributing wealth, and his effusive praise for the British system. If the president wanted to buy a fight like this, he ought to have been better prepared to wage it.

And as a matter of good government, the president's move to snub the Senate and install Berwick by recess appointment was outrageous. Using -- more accurately, abusing -- this mechanism to make appointments during a Senate recess is a bipartisan temptation. All presidents succumb, and Obama is facing a more implacably recalcitrant Senate minority. Yet the original purpose of recess appointments was to let government function during the long stretches with Congress away, but that's water under the constitutional bridge.

A recess appointment should be a last step in cases of egregious delay, not one of the first. That standard was nowhere near met in Berwick's case. Berwick was nominated to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on April 19, less than three months ago. He had not yet had a hearing. His committee vetting wasn't complete.

In short, Berwick is no Dawn Johnsen.

Johnsen was Obama's choice to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel -- like CMS administrator, one of those government jobs as important as it is obscure. Like Berwick, Johnsen could not have been more qualified. She was chosen even before the inauguration. The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings in Feb., 2009. It approved her nomination in March.

And then... nothing. Because the Senate failed to act before ending the 2009 session, the president had to nominate her a second time. Finally, 14 months into the proces, Johnsen's nomination was withdrawn. A recess appointment -- if Obama wanted to take the political heat -- would have been entirely justified in her case.

Not in Berwick's.

As Montana Democrat Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said after Obama's precipitous action, the confirmation process "serves as a check on executive power and protects... all Americans by ensuring that crucial questions are asked of the nominee -- and answered." Bypassing the process also harms the nominee, undercutting his legitimacy and truncating the time he has to act. Berwick can only serve until Dec., 2011, a short opportunity to make a big difference.

There are legitimate explanations for Berwick's more incendiary comments on health care. It's too bad he didn't get to offer them. A cynic -- who, me? -- might think that the administration simply preferred not to suffer the political downside of a public airing.

A cynic might wonder, with Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln facing a tough re-election fight, whether Berwick could even get through committee on a party-line vote. A cynic might think that the last thing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted before the election was a floor fight about rationing health care.

A cynic might look at the White House explanation -- that it was urgent for CMS, without a confirmed administrator since 2006, to have a leader -- and ask: Then why did you dither for 15 months before nominating someone?

In announcing the appointment, the president complained that "many in Congress have decided to delay critical nominations for political purposes." True, but where's the evidence of delay in Berwick's case? You can't fairly accuse the other side of political gamesmanship when you short-circuit the process and storm off the court before the first set.

"To some degree, he's damaged goods," then-Sen. Barack Obama said in 2005 about John Bolton's recess appointment as United Nations ambassador.

Would the president say the same about Berwick?

UPDATE, July 9, 5:05 p.m.: A few people have asked whether I'm being hypocritcal in criticizing Obama's recess appointment of Berwick when my husband received a recess appointment from George W. Bush. It won't surprise you to hear me say that I don't think there's any inconsistency, but here's why:

My husband, Jon Leibowitz, is a Democrat who is now (having been selected by President Obama) chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. He was originally nominated to be an FTC commissioner by President Bush. (The FTC is an independent agency with five commissioners of both parties; when a Republican president is in office, Democrats recommend their choice for nominee and the president submits the nomination, as happened in Jon's case.)

Jon was nominated in April 2004. He was recess appointed in September -- 146 days later. His nomination was not controversial in any way, with Democrats or with Republicans. At the time of the recess appointment, he -- unlike Dr. Berwick -- already had had a hearing and was on the verge of being approved by the committee. The only reason for the holdup -- and the consequent recess appointment -- involved one senator's concern about another nominee, to be FTC chairman, with whom Jon's nomination was linked. The president, who wanted to get that nominee in place, reached out to the Democratic leadership to see if there was a problem with recess appointing Jon at the same time, and he was told it would not be an issue. In other words, where Berwick's recess appointment was, as I wrote, a "snub" to the Senate, Jon's wasn't. He was subsequently unanimously approved by the committee and by the full Senate -- as was, by the way, the nominee for the chairmanship.

So, both Berwick and Leibowitz received recess appointments, but the situations are different. If my argument were that all recess appointments are outrageous, I would be guilty of hypocrisy in denouncing Berwick's while accepting my husband's. But my position is that recess appointments are justified in some circumstances, and might have ultimately been justified in Berwick's case. But not when the nomination has been pending for such a short time and before a hearing has been held.

By Ruth Marcus  | July 8, 2010; 2:50 PM ET
Categories:  Marcus  | Tags:  Ruth Marcus  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Wall Street not giving to Dems: good riddance
Next: Override Hawaii Gov. Lingle's veto of civil unions

Comments

This was shabby behavior by the White House, and this column is an example of the political objectivity of which Ms. Marcus, a liberal, is capable. Honor to her.

Posted by: Roytex | July 8, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Good point Roytex.
Marcus points out in devastating clarity how hypocritical and partisan the entire process is. Dems cry in outrage when Repubs make recess appnts. then defend it when they're in the White House. Amazing.

Both sides do it. They don't respect the process which shows the complete disdain they have for those who disagree with their ideologies. A glorious example of why we hate Washington politics so much.
Alas, we hope, we don't change.

Posted by: slatt321 | July 8, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Berwick is the poster boy for the insurance and banking industries. He was selected and groomed for years to be appointed as director of CMS. IHI is nothing but a nonprofit extension of business as usual for managed care corporations. He looked so warm and fuzzy in that golden light.When in reality, he is nothing more than another chess piece moving across the board in preparation to check the queen. The banking industry wants to OWN health care...every dollar of it. This is a nonpartisan issue. Politicians are merely acting as puppets for the real masters of the game. It wouldn't have mattered if Obama or a republican president were in the White House. It was time to move Berwick. Period.

Posted by: MedicalMind | July 8, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The Senators in general and Republican Senators in particular, would have a lot more credibility and sympathy if it was not abundantly clear that they have consistently abused their prerogatives in the last two years. Congratulations to Dr. Berwick

Posted by: mjob | July 8, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama, please stay in the WH and entertain, party, play golf. Everytime you venture out, problems arise.

Posted by: shewholives | July 8, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow. When Obambi loses Ruthie, he's lost the war.

Posted by: gorams1 | July 8, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Ms. Marcus, Roytex and Slatt, but your feeble assertion of (im)moral equivalence between how Republicans and Democrats handle recess appointments comes up WAY short. For any truly fair comparison across party lines or administrations, you need to compare what percentage of nominees got confirmation hearings, let alone votes, and how long on average they had to wait for them.

While there have been exceptions, the record is clear: When the Democrats control the Senate, they give far more deference to GOP presidents on appointments than when the Republicans run Congress and a Democratic president sends up names--both in terms of scheduling hearings and actual votes.

And as for John Bolton, he is the exception that proves the rule: He was such a polarizing figure than even Republicans--who held 55 Senate seats in 2005--wouldn't confirm him! And omitting any mention of which party ran Congress from 1995-2007 does not speak well of Ms. Marcus's objectivity, to say the least.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | July 8, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh honest to PETE! What a bunch of sanctimonious whiny jerks starting with YOU Ruth! If REAL BUSINESS, you know outside the Beltway waited so long to confirm a person to a JOB, they'd be out of their own job. This is CRAP. Baucus saying 'I'm troubled...I didn't have TIME (seven months) to get the guy out of committee. It is time to quit WHINING about the people nominated for jobs. Install them and GET WORKING. What's your NEXT column on Ruth? How Obama isn't getting enough DONE?

Posted by: Mego1 | July 8, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

It's not Obama's problem that Senate Republicans blocked even a vote on this nominee.

Posted by: HillRat | July 8, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Just one more thing to dismantle when we get this clown out of the White House.

Posted by: hz9604 | July 8, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

beriwick (sp) will be unabashedly liberal and socialist and will shove American healthcare in the tank quicker than any democrat can. He is a bad choice for a horrible new posistion.

May Obamacare soon rest in peace as a new Congress refuses to fund it and then repeals it.

I hope we can undo most of the damage Obama is doing in the first term of a new and real President.

Posted by: markandbeth92 | July 8, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a clown? Boneheaded? Problems arise when he ventures out? Hmmm...sounds more like you are describing G.W. Bush. It's a given the GOP would have blocked the appointment anyway. They are just trying to gum up the works till they control the Senate and continue to screw up our country finish the job they started under Shrub in driving us into the ground. Don't forget, the Great Recession started because of GOP blunders. Lowering taxes and invading countries -- now that was brilliant.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | July 8, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a clown? Boneheaded? Problems arise when he ventures out? Hmmm...sounds more like you are describing G.W. Bush. It's a given the GOP would have blocked the appointment anyway. They are just trying to gum up the works till they control the Senate and continue to screw up our country finish the job they started under Shrub in driving us into the ground. Don't forget, the Great Recession started because of GOP blunders. Lowering taxes and invading countries -- now that was brilliant.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | July 8, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

This criticism seems a little incoherent.

1. Berwick is, by Marcus's estimation, a good candidate for the job.
2. The Senate has a record of delaying votes on nominees (I'd argue they delay votes on lots of things, and in fact I think there was even a Post report some time ago that showed how quickly the House works vs. how often the Senate allows bills that have passed the House to stagnate).
3. Obama doesn't feel like making the same mistake twice, especially with a nominee who is politically dangerous (though pragmatically safe).
4. Marcus excoriates him for...getting around an institution that has proven itself highly dysfunctional and incompetent in order to fill a necessary position in less than 14 months?

Maybe Obama shouldn't engage in "business as usual," but maybe we should also be looking at whether the Senate can't function due to its often arbitrary, often obscure rules.

Posted by: dkp01 | July 8, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Dear Michael Gerson or Charles Krauthammer: Thanks for another opinion piece blasting President Obama. Using "Ruth Marcus" as your byline was inspired! Keep it up!

Posted by: vfazio | July 8, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Marcus's analysis suffers from a faulty initial premise. That being that adult, rational statesmen run the U.S. Senate. Not Happening! It's well past time for the President to show decisive and legal toughness.

Posted by: BBear1 | July 8, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

..."No, the President did the right thing and needs to keep doing it! He needs to "STEAMROLL OVER THE PARTY OF NO! He needs to do the will of the Majority of American's who sent him there and I'm one of them! He's doing a damn good job cleaning up a "CRIMINAL/REPUBLICAN/MESS!

The Republicans have delayed time and time again the President's crucial appointments that need to be filled as the "Republicans play politics with the country's government that millions of American's are waiting to be hired with, and looking for work months delays from Republicans who are the minority!

When in command...COMMAND!

Millions of American's out of work, Republicans cause of that under their boy "Blew it Bush who lost a record 8.5 Million jobs as the Republicans think it's fun and games, and deny 2 Million Americans extended unemployment benefits, where no jobs exists since the Republicans lost them, and voters will remember that too in the fall!

..."Real differculties can be overcome; "It is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable." --Theodore N. Vail


To the President and the Democrats I say, "Givem hell..."STEAMROLL RIGHT OVER THE PARTY/NO/REPUBLICANS..."POUR IT ON...

Sincerely, Tom Birchfield, Voter/Vet USAF,
Graduate Student, Masters Program,
Professional Studies,
East Tennessee State Univesity/Class/2010

Posted by: ztcb41 | July 8, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

There being no legitimate reason to oppose him, the sanctimony about abusing the process is just that. the Senate hasn't distinguished itself for using hearings in honest examinations of relevant material. of course it was a political calculation to make this a recess appointment rather than let Republicans twist Berwick's comments into a "let's kill grandma rather than give her a new hip" garbage discussion, but I say good for Obama to shove it down their throat given the signals that that's exactly what they were going to do - use the hearings to redebate health reform through the mid terms with Berwick sitting there as a tool.

Posted by: JoeT1 | July 8, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"It's not Obama's problem that Senate Republicans blocked even a vote on this nominee."

Republicans are blameless. The Democrats did not schedule any hearings. The Democrats did not schedule any votes. The Democrats have near-absolute control of the Senate. The Democrats were terrified of what the public would learn of this man and confirmation was extremely improbable.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | July 8, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Yet the original purpose of recess appointments was to let government function during the long stretches with Congress away, but that's water under the constitutional bridge.

Well, the fillibuster has no constitutional
basis whatsoever and, in fact, as Hamilton
was very clear in explaining in the Federalist papers, supermajorities
were bad and apoligized for the few cases they
exists (treaties, impeachment, overrides).
Marcus doesn't seem to care that we have minority rule in Washington which is clearly
unconstitutional.

Posted by: garbage1 | July 8, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Get ready for the Death Panel's old people. I guess Sarah Palin was right after all......As obama said "maybe grandma needs to take a pain pill instead of a hip relacement."

Posted by: j751 | July 8, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

As Fox News accurately reported, the Obama Administration wanted to avoid a re-opening of the health care reform debate in the GOP's further attempts to gain political points. So what exactly is there to be cynical about? Obama and the Dems should waltz into every lion's den? Or better yet, should the administration take the GOP/Bush tact and simply dismantle the government behind the scenes without hearings or votes? But forgive me. Perhaps I'm being cynical about your naivete. I thought we were talking about Washington and politics in the year 2010.

Posted by: JohnHerald | July 8, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I have to disagree here. Obama cannot wait to see whose appointment (if any) the Republicans might not stall. He doesn't have a crystal ball, and work needs to be done.

Posted by: farnaz_mansouri2 | July 8, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans in Congress have made it very clear that they want no part in any actual governance during the Obama presidency. All POTUS did was eliminate the middle-man.

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | July 8, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

According to the Congressional Research Service:

Clinton made 139 recess appointments, 95 to full-time positions. George W. Bush made 171 recess appointments, of which 99 were to full-time positions.

And, farnaz_mansouri2: Do you know the meaning of empirical evidence?

Posted by: MadamDeb | July 8, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Gee, I thought all that talk about healthcare rationing and death panels was just nefarious right-wing gossip.

Yet wonder of wonders, Obama himself has just appointed a guy who's on record as saying that it's no longer a question of whether or not we're going to have healthcare rationing -- "the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open."

So let's see ... if we're about to be subjected to healthcare rationing, who's going to make the decision on whether Granny gets a pacemaker or a pain pill -- some Obama administration bureaucrat in D.C.?

It's pretty unnerving when, by Berwick's own admission, American healthcare could devolve from treating the sick to becoming the fulfillment of another cheap progressive redistribution-of-wealth scheme.

Posted by: UponFurtherReview | July 8, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Obviously the conservative commenters have never known anyone who was denied coverage by their insurance company because of costs. Or, God forbid, had it happen to them.

Posted by: MadamDeb | July 8, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Another "Heckuva job, Brownie" only this time by the present administration. Disappointed in past choices, such as Napolitano and Holder, and now another very questionable one.

And when I look at Kagan I ask the same question I asked when Thomas was nominated for the Supreme Court - "Is this the best there is?"

Posted by: Utahreb | July 8, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Why the recess appointment of Berwick, the republicans were not blocking anything, they would welcomed hearings. It was Obama that didn't want them, no way did he want the man who wrote the book on the "rationing of health-care" before any committees in full view of the American public.

Posted by: sam51 | July 8, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Kudos for Marcus for truth-telling. Very bad nominee, badly bungled nomination.

Posted by: thebump | July 8, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Ruthie, baby, you are a piece of work. Berwick has delivered, huh? How so, Ruthie? Why, Yes, Ruthie! Ohso legitimate reasons for Berwick saying he wants to ration health care! Too bad he didn't give them, and too bad, also, since you claim to know what they are, that YOU didn't give them,Ruthie!. But that's okaty, we trust you, Ruthie. We'll keep voting Democrat because it's in our best interests, right Ruthie? You are, indeed, a piece of work.

Posted by: chatard | July 8, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Let's just quickly look at the difference between Bush Cynically appointing Bolton, who was in the process of earning a well deserved rejection by the Senate after already having been rejected by the Relevant committee. Bolton was Bush saying that, since the Senate was going to reject Bolton, Bush REALLY wanted him.

Berwickwould get approved in Committee and approved by the Senate in a relatively uncomplicated process, EXCEPT that Republicans don't want ANY Obama appointment to be easy if they can make it impossible.

But Marcus has koined the idiot wing of the press, solidly determined to report that obstructionism is always preferable to Majority Rule when the Republicans are in the minority.

The position needed to be filled and except for disciplined Republican Zombies he is well received as a really good choice. But Really Good Choices, probably up to Jesus Christ himself have no place in the current Republican strategy of, If WE can't make Government fail by appointing idiots wherever possible, we can at least make it less effective by preventing Democrats from appointing well qualified people to those positions.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 8, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

If this is what it takes to get things done, then lets have more of it. Republicans in the Senate richly deserve both a snubbing and a drubbing.

Posted by: tm13 | July 8, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how quickly Mr. Obama and his cronies and supporters would 'sign onto' a law making his healthcare reform 'the law of the land,' absolutely without exception. We could then make it a felony for any US citizen to receive treatment outside their system with lengthy prison terms required for failure to comply.

I suggest everybody google: 'sentenced to death on the nhs.'
Click on the first result and read this brief letter to the UK Telegraph from UK doctors. Bear in mind, this is the system of which Dr. Berwick claims to be enamored. In his words...'Cynics beware, I am romantic about the national health service..."
As for rationing of care, where better to let this radical have free reign than Medicare where arguably patients are already closer to death. His words again, "the decision is not whether or not we will ration care, the decision is whether we will ration care with our eyes open."

Posted by: ehevey | July 8, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

What Marcus fails to consider is the context of the recess appointment -- specifically the astounding number of administration positions that remain unfilled because of Republican obstructionism -- simply blocking appointments because they can. Given that pervasive atmosphere, and Republican inclination to apply purity tests to appointments, the recess appointment of Berwick was entirely appropriate.

Posted by: russellglee | July 8, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't matter where you fall on the left or right. Marcus makes an important point; the apparent decision of this admin to increasingly bypass the legislative process via executive fiat is troublesome. Members of his own party are, and should be, concerned. To all those who applaud these grabs because today's grab appears to "right" a "wrong" they feel particularly passionate about: the grabber ultimately knows no limits, is blind and consumed by their own agenda. They grab until they are stopped. If you think the grabber is "on your side" and will not come after the things you hold dear if and when they get in the grabber's way, you probably ought to rethink it. Our founding fathers had it right with the separation of powers; I keep my fingers crossed that an independent judiciary will stand up and do its job.

Posted by: jesseflick1 | July 8, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

jesseflick1:

Why do you talk of an "independent judiciary" in this case? This is the president's *unqualified* Constitutional right. Bush did it more than any previous president had (even two termers like Clinton).

Posted by: MadamDeb | July 8, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Dear Ehevey: we already ration care. Where have you been? I am the office manager of a family practice in the midwest and I promise you, health care has been rationed in America for many years now. Insurance companies are very good at rationing care. They discriminate rather heavily against those in the individual market. They also use many techniques to save themselves money, by taking it out of their customers pockets...by denying claims for no good reason, claiming pre-existing condition when none exists and etc etc. We also give less care to the poor, the mentally ill, those without insurance and others in our patchwork healthcare system. Just because it hasn't happened to you doesn't mean it isn't happening.

To be so wrapped up in how the government might ration health care without being aware of what is actually happening in that regard right now, rationing by the government and by health insurance companies, is really quite naive. And its naive to think that we could begin to afford health care for this country if there was no rationing at all...

Posted by: underhill | July 8, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Imitating Hugo Chavez, dictator Obama disregards the Legislative Branch and forces us to accept another socialist/Marxist to help him enslave us. Berwick will help Obama deny health care to the elderly and use our health care to infect us with the AIDS of socialism/Marxism. IMPEACH Obama!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 8, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Imitating Hugo Chavez, dictator Obama disregards the Legislative Branch and forces us to accept another socialist/Marxist to help him enslave us. Berwick will help Obama deny health care to the elderly and use our health care to infect us with the AIDS of socialism/Marxism. IMPEACH Obama!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 8, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Imitating Hugo Chavez, dictator Obama disregards the Legislative Branch and forces us to accept another socialist/Marxist to help him enslave us. Berwick will help Obama deny health care to the elderly and use our health care to infect us with the AIDS of socialism/Marxism. IMPEACH Obama!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 8, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Obama. I hope that he doesn't prove to be just another political hack.

Posted by: BarbWald | July 8, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

You are right, jesseflick1. Obama's power grab is more than troubling. It's terrifying! Taking over the Legislative and Judicial Branches of power, Hugo Chavez and the rest of the Obama-like Marxist thugs in Latin America have enslaved people, multiplied poverty and corruption, and destroyed their economies.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 8, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

We were forced to swallow the Obamacare scam through lies, manipulation, intimidation. coercion and BRIBES. Obama and his comrades used gimmicks, creative accounting, smoke and mirrors to hide the trillions of dollars this scam will cost us.

Honest Americans will have to pay billions just to cover BRIBES! We will also have to pay for insurance whether we want it or not, pay to insure those who don’t work, pay more for medicines and medical devices, pay for the hordes of ACORN-type bureaucrats needed to run Obamacare and to decide if we live or die, pay for the corruption that Obama and his comrades are creating, and pay, and pay, and pay.

And we'll even have to pay for another socialist/Marxist like Berwick to make sure Obamacare is used to "redistribute wealth" and we are forced to swallow the AIDS of socialism/Marxism.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 8, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Not all, but many of you liberals posting that "good for Obama. Shove it down their throats!" attitude is exactly why there's so much partisanship. Your whole political paradigm is screwed up. It's not that those Rebublicans are wrong... no, they're evil, and we should do anything at all that makes em scream.

You are brilliantly shining examples of how our system is broken. If things don't change, what will happen when (heaven forfend!) Republicans get control again? Give you one guess!!

Posted by: slatt321 | July 8, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

You wingnuts who keep describing Obama as a dictator or a tyrant need to stop hyperventilating. No one hears you when you are that absurd. He was elected, that's how we do it. If we don't like his performance then in due course we can fire him. Slow down, calm yourselves, and take off your red lenses. You are embarrassing.

Posted by: slatt321 | July 8, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Berwick's sole purpose will be to cull the herd, especially the elderly and disabled herds. Let us be honest with our readers, Ruthela.

Posted by: cellus | July 8, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

You guys are beyondparanoid, you're nuts. "Taking over the Legislative and Judicial Branches of power, Hugo Chavez and the rest of the Obama-like Marxist thugs in Latin America have enslaved people, multiplied poverty and corruption". Obama was elected, the democreatic led congress in both houses were elected and the supreme court opens due to death or retirement. Obama is not Marxist (the knee jerk crazy word of the year). He is certainly not "enslaving" people, has not "multipled" poverty (outside of not adressing the Bush recession more quickly) and is no more corrupt than any other politician. In fact, there was no Quid pro quo for his senate seat, The WH is now logging ALL visitors, etc. If you dislike his policies, then discuss his policies but your comments are laughable.

Posted by: cadam72 | July 8, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama's appointment of Berwick, who believes in "redistributing wealth" (socialism/Marxism), demonstrates the real purpose of the Obamacare scam. We knew what the purpose was because we knew how the scam was conconted.

Robert Creamer, a CONVICTED FELON and Obama’s ACORN associate, outlined the guidelines for the Obamacare SCAM in his 2007 book, “Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win.”

As per Creamer’s book, their main objective is NOT improving health care. It’s to increase their power through the “democratization of wealth” (socialism/Marxism) as per the teachings of Saul Alinsky. They created the health care crisis to enslave us!

Creamer wrote in his 2007 book:

* “We must create a national consensus that health care is a right, not a commodity; and that government must guarantee that right.”
* “We must create a national consensus that the health care system is in crisis.”
* “Our messaging program over the next two years should focus heavily on reducing the credibility of the health insurance industry...”
* “We need not agree in advance on the components of a plan, but we must foster a process that can ultimately yield consensus.”

As per the guidelines of the Obamacare scam in Creamer’s book, Obama and his comrades were ready to agree to ANYTHING to get their scam approved. They did not care about the "components of the plan." All they wanted is CONTROL. Once in control, they’ll do as they please.

They want complete power as that of the Marxist thugs who are destroying Latin America. They want to increase their power through the “democratization of wealth”

http://the-classic-liberal.com/progressive-agenda-for-structural-change-stand-up-straight/


We may have issues with insurance companies, but they are certainly NOT our main problem. Our main problem is Obama and his comrades, bent of forcing us to swallow a Marxist scam that would destroy our health care, our economy, our freedoms and our country.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 8, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

cadam72, When Obama was running for President, those of us familiar Castro, Chavez, and the rest of the Marxist thugs who are destroying Latin America recognized Obama's kinship with them. Obama's campaign strategy -- based on lies, manipulation, intimidation and fraud, with overwhelming support from a corrupt media -- was almost identical to the strategies of the Marxist thugs. Unfortunately, Americans were FOOLED.

Fortunately, as we can see now, most Americans are NOT sheeple! Most Americans are ready to defend their FREEDOM and the freedom of their children and grandchildren from the abomination of Obama's criminal scams, including the Obamacare scam, and socialism/Marxism. IMPEACH Obama!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 8, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it IS URGENT that there be a head of Medicare when the new health care reform bill is being implemented, and a head of Medicaid at a time when states are being overwhelmed with its costs and the Federal government may need to assist in meeting its financial requirements.

Dr. Berwick is an EXCELLENT choice for this position, as Ms. Marcus notes.

It's unfortunate,therefore, that the Republicans in the Senate, would make a mockery of any hearing on his nomination.

President Obama is a pragmatist who GETS IMPORTANT THINGS DONE. If it is his judgment that it is more important to get the highly-qualified Dr. Berwick in place than to avoid political lumps for a recess appointment, I support the President 100%!

Posted by: mhd51 | July 8, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

You are right, cellus. "Berwick's sole purpose will be to cull the herd, especially the elderly and disabled herds." The appointment of Berwick demonstrates that Sarah Palin was right about the Obamacare's death panels.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 8, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

The appointment of Berwick demonstrates that Sarah Palin was right about the Obamacare's death panels.

Obama and his comrades denied the death panels, but the ruling death panel had already been funded in the stimulus bill!

"It can be found in SECTION 9201 of the Stimulus bill. It sets up a 15 member Comparative Effectiveness Board, modeled after the UK's "NICE" board. Obama has appointed the members of this board and one of the members is DR. EZEKIEL IMMANUEL. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2314606/posts

In socialist doublespeak, Obama and his comrades may call Obama’s death panels "life panels,” but lies do not change Obama's pro-abortion and pro-infanticide (late-term abortion) stand, nor the aberrant stands of Obama's Health Care Czar Ezekiel Emanuel, Science Czar John Holdren, and Medicare and Medicaid Head Berwick.

Obama's Health Care Czar Ezekiel Emanuel, rightfully called "Doctor Death," would make Dr. Kervorkian proud.

Dr. Emanuel has said that "Medical care should not be given to those who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens."

As per Dr. Emanuel, your mother suffering from Alzheimer’s or your child diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome SHOULD NOT receive medical care. http://freedomedium.com/2009/07/barack-obama-appoints-doctor-death-as-health-care-czar/

Obama's "Science Czar" John Holdren has called for population-control policies such as forced abortions, mass sterilizations, and mandatory population controls. http://www.prisonplanet.com/john-holdren-obamas-science-czar-forced-abortions-and-mass-sterilization-needed-to-save-the-planet.html

And Berwick is on tape expressing his commitment to redistribution of wealth (socialism/Marxism) and his admiration for the failed British health care system.

Lies do not change the FACT that we are broke and Obamacare will further destroy our economy, our future and the future of our children and grandchildren.

Lies do not change the FACT that Obamacare is another scam to enslave us.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 8, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Obama has truly lost it! Only 118 days until we take back the country from these wild eyed liberals...hopefully this is their high water mark for the 21st Century!

Posted by: dcmowbray1 | July 8, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

MadamDeb

According to the Congressional Research Service:

Clinton made 139 recess appointments, 95 to full-time positions. George W. Bush made 171 recess appointments, of which 99 were to full-time positions.

And, farnaz_mansouri2: Do you know the meaning of empirical evidence?
-----------------------------
Yes, I do. But the field is rather broad. What "empirical evidence" do you have in mind?

Posted by: farnaz_mansouri2 | July 8, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Every day the Post sinks lower and lower. Given what they did to Froomkin, I wouldn't be surprised if Marcus was forced to author this right wing pablum on threat of being fired for being "too liberal."

Posted by: janouzpoha | July 8, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Every day the Post sinks lower and lower. Given what they did to Froomkin, I wouldn't be surprised if Marcus was forced to author this right wing pablum on threat of being fired for being "too liberal."

Posted by: janouzpoha | July 8, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

And, farnaz_mansouri2: Do you know the meaning of empirical evidence?
-----------------------------
Yes, I do. But the field is rather broad. What "empirical evidence" do you have in mind?
==================

Um...uh...d'oh...Oh, I dunno, maybe the way the Party of No (ideas or agreement/compromise) has responded to anything he tries to do for the past 18 months...

Posted by: MadamDeb | July 8, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Ruthie Bubala Tatala,

Boneheaded? Try cowardly or usurped, or how about characteristically? Because, behavior such as this is the primary characteristic of Obama. Deem and Pass a budget, or reconciliation, or lame duck ram thru of card check or cap and tax, it doesn't matter. This egomaniac is a dictator and very few in the media question him. Quite frankly, that is why news consumers shun MSM. Anyway, kudos Ruthie.

Posted by: pauldia | July 8, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

I think the mood of the country favors not giving obstructionists another opportunity to distract by reopening the health care debate. If the appointment only lasts until the end of 2011, Berwick can hardly do any damage. And maybe the Obama administration will be able to govern instead of having to put out yet another fire.

Posted by: patr2 | July 8, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

You are right, pauldia. Obama is behaving like Hugo Chavez and the rest of the Marxist thugs who are destroying Latin America.

"Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama!" Chavez cheered on Venezuelan TV. He added that he and Cuba's Fidel Castro would now have to work harder just to keep up.
http://www.hacer.org/report/2009/06/us-obamas-red-chorus-investors-business.html

Fortunately, as we can see now, most Americans have NOT been dumbed down! Most Americans are NOT sheeple! Most Americans are ready to defend their FREEDOM and the freedom of their children and grandchildren from the abomination of Obama's criminal scams and socialism/Marxism.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | July 8, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Which of you has not yet fathomed that every person who falls ill cannot have every test, every top specialist, every treatment? One reason why costs continue to spiral in health care is that we have not grappled with the consideration of how (and how fairly) we can provide reasonable care and to what extent. That, in essence, is the meaning of rationing. It doesn't (necessarily) mean that of things that might fairly commonly befall us will be denied treatment. Yet we need to account for the possibility that we may become ill with a disease for which there is no treatment or treatment so expensive that our extended families may not earn so much in several generations.

It would be better for all, perhaps, if our culture encouraged our taking stock of the total costs of what we ask for. Even if we pay the cost (or a "fair" share) for health insurance, there are many conditions for which we could never pay enough premium to cover the actual costs of treatment. We therefore understand that the cost of such treatment is carried by all persons so insured; on average, the premiums of many go to pay the costs of a few.

So why do we accept the argument that each of us shouldn't pay for the costs of others? We already do and take that to be the general concept of insurance. Nevertheless, in some cases, patients and medical experts alike make decisions regarding the ethical implications of asking for the maximum treatment beyond what reason tells us that may cost. Further, by denying those outside health care policies all but the most rudimentary treatment, we are already applying with a harsh unfairness a plan of rationing. To argue otherwise flies in the face of fact and reason. To pretend that things are otherwise is sheer ignorance in its most fundamental meaning.

Posted by: Jazzman7 | July 8, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I am so sorry about this Administration. I feel that Obama may well become the greatest disappointment in the wake of this new century. It promised so much. It went so wrong. Why???

Posted by: huntyrella | July 8, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

All of Obama's appointments are "bonehead" appointments.

Posted by: Imarkex | July 8, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Obama. I hope that he doesn't prove to be just another political hack.

Posted by: BarbWald


Um... too late me thinks.

Posted by: WacoDave | July 8, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

I would have liked to hear what this guy had to say. Instead, Obama sneaked him through the back door. Yes both parties use the procedure. But not on this issue that has divided America, especially after the mechanism used to deem the legislation passed. More of Obama's "transparency" that I can live without. November.

Posted by: samwoods77 | July 8, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

True, recess appointments represent an end run on the normal confirmation process. But it's also true that they're perfectly legal.

And it's ALSO true that routinely blocking 80% of a president's appointments ALSO represents an end run on the normal confirmation process.

The Senate's rules evolved to help it work as a deliberative body--as a check against the House's volatility.

But they also evolved during the century or more in which senators worked across party lines, had dinner together, and believed that seeking common ground was the height of democratic political virtue.

Then the Republican Party became radicalized in the early 1990s, driving for narrow majorities but then governing as if they had a 99% voter mandate, then in defeat acting as if they still have a right to govern, using the tools of that more cooperative era to obstruct everything from minor appointments to major legislation.

When a 60% vote is required to pass or confirm practically anything or anyone, it puts more power in the hands of the minority than the Founders intended or envisioned, and in some ways establishes minority rule.

Against this backdrop, a recess appointment is pretty minor stuff.

And the howls of "dictator!" "Marxist" "Hugo Chavez" by right wingnuts when President Obama tries to defend himself and his democratic mandate illustrate how radicalized the GOP has become--these people believe they have a God-given right to rule, regardless of the vote, and a God-given dispensation to violate the spirit of Senate rules to thwart the decision of the voters to put a Democrat in the White House.

When you climb in the ring wearing gloves and the other guy's wearing brass knuckles--you'd better take the gloves off.

wwww.blogzu.blogspot.com

Posted by: ehkzu | July 8, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

I often don't agree with Marcus, but this column is bold and spot on.

What really grouses me about this appointment is that the White House didn't even try to work Berwick through the confirmation process. Berwick, in fact, hadn't even returned answers to questions posed to him by the Senate committee that would have held his confirmation hearings. If there was a hold-up on Berwick's confirmation, it was the White House and nominee dragging their feet, refusing to provide the Senate with the information that they need to make an informed judgment.

In short, Obama was intent in this case on preventing the Senate from doing its constitutionally mandated job. Cynical is certainly an apt word for it. I'd even say that this kind of behavior borders on the impeachable. Yes, recess appointments are within Obama's power, but in this case Obama stonewalled Congress and prevented Senate oversight, which is also a breach of the Constitution. I doubt this would ever lead to impeachment, but it is certainly not right.

Posted by: blert | July 9, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

why don't you mention how Bush snubbed the Senate over 100 times and Obama hasn't done it more then 20 times you dumb cunt.

Posted by: RobertCurleyJacobs | July 9, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Let us count the blessings of Mr. Obama's new appointee, Donald Berwick: "inspired" policy; "bold" politics; "boneheaded" choice.

Wait. Boneheaded? Because it will ignite a fight with the Republicans? Well, maybe President Obama should just kowtow to the Republicans. I guess this would earn him some kudos with those who are patronizing him for having the audacity to be President.

I think it is about time Mr. Obama shows some fangs, and bares his fists, if even in his way, a gentlemanly way. Aren't the Republicans saying he's a wuss? Didn't McChrystal say he's a wuss? He's been a nice guy and holding his cool for long enough to find out that the Republicans aren't, and don't intend to.

It was obvious, and let me quote this author's comment: "...Berwick offered opponents a loaded gun with his talk about rationing, his discussion of health reform as a matter of redistributing wealth, and his effusive praise for the British system," that this appointment was going to hit that same brick wall the Republicans have erected against the Obama Administration from its inception.

So why not make this appointment in Congressional recess? And get it done. Let the proverbial cow's dung hit the windmill. It can't splatter far anyway. The Republicans can knock themselves out making fools of themselves in these short and hot days before the midterms.

Posted by: paultaylor1 | July 9, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Bush appointed John Bolton as UN ambassador when Congress was in recess. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Posted by: ablankinship | July 9, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

The real issue is the number of approvals the pres needs. Why so many? Its gotta be under 50. I mean, the Senate had to confirm Petraeus to run the show in Afghanistan -- which was in essence a demotion!!!

The problem isn't recess appointments, its that too many appointments need approval.

Instead, I'd offer this compromise. Senate confirmation required for 50 spots, no more. The Senate can request a vote to remove an appointment for the other slots currently requiring approval.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | July 9, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

MadamDeb

And, farnaz_mansouri2: Do you know the meaning of empirical evidence?
-----------------------------
Yes, I do. But the field is rather broad. What "empirical evidence" do you have in mind?
==================

Um...uh...d'oh...Oh, I dunno, maybe the way the Party of No (ideas or agreement/compromise) has responded to anything he tries to do for the past 18 months...
----------------------------
I think you misread my post. That was my point. I was not being critical of Obama, quite the contrary.

Posted by: farnaz_mansouri2 | July 9, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

"If the president wanted to buy a fight like this, he ought to have been better prepared to wage it. "

But he isn't. The fact that 70% of people opposed the healthcare plan Obama pushed is something that he view "we're too stupid to get it".

When he gets ousted in 2012, he'll write a book in which he'll blame racism for, well, everything. They'll they find him in a car with Devine Brown, I suppose.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | July 9, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

How about the two devout Muslims that Obama just appointed as second level heads of Home Land Security? This is just more evidence that Barack Obama is America's chief enemy.

Posted by: mike85 | July 9, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

It's certainly LONG overdue for him to start playing hardball -- every day on every issue. That's what he's up against and it's time to END the wimpy professor routine and start showing some cajones. Please don't slam him when he finally does. Should he have let the GOP tie this up forever? Guess you think so, but I could care less what you think if you want him to keep being a lapdog for the wing nuts and DINOs.

Posted by: dolph924 | July 9, 2010 12:38 AM | Report abuse

It's certainly LONG overdue for him to start playing hardball -- every day on every issue. That's what he's up against and it's time to END the wimpy professor routine and start showing some cajones. Please don't slam him when he finally does. Should he have let the GOP tie this up forever? Guess you think so, but I could care less what you think if you want him to keep being a lapdog for the wing nuts and DINOs.

Posted by: dolph924 | July 9, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Marcus it's time to wake up and stop the League of woman's voters, common Cause good government schtick ! "where's the evidence of delay in Berwick's case ?", you ask . Do you have to be hit over the head to see every appointment Obama has tried to make has been met with delay and obstruction by the GOP ? If Obama did not use the recess appointment it would have been healthcare debate 2.0 and have nothing to do with the nominee himself. The GOP have themselves to blame for recess appointments. If they took the nomination process seriously instead of trying to score political points on EVRYTHING Obama attempts maybe things would be different. Let's not forget the GOP used hardball constantly under Bush and did not give a damn about good government or anybody's objections .

Posted by: pb185 | July 9, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Good grief. An even vaguely balanced column would have taken the following thrust: "Recent presidents Bush and now Obama are increasingly abusing the recess appointments to avoid battles with stalwart opposition in Congress".

Instead, we get no mention of the fact that Bush did this time and again, and no mention of the fact that the GOP has made a cartoon of our democracy lately by opposing everything Obama even thinks of doing to help the country.

Nice job kissing up to the NeoHiatt, Marcus.

Posted by: B2O2 | July 9, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Why the furor? Recess appointments are perfectly legal and have been done by presidents of both parties over the years. When you have a congress as partisan as this one, you need to use all the tools in your toolbox to get things done. Obama is learning that in his 2nd full year in office, and will be better off for it.

Posted by: garrett66 | July 9, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

I find it hard to believe how many people defend Obama by pointing out what Bush did, or Clinton did. That is so superificial that it is moronic. What matters is what the President is doing now. If it is a bad and also cynical appointment because he does not want Obamacare to be deservedly criticized, then he ought to be kicked out of ofice in 2012. Dr. Berwick is a danger to those of us over 65, espousing rationed care and redistribution of wealth by using health as a weapon to further his communist ideas. Let's face it, Obama is a true socialist and he should have never been elected. Those democrats that still defend him ought to look at his dismal record and stop looking backward to what others did. Two wrongs do not make a right and Obama is wrong for America and democracy. Vote him out in 2012!!

Posted by: chemiph | July 9, 2010 1:57 AM | Report abuse

If the Senate republicans refuse to act as adults, they deserve to be treated as children. Full stop.

Posted by: rbe1 | July 9, 2010 2:43 AM | Report abuse

Does it hurt when you fall off your pedestal, Ruthie?

Posted by: donspecht | July 9, 2010 2:57 AM | Report abuse

"I am shocked, shocked, I tell you, to find that people are following the letter of the law."

Posted by: frantaylor | July 9, 2010 3:08 AM | Report abuse

Where were you Mrs. Marcus when Bush was abusing his power and appointing Bolton to the U.N on recess? Oh that's right you were nowhere to be found. I'm getting pretty sick and tired of all you loud mouth pundits like yourself who don't have a single clue.

Posted by: lumi21us | July 9, 2010 3:36 AM | Report abuse

I don't remember this hypocrite little woman complaining when the Texas Retard used the same tactic to appoint the incompetent Bolton as ambassador to the Unted Nations.

Posted by: analyst72 | July 9, 2010 4:09 AM | Report abuse

another example of this arrogant fools stupidity.

Posted by: pofinpa | July 9, 2010 4:18 AM | Report abuse

Obama is simply tired of have a bunch of arrogant, obstructionist sphincters (aka the Republicans) trying to destroy the country in the pathetic hope they'll regain some power in November. They have done nothing to help this country and will continue to do so until they are whacked down back into their hole like the political vermin they are. Strange how during the Bush Reich all you heard from these scumbags was "We won, you lost, so the Dems can drop dead." And now they cry like little schoolgirls about bipartisanship? What a bunch of monumental hypocrites.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | July 9, 2010 5:03 AM | Report abuse


What's boneheaded is to write that healthcare is one of the major issues our country faces while viewing an effort to improve it only through the narrow lens of politics. Far easier to scream about problems than to seriously address them.

Posted by: jack824 | July 9, 2010 5:17 AM | Report abuse

What's boneheaded is to write that healthcare is one of the major issues our country faces while viewing an effort to improve it only through the narrow lens of politics. Much easier - and far more fun - to scream about problems than to actually tackle them.

Posted by: jack824 | July 9, 2010 5:21 AM | Report abuse

If only we could have had a non-Ivy League physician ---- a REAL, PRACTICING physician, and not some career-building, run-of-the-mill, ticket-punching bureaucrat like Berwick. And Puh-LEEZE, don't bore us with this office monkey's "credentials!"

Posted by: extoere | July 9, 2010 5:53 AM | Report abuse

Gee, as I recall, Georgie boy really broke the record when it came to recess appointments, and that was with an opposition party that wasn't anywhere nearly as determined to oppose EVERYTHING. If Obama's appointees could ever expect to get fair hearings, or even hearings at all from the GOP, perhaps recess appointments wouldn't be necessary. How many appointments are still being blocked because the Party of No refuses to give their stamp of approval. Hope the Dems are learning a thing or two from this, so that when the Repukes are back in power, they can play that game too.

Posted by: ggwalt | July 9, 2010 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Gee, GW Bush made 40 recess appoinments including John Bolton,Michael Bartlett (labor relations board) and 38 others. I do not recall any of your wild charges or angst over these. Could it be that you Ms Marcus and you supporters are actually just peeved the Mr. Obama exercised one of the normal functions of the office and you don't like the result? It would seem thought, that you could write a less dishonest column. You have to have known this, so why the column?

Posted by: samson15 | July 9, 2010 6:22 AM | Report abuse

Frankly, Ms. Marcus, it's long past time for Obama to stop trying to play nice with the Repukes. I'd like to see him starting stomping all over the right wingers at this point. I'm sick of their histrionics and constant criticism, especially when they have NOTHING to offer. The GOP has made a strategic decision to do everything in their power to make it impossible to govern or solve the serious problems facing our country. They want Obama to fail more than they want the country to succeed. That's just a fact. They think it will help them at the polls, and God help us if these clowns regain power. They've already done enough damage, damage that will take a lifetime to repair.

Posted by: ggwalt | July 9, 2010 6:30 AM | Report abuse

And health insurance companies don't ration health care? But it's alright for them to do that because they are American companies who have the best interests of their subscribers and employees at heart.

The Republicans are the ones with a monopoly on cynicism. I find your criticism misplaced to say the least.

Posted by: bsosrin1 | July 9, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

But Obama did the right thing for the country and for our health care! That's all that matters. Republicans can do this sort of thing and Democratic Presidents can't? Republicans in Congress have long ago renounced all principles in their fight to destroy Obama and the country.

After losing the Health Care vote, how "democratic" is it to threaten going to the conservative Supreme Court to having the law over-turned? That's much more outrageous than a recess appointment of the most talented guy to get the job done right!

Posted by: walden1 | July 9, 2010 6:40 AM | Report abuse

How about it all of you clowns out there, the senate was snubbing the president's appointment. He has a right to appoint the people he wants unless they're murderers. Look at all the slugs that the shrub put in (and unfortunately are still there, i.e. MMS).

Posted by: mtravali | July 9, 2010 6:56 AM | Report abuse

It is so ironic that the liberal posters in this thread continually refer to the Senate as "children" yet in the same breath call Republicans "repukes, wingnuts, obstructionist sphincters", etc.

Liberals, by an large, are the most hypocritical folks that inhabit this land.

Posted by: Snowdog | July 9, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Enough with the prima donnas of the Senate - the institution is broken. Obama, or any president, should be able to appoint the people he thinks best equipped to execute his agenda, not have every Tom, Dick, and Harry preen for the cameras while making endless, tedious, irrelevant but cable-ready comments. Berwick would not have been confirmed before November, and maybe not for many months after that. We need cost-containment NOW, not when that ridiculous club on the Hill gets over itself.

Posted by: glenerian | July 9, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

I, for one, am glad that this appointment was made without Congressional hearings. Now,what Mr. Berwick believes - what the administration's plans are for ObamaCare and what THEY mean - can be published with no opportunity for Obama or Berwick to "spin" them.

If, by appointing Berwick during a recess, the administration meant to avoid a fresh debate about ObamaCare as a Trojan Horse packed with dire threats to our national health care industry and way of life, I believe they will be greatly disappointed. Now, instead of within a forum controlled by judges in Obama's pocket (the Senate), Berwick, what he's said and what he believes and the whole of ObamaCare will be debated again, and throughout the run-up to the mid-terms, in the press and here, on the internet.

Already, 49% of Americans "strongly favor repealing" ObamaCare. After hearing what Berwick has said abouth health care, and his admiration of a manifestly failed health care system in England, expect that number to rise, and to see Senators and Representatives elected to office who promise to repeal it.

Posted by: dryrunfarm1 | July 9, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

I, for one, am glad that this appointment was made without Congressional hearings. Now,what Mr. Berwick believes - what the administration's plans are for ObamaCare and what THEY mean - can be published with no opportunity for Obama or Berwick to "spin" them.

If, by appointing Berwick during a recess, the administration meant to avoid a fresh debate about ObamaCare as a Trojan Horse packed with dire threats to our national health care industry and way of life, I believe they will be greatly disappointed. Now, instead of within a forum controlled by judges in Obama's pocket (the Senate), Berwick, what he's said and what he believes and the whole of ObamaCare will be debated again, and throughout the run-up to the mid-terms, in the press and here, on the internet.

Already, 49% of Americans "strongly favor repealing" ObamaCare. After hearing what Berwick has said abouth health care, and his admiration of a manifestly failed health care system in England, expect that number to rise, and to see Senators and Representatives elected to office who promise to repeal it.

Posted by: dryrunfarm1 | July 9, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey "Snowdog"

'The liberal posters in this thread continually refer to the Senate as "children"'

Well there is Exactly One Post that uses the word "children", and here it is:

"If the Senate republicans refuse to act as adults, they deserve to be treated as children. Full stop."

You castigate others for their use of language but you clearly have your own problems with it. This quote DOES NOT "refer to the Senate as children". It says "they deserve to be treated like children".

You need to brush up on your vocabulary, esp. the words "continually" and "refer".

"Liberals, by an large, are the most hypocritical folks that inhabit this land."

And again you make a funny, using lies as the motivation for your incoherent rant.

Posted by: frantaylor | July 9, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse


Ms Marcus, did you forget how "outrageous" it was for Bush to make a recess appointment of John Bolton as UN ambassador, during his reign?????

Posted by: demtse | July 9, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

What is wrong with you? Berwick is an enlightened choice and nothing gets done in the Senate any more. Foolish article. Not sure where the Washington Post is any more. Perhaps not getting enough dinner parties with the white house leadership?

Posted by: drllh | July 9, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Once again cowardice runs rampant in DC. Someone puts a special hold for another senatorial collegue (insert fillabuster here) instead of a simple up and down vote.

But don't worry there are many more appointments being held off by the Rupublicans. Skip the BS and recess appoint the rest. If you're gonna be vilified, you might as well go all the way.

Posted by: raidhjk | July 9, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I find it odd that Ms. Marcus, even given her role as Republican flack, is unable to see and unwilling to mention a teeny tiny difference between Bush's recess appointments and those made by Obama, to wit;

Barack Obama's appointments would easily be confirmed by a vote of the full Senate. His recess appointments only confirm the will of the majority of the Senate, which the Republicans try to deny through anonymous holds and filibusters.

On the other hand, the recess appointments made by George W. Bush would have failed in a vote on the Senate floor, and in some cases actually DID fail to obtain Senate confirmation following a a vote of the full Senate.

Obama's recess appointments are in service to the Senate's will, while Bush's were in contravention of it. That's a pretty significant difference the way I look at things.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | July 9, 2010 7:51 AM | Report abuse

It's very plausible that Obama appointed Berwick exactly to "cull the herd". The herd in question is predominantly white, Christian, conservative, patriotic, remember a time when the feds didn't intrude into so many aspects of life and are fiscal liabilities in that they now receive social security and medicaire rather than pay into it. It makes perfect sense for a budding totalitarian.

Posted by: hit4cycle | July 9, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Hey POST where is the pro-Obama article to balance out this MARCUS , party of NO(Republican) article ??? After 12 years of Republican pillage and destruction of our government's ability to do good for the poor and the Middle-Class('96 to '07 inclusive) plus the near complete collapse of our financial system under George Bush and his party of anti poor and middle-class,I will vote against Republicans until I draw my last breath !!!!

Posted by: benhartejr | July 9, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

You know Berwick is radioactive when a president with a 59 seat majority in the senate has to resort to a sneaky recess appointment.

Posted by: hit4cycle | July 9, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I suspect that the American people will be thankful that they don't have to hear more senators bloviating and lying about health care. This is one recess appointment that I can support.

Posted by: DaveR1 | July 9, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Lots of Americans both Dem or GOP or Independent have a problem with the redistribute the wealth issue that BO and his socialistic friends have. No wonder there was no hearing.

Posted by: FLvet | July 9, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Advise and consent. In the 21st century of hate filled, do-nothing, bought and paid for politicians it is no longer operable. Just one more opportunity for gridlock. For the Courts, yes. They are a separate branch that both the Executive and Legislature should approve. For a general in Afghanistan or a member of the President's own cabinet....NO. I have never understood why the President cannot have on his team whomever he wants. The Senate has plenty of other things on its plate than to hold grandstanding hearings that last days or weeks just to bloviate for the homefolks. There are too many positions that go vacant not because the candidate is unqualified or has committed a heinous crime, but simply because Senator X or Y wants something in return for his vote or wants to cause trouble for a President. Advise and consent slows down good governance in a fast moving century filled with many problems that can not be kicked down the road. Ms. Marcus your view is a very iconoclastic inside the beltway one that belongs to the past.

Posted by: tarryh | July 9, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Credit to Marcus for a nice piece-- pointing out Berwick's qualifications while noting Obama's sleazy move.

Who cares if "both sides do it?" Didn't Obama run to change "business as usual" in Washington? At least the media calls him out now when he plays politics.

Marcus may lean left-- but at least she's not an unapologetic cheerleader for the Obama administration like Robinson or Dionne and willing to call out and draw attention to moves like this.

Posted by: TheGJ | July 9, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

So glad the president had this option and used it. Otherwise he was guaranteed a couple weeks or more of time wasted by the Party of No whose members have made it absolutely clear they will be playing the role of sullen obstructionist as long as they are not in control.

Posted by: repairmaven | July 9, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I disagree. The US Senate is a broken institution. The current and future Presidents (of both parties) should snub it repeatedly to the full extent allowed under the rules in order to knock some sense into it and change its obstructive rules.

Posted by: Jainr | July 9, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

You're totally wrong. Obama was elected with a strong majority and a mandate. republicans (your friends on the DC cocktail circuit) are attempting to obstruct everything. They are the party of failure, they are the ones that have screwed everything up and they are the ones that want to keep things screwed up. You are completely out of touch with average Americans because you live in the DC bubble where everything is just fine.

Posted by: ssfs20007 | July 9, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

.
.
.
THANK GOD OBAMA DID IT. KEEP IT UP.
.
.
.

Posted by: merelymyopinion | July 9, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

This was shabby behavior by the White House, and this column is an example of the political objectivity of which Ms. Marcus, a liberal, is capable. Honor to her.

Posted by: Roytex | July 8, 2010 3:12
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I agree...... very unlike Marcus to really stick it to a Democrat, no less her hero, Obama.

Let's HOPE the Washington POST which has really showed their liberal/progressive feathers these past 10 years in particular can begin to represent the interests of We The People not their politcal party, the Democrats...... this story is a good first start to restoring the POST's reputation as a "newspaper" not a left-wing "political paper".

I'm not only to hold my breath thou......lol

Posted by: allenridge | July 9, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

What's cynical is the GOP. From day one with this President. He owes them nothing.

Posted by: jckdoors | July 9, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Marcus, Bush used this exact tactic several times during his eight years in office. I know it's hard, but don't be such a clown.

Posted by: kschur1 | July 9, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

We already ration healthcare in our country on the basis of wealth not who is in need. My wife along with millions of Americans skips important medicines or appointments because the choice is between medicine or food or mortgage payments. Millions of Americans must remain destitute to qualify for Medicaid and somewhere between 30,000 to 40,000 Americans die prematurely every year from preventable disease simply because they don't have insurance. The Republicans appear to be comfortable with all of this and consistently block many Obama appointments in spite rather than principle. I'm glad Obama is beginning to shed his caricature of Rodney King standing on the sidelines saying, “Can we just get along?” No we can't, as most Republicans have shown since Obama was elected.

Posted by: Keith3 | July 9, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Just one more Obama slap in the face of the American Public by the arrogant imposter.

Posted by: GordonShumway | July 9, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

"Berwick, co-founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, is the country's leading evangelist for the proposition that it is possible to deliver higher quality medical care at a lower cost." - Marcus

Although I usually enjoy reading Ms. Marcus' opinions, I strongly disagree with this one.

Not only that it is possible to deliver higher quality medical care at a lower cost, but it has been practiced for hundreds of years in Germany since late 1880's and many other industrial countries. This proposition in the US but practice in these countries is called Universal Health Care. The French universal health care system is even rated by WHO as the first in the world. All of them spend less than our current 16% of our GDP on health care and all of them offer much better coverage of the population.

It is not a proposition at all if we look outside of our country for a moment. Universal Health Care is the only way to lower health care cost for all. We should do continuous health care reform to improve our new health care system every four years to say the least. The French system reforms it almost every year.

Posted by: dummy4peace | July 9, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Shame shame shame...

The Post ought to be thundering editorials about how usless Congress is in getting government working, how craven the republicans and democrats together are for failing to get confirmations done almost 2 years into President Obama's term...

No, instead, Marcus is down in the gutter, gnawing at kneecaps, complaining.

I have news.. I'm an independent, I'm a registered republican sick of Reagan, Bush And Bush, I'm like all my friends - I don't respond to surveys and most of them don't even have a land line.

I have seen NOTHING from this President that I disliked or failed to understand, and I have seen MUCH from the republicans that is not understandable, or even forgivable.

Can't imagine anything in this world that would persuade me to vote for a republican in my lifetime.

Those who cite percentages like they really knew what people were thinking are wrong. Those who claim this President is not doing exactly what he was hired to do are wrong. Those who think republicans will gain anything in the midterms after the lack of interest they have shown in this Nation's welfare are wrong.

Ruth among them.

Posted by: dutchess2 | July 9, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Well, well, well, well... It seems that everyone is now coming around to opinions of Obama which we Republicans, we conservative independents, we "thinking Americans," we Tea Party Members, etc., etc., have been expressing since before this creature's inauguration. This man is a joke, and he has absolutely no interest in helping this nation. He wants to harm it. He's a bitter, angry man of a loser father and a weird mother. He wants to get back at this country! HE NEEDS TO BE IMPEACHED! HE'S EVIL! EVIL! EVIL!

Posted by: georges2 | July 9, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm truly enjoying a good laugh at the double standard presented by those on the right. Where was the outrage over Bushs 171 recess appointments?

The shallow hypocrisy of those on the right is reminiscent of temper tantrums thrown by spoiled 7 year olds. You lost, and you lost badly, gut it up because elections have consequences. If only the republicans would grow some intellectual maturity, focus on country over party, and direct their efforts to doing the jobs they were elected to do - solving the nations problems - this country would be in a much better place.

I applaud the presidents move. The republicans intent is to destroy this presidency, and they don't care if they take the country down with it. That's a cynicism I just can't support.

Posted by: notfooledbydistractions1 | July 9, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

This is just another example of what a poor excuse Obama is as a President and human being. 2012 can't come fast enough to get rid of the fool.

Posted by: mpixton1 | July 9, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts:

"And the recess appointment power doesn't work why?"

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 9, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh, boo hoo! Did you bawl and wail when Lord Cheney, through is marionette George the Dumber, went around congress with his Presidential "signings"?

Posted by: areyousaying | July 9, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Ruth Marcus is a Republican shill.....she's so anti-Obama that she can't make a rational argument - there are so many - as to why the situation reached the point of having to make the recess appointment. You go girl....

Posted by: josephfranklyn | July 9, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Does it really matter who is appointed? No, it is not. What I have a problem with is that as a working individual I am now going to pay more to help with this ignorant, racist, wealth redistribution scheme. I agree that those who last their jobs need assistance, but I cannot abide by paying for those who sit on their backsides all day long and cry a river that we owe them a lifestyle.

I am no fan of the Repubs, but lately, they look to be best for me keeping more of the money I work for rather than giving it to some underserving person who thinks I owe them something for them not making themselves better.

Posted by: zendrell | July 9, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Ms Marcus' post; while the argument is compelling, there is another possible WH rebuttal. If, after waiting an allegedly more appropriate 14 months, a recess appointment would be acceptable, and you know that will be the result of the Senate process, why not cut to the chase & make the appointment now?

If there were real doubt as to how the Senate would treat this confirmation - if there were a chance the Senate were actually advising and consenting rather than trying to make political hay, Ms Marcus' point would be more compelling. But at this point, it wouldn't bother me if the Obama admin used the recess appointment loophole to fill every vacancy in government.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 9, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

From Wikipedia:

President George W. Bush appointed two judges during Senate recesses, William Pryor and Charles Pickering to U.S. courts of appeals after their nominations were filibustered by Senate Democrats. Judge Pickering, who Bush appointed to the Fifth Circuit, withdrew his name from consideration for renomination and retired when his recess appointment expired. Judge Pryor was subsequently confirmed by the Senate for a lifetime appointment to the Eleventh Circuit. In two terms, Bush made 171 recess appointments.

On August 1, 2005, Bush made a recess appointment of John Bolton, to serve as U.S. representative to the United Nations.[5] Bolton had also been the subject of a Senate filibuster. The filibuster concerned documents that the White House refused to release, which Democrats suggested may contain proof of Bolton's abusive treatment and coercion of staff members or of his improper use of National Security Agency communications intercepts regarding U.S. citizens. Having failed to win Senate confirmation, he resigned his office in December 2006 concurrently with the adjournment of the 109th Congress.[6]

On April 4, 2007, during the Easter recess of Congress, Bush announced three recess appointments. The first was Sam Fox to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium.[7] Fox's appointment had been thwarted in Congress because he had donated $50,000 to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential campaign, a group whose advertisements many Democrats blamed for John Kerry's loss.[8]

The second appointment announced that day was Susan Dudley to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget.

The third recess appointment on April 4 was Andrew G. Biggs to serve as Deputy Commissioner of the Social Security Administration.[9] Biggs was investigated by Senate Democrats in 2005, while serving as Assistant Commissioner for the Social Security Administration, concerning whether he violated a federal ban on congressional lobbying by federal employees when he edited the prepared testimony for a lobbyist appearing before a Democratic Policy Committee Social Security hearing as alleged by John Stanton in Congress Daily.[10]

Where was Marcus during these recess appointments?

Posted by: areyousaying | July 9, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

"it has been practiced for hundreds of years in Germany since late 1880's"

I like your sentiment but your math skills are poor.

Posted by: frantaylor | July 9, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"No more politics as usual..."

Until it's inconvenient.

Posted by: drjcarlucci | July 9, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

"Berwick, co-founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, is the country's leading evangelist for the proposition that it is possible to deliver higher quality medical care at a lower cost. He's not only preached that gospel; he's shown that it can be translated into reality."

seriously? Where has this miracle occurred? He truely IS a proponent and his recess appointment was because even cursory questioning by anyone not a sycophant would have uncovered deep Marxist, redistributive underpinnings to his ethos.

As usual Progressives, Marxists and liberals think with their hearts and not their heads. Like most liberal policy, it might look great on paper and when you say it aloud but it stinks when in the real world . They almost always have a poor track record for actual success in that world of reality.

Posted by: theduck6 | July 9, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"I am so sorry about this Administration. I feel that Obama may well become the greatest disappointment in the wake of this new century. It promised so much. It went so wrong. Why???" Because voters in 2008 voted not pro-Obama, but anti-Bush - Just as they had voted not pro-Bush but anti-Clinton in 2000.

Not saying that a Vice-President Palin didn't give me nightmares because it did (and she does), but this is the second time in three elections where the American people should have been more thoughtful of what they were wishing for - Because now they have it, and more and more of them are feeling pangs of "voter remorse."

Posted by: darrellcochran | July 9, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I completely agree with Ruth Marcus here. When Bush was President, I hated the spectre of recess appointments, I believed then and now that it is getting something done in a shady way. I like and support Obama, but I am getting angry at him for continuing so many Bush era practices, from this to rendition to maintaining facilities like Gitmo, etc. Obama needs to shape up in this regard and stop acting like the ends justify the means. The Republicans in the Senate may suck, but that is still no excuse for the President to act this way. He needs to be better than that.

Posted by: Scubergmu | July 9, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of usage by past presidents this is bad form.

You'll recall that Campaign Obama promised a new kind of politics...one where ideas were openly debated and everyone got his day.

And yet here we are with President Obama using the recess appointment now twice in the past three months?

What happened?

Easy, Berwick is a socialist who sees government run health care no so much as covering the uncoverable, but in redistributing wealth. Those were his words. Moreover, it's really redistributing poverty, but that's another day.

No, Berwick is Obama's man, but he couldn't put him out there and risk his own party hacks in the Senate, particularly those up for re-election this year, challenging him and ultimately eroding his aura.

Note that when Spokesidiot Robert Gibbs was asked whether the President agreed with Berwick's views on government run health care being a redistribution of wealth that he never gave a concrete answer. It's a "yes" or "no" question, yet he refused to answer it as such. That's because the real answer is "yes".

@areyousaying: Nice work. You know how to use Wikipedia. Very good. You get an shiny apple.

Why is it that for you people the litmus test is George Bush? Last I checked, he stopped being President at noon, January 20, 2009. In fact, we haven't heard a peep from him then. (wish our other past Presidents could be so quiet)

But you give us a false choice: just because Bush and other presidents used this in the past doesn't mean that the Chosen One should use it now. Indeed, it undercuts every promise about better government that he made as Campaign Obama.

Posted by: traderdad37 | July 9, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

How many appointments do the Republicans have on hold while screaming that this President hasn't made his appointments? Any commentary on this subject should include a report of this situation.

Posted by: withersb | July 9, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse


WHAT? Couldn't figure it out...

Marcus has been around long enough to not run screaming about a recess appointment.

So what was her "outrage stuff"?

Of course...It is Bolton, the Israeli firster so absurd that nobody at the UN...friend nor ally, would talk to him..

Except Israel of course. Marcus is too, too obvioius. And it's getting ridiculous.

Posted by: whistling | July 9, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse


WHAT? Couldn't figure it out...

Marcus has been around long enough to not run screaming about a recess appointment.

So what was her "outrage stuff"?

Of course...It is Bolton, the Israeli firster so absurd that nobody at the UN...friend nor ally, would talk to him..

Except Israel of course. Marcus is too, too obvious. And it's getting ridiculous.

Posted by: whistling | July 9, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

A cynic might also think that the president is sending a message that placing anonymous holds and filibustering even perfectly reasonable nominees can result in final appointments that are on the ideological fringe.

The other cynical reasons all come into play as well, but are icing on the cake.

Personally, I've been wondering when Obama would finally shove it back in the face of senate obstruction. I'm just surprised he didn't install more candidates.

Posted by: cometboy | July 9, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I didn't even need to finish the article because I'm tired of talking about appointments 2 years into Obama's presidency. His government should be up and running by now. Aren't you all tired of this? This proves that the Senate is an antiquated, broken body of men who are unnecessary, and we all need to demand that they be disbanded forever. Down with the U.S. Senate!

Posted by: rc34foli | July 9, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Face facts: everybody does it. But then again, Obama claimed that "everybody does it" would not be the way his administration was going to work.

Posted by: Three3 | July 9, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Commend President Obama for making the appointment. Right wing Republicans are extreme partisans and have made a mockery of the senate rules. He may have to make many more of these appointments. Any notion that we will learn anything from confirmation process is a joke. Most important there will not be a confirmation process. I do not know what in the world Ruth is talking about.

Posted by: ak1967 | July 9, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

So in other words, Ruthie... what Obama should have done is let the Republicans shut down his nomination for 14 months, leaving the same existing gaping leadership hole, and THEN it would have been OK to install a recess appointment. That is assinine, and Obama did the right thing by nipping the Party of NO off at the bud and putting a qualified person in. ALL presidents do it, and Obama is finally starting to show some cojones, and his critics , who railed on him for not being stronger before, now are railing on him for being too strong. Just goes to show you, even if Obama cured cancer, his critics would criticize him for destroying the cancer drug industry...

Posted by: emoenergy1 | July 9, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Complete BS. this man would confirmed in 10 minute with bi-partisan support if the party of no was not publicly announcing they were going to use his confirmation hearings as a political tool for weeks if not months. Contrast that with the conservative hero bush, who used recess appointments to apppoint completely unqualified judges, or worse the scumbucket bolton to the UN when he could not even get republicon votes in committee because he was so wholy unqualified for the post. This man is perfect for the role, ad this law is going into effect and needs someone to make that happen as smotthly as possible. We know the republicon strategy is to harm as many people as possible hopiung that most of them will blame the president. It is cynical, evil, and perfectly suited to the party of no - no ideas, no clue, no ,morals.

Posted by: John1263 | July 9, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Obama is now even more "damaged" bad goods. one term for sure.

Posted by: Hoops44 | July 9, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The republicon leadership public announced THAT THEY WERE DELAYING THIS NOMINATION NOT FOR ANY OTHER REASON THAN SO they could rehash their devesating loss on providing universal health care for Americans. Something conservatives have fought since the days of Teddy Roosevelt. They cannot stand that poor people, middle class people will all have access to decent nmedical care. They can't stand that this president did what he promiseed to do, and made life better or all Americans and at the same time edfanged ome of the special interest corporations that republicons rely on for donations. So they lie, they stall, they block while offering nothing. So this was a perfectly legit use of recess appointment. It is a critical post left unfilled by the senate. EXACTLY what these kinds of appointments are for. And this man would be confirmed right now by at least 57 votes in the seante, but because republicons have learned very well how to shout NO with the paltry 40 members they have in locktep jackbooted unison this well qualified candidate would never even get the chance for a vote.

Posted by: John1263 | July 9, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Outrageous? Lady, I'm prayin' he's just getting warmed up.

Outrageous?

Compared to which a55hat? Joe Barton? John Boehner? (tell me that tan isn't hard evidence of a "nuclear response!") Michael Steele? Or anything of a "political" nature coming out of the "right side" of Nevada these days (please, dear God, let the Vegas ads be right on the money about one thing that should stay put out there).

I think someone's knickers are still in a twist because a certain columnist didn't get an invite to a certain Big Dog's pool party.

Now, run along and take a coffee break before I taunt you a second time.

Posted by: donmotaka@comcast.net | July 9, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Utterly ridiculous GOP hackery.

How many recess appointments did the Worst President In HIstory, George Bush, make? 170? 171?

Obama has made 15.

I hope he makes many many many more. The "Party of No"has made it clear that they will obstruct literally everything our president tries to do, no matter what it is.

Thank you, President Obama, for standing up to The Party of No. They don't care about America, they only care about twisting everything around in a sickening attempt to get back in power.

They had their own way for eight years, and they almost drove America into the ground. They can't have the keys back!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | July 9, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Re: "And as a matter of good government, the...recess appointment was outrageous." HOGWASH!

However: As a matter of good government, the anti-Obama obstructionist tactics of the lock-stepped Senate Republicans...is definitely NOT a matter of good government. Rather, those tactics are despicably hateful and harmful to the well-being of a majority of Americans.

You are correct in opining that: "A recess appointment should be a last step in cases of egregious delay..." And, by all rational thought, the year-long Healthcare delay was absolutely egregious! And, the compromising built-in 5-6-year delay of real patient/customer benefits is ultra-egregious.

It's idealistically noble to believe '... that the confirmation process "serves as a check on executive power...",' but the executive privilege allowing for a recess appointment, protects against abuses of congressional powers, as has been repeatedly demonstrated by Senate Republicans.

The fact that Donald Berwick has already demonstrated: "...that it is possible to deliver higher quality medical care at a lower cost," seems to overwhelmingly justify his appointment. That's the ultimate goal. That's the right thing to do. Why should purely political poppycock prevent progress?

Posted by: taus007 | July 9, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

As long as the Senate is dysfunctional, I won't be offended by recess appointments. They are not a good idea, but they are better than allowing the Senate to hold appointments hostage.

Posted by: david6 | July 9, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

We have completely lost the checks and balances in our system. Any appointment this important should have been thoroughly vetted by congress. Obama can see from the polls the the US does not want this HC system of his. No one has made this kind of appointment in recess and no other congress ever passed a bill as important to the economy with a few votes bought with bribery. Obama does not give a damn for what the public wants and is running roughshod over anyone who opposes him including the majority of Americans. The country will not begin to heal until November and not really until 2012 when the public throws this arrogant ideologue out of office.

Posted by: katie6 | July 9, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Marcus position is clearly nonsense. The President should start acting like a Republican. Recess appoint every nominee that has been waiting more than 90 days....all of them. Time for the games to end. Play Hardball Mr. President.

Posted by: fare777 | July 9, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

What is outrageous is that it is getting harder and harder for a president to fill cabinet positions because political leaders in congress use it as an opportunity to play politics at its very worse and until that ceases there will come a time when all appointments by the President will be made at recess. If someone is made CEO of a company he/she has the right to choose who they want working for them in the top positions but the President of the U.S. cannot?

Posted by: jrussell1 | July 9, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Choke on your outrage, Republicans and Marcus. It's time Obama showed he has the courage to appoint somebody to oversee Medicare in a manner that will ensure its competent adminsitration, and to do so without being dragged through another Republican hate fest over the health care plan. Marcus's oh-so-proper taking offense at a standard way to get things done in DC is laughable. The political system in the US was broken by Reagon and the shrubs, so Obama has to work with the system as he finds it.

Posted by: douard1 | July 9, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

They had their own way for eight years, and they almost drove America into the ground. They can't have the keys back!

Posted by: losthorizon10

Cut-n-paste from the DailyKook is so easy, even a PO S liberal can do it.

Another socialist in the Obama camp-who would have thunk it?

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for Muslims"-Barack Hussein Obama

Posted by: cschotta1 | July 9, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Ruth Marcus's recent columns have revealed a conservative shill. Her remarks about Berwick are especially insane. This country cannot operate without heads of departments and she knows full well that the GOP will block anything and anyone who is nominated. Hurrah for interim appointments. I wish Obama would fill all of his vacancies.

Posted by: marlenerose1 | July 9, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Commendations to Ruth.

But you have to look at this in a couple of other ways also.

The precedent of recess appointments have been abused by Republicans and Democrats alike, in much the same manner as Obama may have abused it here. As president, George W. Bush made 171 recess appointments far more then any other President, and Bill Clinton had 139. Obama now has a total of 18 recess appointments. Which does show that he has abused the process far less then any recent President.

But Obama has just given fodder to his enemies. They already paint his administration as radical and now he appoints another apparent radical. He did not do himself a service here.

As MedicalMind posted above "Politicians are merely acting as puppets for the real masters of the game. It wouldn't have mattered if Obama or a republican president were in the White House. It was time to move Berwick. Period." Our government is run by financial interests, not the people. This was a groomed choice the benefits specific financial interets. Just as soes the Financial reform bill. Does anyone find it funny that everytime the Finanial reform bill passed the House and the Senate, Banking stocks increased 3% to 4% while all other stocks went down?

Posted by: thecontributist | July 9, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

This Beltway navel-gazing at its most nauseating. The Senate Republicans have consistently refused to confirm clearly qualified candidates chosen to staff critical federal positions but Obama should have let the process play out while health care costs need to be brought under control to prevent a long term fiscal calamity. Get a real job somewhere else please.

Posted by: theblackhand | July 9, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The Declaration of Independence says that we all have a natural right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". The preamble of the Constitution says, "promote the general Welfare,".

Now you can't live if you die young, you can't pursue anything, much less happiness, if you're too sick, and your welfare is also lacking if you're sick. So by interpretation of those clauses in both the Declaration and the Constitution, the federal government is responsible for providing conditions where the majority of Americans can reasonably obtain a healthcare program.

However, the Declaration also says that "liberty" is an unalienable right, and the preamble of the Constitution also says, "secure the Blessings of Liberty". Neither of which can be acheived when people are forced to participate in, or contribute to, a national healthcare program.

I'll say it again, the government must provide conditions, but you don't have to participate.

This is literally a case of leading a horse to water, but not making him drink. The Obama Healthcare plan is, in the mandatory requirements, and especially the penalty fees, un-Constitutional. And while Donald Berwick is the best candidate for the head of CMS, he does need to be limited from turning the national healthcare plan into a clone of the British or Canadian plans.

You see, while both Britian and Canada have a lot of good things to say about their plans, there is a lot to say about them that is not good. Our weaknesses are their strengths, their weaknesses are our strengths; it's a trade off, and in the end, our system, and theirs, are fundamentally the same, only different in methodology.

What we need to do, is suspend the Obamacare bill, which was put together, and passed precipitously; and take the time necessary to design a program that combines the good parts of our current system, Britain and Canada's systems, while mitigating and minimizing the bad parts of all of them. Personally, I'd give the job of designing it to a combined committee of leaders from physicians, nurses, medical suppliers, insurance, I.T., and patients. Well, maybe not the insurance people, just those who add value to, and consume, healthcare. It's dead certain that political leaders aren't competent to create a program without putting their self-interests first.

Posted by: mhoust | July 9, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Barack Hussein Obama is one step closer to finishing his political grave. Keep digging Obama.YES HE CAN!


"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for Muslims"-Barack Hussein Obama

Posted by: cschotta1 | July 9, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

In a field like medicine, you simply do not do more with fewer resources. Period. Ms. Marcus should know better.

Medicare recepients (I'm one) have every reason to fear this appointment. That is why, as she accurately points out, the President is trying to sneak it in under the radar.

By the same token they should be prepared to pay more--considerably more--for the good standard of care they now enjoy. That is both fair and inevitable if they want to keep it.

Posted by: hambya | July 9, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Dr. Berwick is one of the most trusted and serious truth-tellers in the health sector in this country. Since the GOP hailed "death panels" as their truth about health care -- and allowed the "You lie!" call-out to stand for its position on Obama's approach to HC reform -- why waste time with another PARTY of NO circus performance [i.e.hearings].

I expect few Americans are aware of Berwick's work with the IHI and its broad influence throughout the country on health care quality, safety and patient care. Berwick and the IHI have played a central role in moving HC practice in the USA toward an outcomes and evidence-based focus. By its very nature -- this information resists sound bites -- and so we get "rationing" and "the UK's NHS" as Berwick's bonafides.

The Bolton to Berwick sound-bite comparison reflects Marcus's narrowing political lens. Obama's appointment of Dr. Berwick is quite simply in the best interest of the American people.

Posted by: annmichelegundlach | July 9, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I am surprised by Ms. Marcus' comments on this issue, given her sensible and sober perspectives on many issues in the past. I have worked within the public health field for many years. One of the bright lights in the field has been the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), led by Dr. Berwick. He has consistently focused our attention on improving patient experiences and outcomes, more efficiently allocating resources, lowering the cost of care, and enhancing overall public health. We are a better profession because of his and IHI's work. His nomination by Obama was brillant. Dr. Berwick would lead our country in exactly the direction that everyone in the health care field -- liberal and conservative -- want to go. The claim that Dr. Berwick is for rationing, would undermine care for seniors, etc. (advanced by Republicans who have consistently opposed this administration on health care issues) is a total distortion intended to score short-term political points. Those who don't like the new health care law intended to use this appointment to block implementation of the law and manipulate Democrats facing tough campaigns during the upcoming election cycle. Obama saw this coming and cut it off before it could gain traction. This country needs the approach advocated by Dr. Berwick. The sooner we get on with it the better. I would hope that Ms. Marcus would reconsider her mistaken response to the President's action.

Posted by: hannayjohn | July 9, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Marcus, thank you for a thoughful column. Please look at what Obama has done in just the last few weeks and you will see that he is destroying America. He and the justice department are victimizing the country. We much stop this. Obama must be impeached. The media needs to help!! There could be a Pulitzer Prize for someone.

Posted by: annnort | July 9, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Good job, Mr President.
Would you wait 90 days to get your job interview?

Posted by: tchanta | July 9, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Marcus,

Were you as upset with "the Process" when George W. Bush appointed Jon Leibowitz to the FTC?

Just curious, as I think you know him quite well, since you are married to him.

Posted by: shpilk | July 9, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Did you have the same reservations when Jon Leibowitz was recess appointed by George Bush for the Federal Trade Commission. You know, your husband?


Posted by: graciela661 | July 9, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Ruth,

Are you serious? Surely you know that recess appointments aren't exactly rare. As others have pointed out, Bush had about 170 recess appointments...did a quick Nexis/Lexis search and I failed to see a column of your decrying any of those.

Take for instance, this one: Jon Leibowitz. He was appointed by Bush as a recess appointment to the FEC in 2004. You didn't complain about that appointment, did you, Ruth?

Nope, you didn't -- maybe because Jon Leibowitz is your husband.(http://www.ftc.gov/commissioners/leibowitz/index.shtml)

Seems that this faux-concern over the sanctity of the Senate process really only matters if someone else benefits, eh Ruth?


Posted by: dan_gordon981 | July 9, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The hypocrisy of the right wingers knows no bounds.

GW Bush appointed a whole series of divisive extremists to posts using recess appointments, people whom he couldn't even get all the Republicans to vote for.

Obama is stuck with an entrenched, sick perverted Senate Republican caucus, whose only political action has been to obstruct EVERYTHING, and he appoints a decent neutral person [Marcus even admits she doesn't have a problem with the appointee] and this so-called 'liberal' uses the 'Process' to bash Obama.

Ruth Marcus' HUSBAND was appointed to the FTC GW Bush, using the same recess appointment process she decries.

"Fake liberals" like Ruth Marcus are hypocrites of the highest order, and par for the course at the Washington Post.

Posted by: shpilk | July 9, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Are all the WaPo columnists brain dead . . . or do they just have short term memory problems.

Bush the Idiot appoint Bolton as UN Ambassador after the Senate refused to confirm him.

How about the other 150 - 200 recess appointments that Bush the Idiot did while vacationing in his fake Crawford ranch.

Marcu's column is just blatantly wrong and laughably incorrect.

Posted by: Continuum | July 9, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The Senate is dysfunctional. The smart move is for Presidents of both parties to basically force the Senate to reform itself or risk becoming irrelevant. Presidents already reclassify treaties as trade agreements to avoid ratification gridlock. IMHO President Obama should recess appoint the entire list of positions he needs to fill including filling the huge deficit of Federal judges.

Tell the Senate to get rid of the filibuster or the other branches of government should go around them at every opportunity.

Long term we should be looking at a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Senate entirely.

Posted by: ThatGeek | July 9, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Ms. Marcus might do well to read the paper she writes for!
Ms. Marcus, I draw your attention to a Washington Post article from August 2, 2005, where George W. Bush slapped the face of every American by appointing JOHN BOLTON to US Ambassador to the UN in RECESS APPOINTMENT.
That's right, the same John Bolton who once said That if the U.N. lost ten floors "IT WOULDN'T MAKE A BIT OF DIFFERENCE."
And they pay YOU to expound? For real?

Posted by: batoutofhell | July 9, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

So Ruth let me get this straight. It's Ok for your husband Jon to be appointed to the Federal Trade Commission by Bush in a recess appointment, but it is not OK for Obama to make recess appointments? I'm not sure what your definition of hypocrisy is, but this sure fits mine.

Posted by: stevefox2 | July 9, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

so, i guess she was ok with bush, the never elected scotus appointee warmonger, using a recess to appoint her husband jon leibowitz to the FTC?

Posted by: rowdyruffian | July 9, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Funny, I don't recall the same outrage by your spouse's recess appointment. Oh, I get it. You are doing a Sarah Palin impression.

Posted by: mbrown43 | July 9, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Please point out when you expressed outrage in the WaPo over YOUR HUSBAND obtaining his job via recess appointment during the bush administration.

Posted by: bri_am_i | July 9, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Ms Marcus should have noted that her husband, Jon Leibowitz, was George W. Bush's recess appointment to the Federal Trade Commission, a position he continues to hold. To leave out that information is to throw her entire commentary into question.

Posted by: mitchellowens | July 9, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Never mind.
Roseanne Rozannadanna

Posted by: katdiknsam | July 9, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Ruthie, In case you forgot, George W. Bush recess appointed your husband.

Posted by: dranc62 | July 9, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Marcus-

As has been noted, your own HUSBAND was RECESS APPOINTMENT under the last President.

But your clan is special, right, and above the rules for the rest of us, right?

Posted by: dime_dropper | July 9, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Yes, how cynical of Obama to do recess appointments. And how cynical of George Bush to appoint Jon Leibowitz to the Federal Trade Commission in a recess appointment. Who is Jon Leibowitz you ask? Why he is the husband of the author of this piece, Ruth Marcus. Nice to see that hypocrisy continues to flourish at WP.

Posted by: ciloisin | July 9, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

What about your husband Ruthie? Was that one different somehow?

Posted by: reddbierd | July 9, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

What is the President supposed to do when the GOP is filibustering everybody the president nominates for anything. The use of the recess appointment is not the outrage, particularly when the nominee is not particularly controversial. The outrage is that the GOP is using a procedural move to shut down government and then will use the inability of the Dems to govern as a reason to vote them back in. It is cynical and, quite frankly, unpatriotic. The GOP is knowingly doing harm to the governments ability to function and solve our nations problems because, apparently, a nation in the ditch is good for the GOP.

Posted by: jswallow | July 9, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Gee Ruth how did you feel in 2004 George W Bush appointed your husband, Jon Leibowitz, as a commissioner of the FTC during a - wait for it - RECESS? Did you write an article about that?

And how about that darn President Obama reappointing him? Since he was a sitting commissioner, he didn't have to go through confirmation hearings. I think Obama must have been subverting the Congress by avoiding these hearings. He should have chosen someone new so we could have hearings. What do you think? Oh, that's just fine with you, right?

Posted by: FauxReal | July 9, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Very astute move by Obama. And the right citizen for the job. Well done!

Posted by: Provincial | July 9, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's a Carville/Matalin thing; you know, Ruth's husband accepted his recess appointment from President Bush while she denounced it and told him, "To some degree, you're damaged goods."

Posted by: gjdodger | July 9, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

It's all right for the GOP to make recess appointments/Marcus' family to accept them, but when Obama does so, it's WRONG. This post had been unfilled since 2006 (thank you, George W. Bush). How long do would it have taken this Senate to confirm him? Should the American people be held hostage to gridlock while our Senators express outrage over their stepped-on toes?

And as to (irrelevant) comments about Obama's golfing, check out Bush's record record of vacations away from the White House (and 7-hour workdays). Obama, like his policies or no, is very hard worker.

Posted by: jrc1234 | July 9, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

what we have here is a slimy piece of snake excrement named ruth marcus

I stole this from DailyKOS, to illustrate the snake excrement

==========================================

Bush also used recess appointments to elevate Charles Pickering and William Pryor to federal judgeships and to place Deborah Majoras and Jon Leibowitz on the Federal Trade Commission.

He [Leibowitz] lives in Bethesda with his wife, Ruth Marcus, and his two daughters, Emma and Julia.

=============================

ruth marcus had no problems with george bush making recess appointments

because ruth marcus directly profited from the recess appointment of george bush

now, the snake excrement ruth marcus wants to complain about Obama's recess appointments

that is the sign of a truly despicable person

ruth marcus, LIAR, HYPOCRITE, SNAKE EXCREMENT

ain't nothing lower than ruth marcus

Posted by: nada85484 | July 9, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

So much for Ms. Marcus's truth telling and journalistic integrity"

"Jon Leibowitz was appointed to the Federal Trade Commission by George Bush as a recess appointment.

He [Leibowitz] lives in Bethesda with his wife, Ruth Marcus, and his two daughters, Emma and Julia."

Nothing new here. Both Clinton and Bush used the recess appointment close to 200 times. This is about the Republican abuse of the filibuster.

Posted by: dolgre | July 9, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

So much for Ms. Marcus's truth telling and journalistic integrity"

"Jon Leibowitz was appointed to the Federal Trade Commission by George Bush as a recess appointment.

He [Leibowitz] lives in Bethesda with his wife, Ruth Marcus, and his two daughters, Emma and Julia."

Nothing new here. Both Clinton and Bush used the recess appointment close to 200 times. This is about the Republican's abuse of the filibuster keeping government from being fully functioning--and therefore throwing rail road ties in front of Obama being as successful as possible.

Posted by: dolgre | July 9, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

A cynic might wonder why Ms. Marcus
fails to mention her husband, Jon Leibowitz, was also a recess appointment, by George W. Bush, to the FCC.

Posted by: MikeDayton | July 9, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The husband of Ruth Marcus was appointed to the Federal Trade Commission by George Bush as a recess appointment.

I guess you can keep a paycheck from Fred Hiatt's WhiteWash or you can keep your integrity, but you can't keep both.

Posted by: westofthedc | July 9, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I was hoping to be the first one to comment on Ruth Marcus's husband's recess appointment to the FTC, but alas, quite a number of other people beat me to it.

Posted by: ZaftigAmazon | July 9, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Are all the WaPo columnists brain dead . . . or do they just have short term memory problems.

Bush the Idiot appoint Bolton as UN Ambassador after the Senate refused to confirm him.

How about the other 150 - 200 recess appointments that Bush the Idiot did while vacationing in his fake Crawford ranch.

Marcu's column is just blatantly wrong and laughably incorrect.

Posted by: Continuum

=================================

forget jon bolton and ask about ruth marcus' husband Jon Leibowitz

Jon Leibowitz recieved a recess appointment from george bush

we're talkin DIRECT HYPOCRISY here

and the slimy liar didn't have the guts to admit it in this article

there are not enough names to call somebody that low

hypocrite, liar, excrement

lower than whale sh*t

repuglitarded

CONSERVATIVE

Posted by: nada85484 | July 9, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

But..but...but Ms. Marcus, is not your husband, Jon Liebowitz, a recess appointment of George Bush's to the FTC?

Oh, but he's YOUR HUSBAND, and that makes all the difference. I see.

Nothing like that "librul media" double standard, is there, Ms. Marcus?

Posted by: nicekid | July 9, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Are all the WaPo columnists brain dead . . . or do they just have short term memory problems.

Bush the Idiot appoint Bolton as UN Ambassador after the Senate refused to confirm him.

How about the other 150 - 200 recess appointments that Bush the Idiot did while vacationing in his fake Crawford ranch.

Marcu's column is just blatantly wrong and laughably incorrect.

Posted by: Continuum

=================================

forget jon bolton and ask about ruth marcus' husband Jon Leibowitz

Jon Leibowitz recieved a recess appointment from george bush

we're talkin DIRECT HYPOCRISY here

and the slimy liar didn't have the guts to admit it in this article

there are not enough names to call somebody that low

hypocrite, liar, excrement

lower than whale sh*t

repuglitarded

CONSERVATIVE

Posted by: nada85484 | July 9, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

And may I just say, for the record, Ms. Marcus, that you are just so goshdarn CUTE when you're being a sanctimonious, self-righteous hypocrite.

Posted by: nicekid | July 9, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Well Ms. Marcus are you going to rail against Bush's recess appointment of you husband? You're just a typical Beltway insider who doesn't think the rules apply to you.

As for the rest of the wingnuts who spew their drivel here. It's not Obama destroying this nation. It's people like you wingtards, who, in your never ending quest to shove your Reich wing ideology in everyone's face that's doing more to destroy this nation.

Why don't some of you wingnuts see that some liberals are gnashing their teeth because Obama is a centrist. But of course to right wingers anyone who doesn't goose step with their far right extremism is immediately subject to attack and derision.

Posted by: KenFL | July 9, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

hey Ruth, how'd your husband get his job at the FTC?

recess appointment?

thought so.

Posted by: smallest | July 9, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

So it was OK for Bush to make recess appointments but not Obama?
The GOP posters here really seem like a bunch of hypocrites and do do you Ruth.

Posted by: vintagejulie | July 9, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Ruth's hypocrisy is greater than we know ... Bloomberg News reported that Ruth's husband, Jon Leibowitz, got a recess appointment himself to the FCC by Bush!

Funny how she fails to disclose that ...

Posted by: blondie3 | July 9, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Marcus- your husband was a Bush recess appointee.

Have you recently suffered a head injury? Your recent columns have been really poorly researched and presented.

Posted by: bird52 | July 9, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me Ms. Marcus, but when you say

"And as a matter of good government, the president's move to snub the Senate and install Berwick by recess appointment was outrageous."

I wonder, did you have the same "Matter of good government" "Snub the Senate", and "Outrageous" issue opinions, when President Bush Recess appointed your husband Jon Leibowitz to The Federal Trade Commission? I'm guessing..... No.

**************************************

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aRmnD1Wa8MWw&refer=top_world_news
"Bush also used recess appointments to elevate Charles Pickering and William Pryor to federal judgeships and to place Deborah Majoras and Jon Leibowitz on the Federal Trade Commission."

http://www.ftc.gov/commissioners/leibowitz/index.shtml
Jon Leibowitz: He lives in Bethesda with his wife, Ruth Marcus, and his two daughters, Emma and Julia.

Posted by: TomH7259 | July 9, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

While it is true that Presidents abuse the "recess appointment" process, and the Senate abuses the confirmation process which leads to that point, I think I would be more inclined to listen to Ms. Marcus if it weren't for the fact that HER OWN HUSBAND, Jon Leibowitz, was the receipient of a recess appointment under George W. Bush. Methinks I smell a bit of hypocrisy here.

Posted by: simon92262 | July 9, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

So, you make a conscious decision not to disclose that your own husband was a recess appointment by W? Interesting.

I hear you'll be on ABC's This Week on Sunday. I look forward to Jake Tapper asking you about this. Oh, who the heck am I kidding? We all know that the rules don't apply to the Villagers.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | July 9, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

What Tom H said: Ruth, were you outraged when your husband got a recess appointment? Did you write a column criticizing President Bush?

Posted by: reinan1 | July 9, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow, TOTALLY loving all the fact-back being posted by intelligent readers out there who you obviously don'tunderstand actually exist outside your Beltway Bubble, Ms. Ruth-the-Hypocrite Marcus! Time to be fired! Oh wait--that won't happen cause you're a "Conservative", right? You have special protections in your employment contract at the Washbasin Post.

Posted by: dolgre | July 9, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Marcus's failure to mention her husband's own recess appointment when writing her Republican-massaging post may be the most cynical piece of hypocrisy in Washington Post history. But the way things are going now, I'm sure it will be topped within a week.

Posted by: MoeLarryAndJesus | July 9, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Obviously the conservative commenters have never known anyone who was denied coverage by their insurance company because of costs. Or, God forbid, had it happen to them.

Posted by: MadamDeb
_____________________________

*** And your answer is to appoint a guy who is on record as supporting rationing of healthcare??

Yeah, great solution -- instead of some insurance company denying you coverage, it'll be the government telling you or one of your loved ones that there's no more money to spend, so it'll be a pain pill instead of a pacemaker.

This is like fighting cruelty to animals by putting Michael Vick in charge.

Posted by: UponFurtherReview | July 9, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Wow, looks like somebody in the White House has unleashed a brigade of sock puppets ... all programmed to complain about Marcus' husband.

But really, who gives a rip about Marcus' husband? The recess appointment isn't the point -- it's that Berwick is on record as supporting the rationing of healthcare and the redistribution of wealth.

No wonder the progressives suddenly want to shift the focus to Marcus. Just wait till elderly Americans discover that Palin's "death panels" comment wasn't so far-fetched after all.

Posted by: UponFurtherReview | July 9, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

What a hypocrit neocon Marcus is:

Bush also used recess appointments to elevate Charles Pickering and William Pryor to federal judgeships and to place Deborah Majoras and Jon Leibowitz on the Federal Trade Commission.

Again, my emphasis. Here's why:

He [Leibowitz] lives in Bethesda with his wife, Ruth Marcus, and his two daughters, Emma and Julia.

Posted by: lichtme | July 9, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Liberals (those still addicted to the Kool-aid) really believe they are smarter than the rest of, we, the teeming masses.

They know best how to spend "our" money. They know best how to run "our" health care.
They know best when it is time to raise taxes. They know best that there are times when the constitution needs to be bypassed for the good of the far left liberal cause.

For them, Obama & Co. can do no wrong. "We" are the stupid ones. "We" are the ones needing a nanny state and dependency on the Feds. The kool-aid drinkers believe they (those from Ivy league colleges and those who just think they know better) are going to continue to tell the rest of us how to run our lives. They want the rest of us (the majority) to sit down and shut up.

We won't "go quietly into the night". This is OUR independence day and we will vote en masse Nov. 2010 to vote these demons out of office. Obama will become a lame duck president and his power stripped from his channeling of Hugo Chavez.

Posted by: littleleers | July 9, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Cynical recess appointment? I'd say realistic. You have to be dead or clueless not to realize that the Republicans in the Senate have thrown up continuing roadblocks to an unprecedented number of Obama's appointments and they were very clear about their intention to drag out Berwick's appointment as well.

I no longer believe that most Republican senators have the best interest of the country at heart in their actions. They are doing everything they can to ensure that neither the administration nor the country is able to make any progress, and as a result of that failure, they expect to be welcomed back to power.

Well, Medicare needs leadership today, not in six months. Berwick has demonstrated through his career that health care delivery can be improved and it can be less costly. We need someone with his experience in this post and addressing such a vital national interest shouldn't be subservient to the needs of a obstructionist minority party.

Posted by: mmcgowan1 | July 9, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow, looks like somebody in the White House has unleashed a brigade of sock puppets ... all programmed to complain about Marcus' husband.

But really, who gives a rip about Marcus' husband? The recess appointment isn't the point -- it's that Berwick is on record as supporting the rationing of healthcare and the redistribution of wealth.

No wonder the progressives suddenly want to shift the focus to Marcus. Just wait till elderly Americans discover that Palin's "death panels" comment wasn't so far-fetched after all.

Posted by: UponFurtherReview

yeah, rank hypocrisy doesn't matter, right ???

and no sane person could be upset about the dispicable rank hypocrisy of ruth marcus

so it must be an evil plot by Barack Obama

you just keep telling yourself that

but remember, the fact that YOU lack brains and a moral compas DOES NOT mean that the rest of America is as clueless and morally deficient as YOU are

Posted by: nada85484 | July 9, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

You have to be dead or clueless not to realize that the Republicans in the Senate have thrown up continuing roadblocks to an unprecedented number of Obama's appointments and they were very clear about their intention to drag out Berwick's appointment as well.

===============================

there is a third alternative

maybe ruth marcus isn't clueless or brain dead

maybe ruth marcus lacks a moral compass, and just LIES, and doesn't care that Americans recognize her as a despicable liar

ruth marcus could just be a despicable hypocrite slimeball who is deserving of any type of abuse hell has in store for her

I think it's option C

despicable hairball hypocrite

Posted by: nada85484 | July 9, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Impeachment.
It's not just for sex any more.

Posted by: miriamac2001 | July 10, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a big fan of Obama, all he has done is continue and expand on Bush/Cheney policies. Likewise Democrats are too centrist to be anything but puppets of the right-wing. Take a look at this, it clarifies my point: http://pltcldscsn.blogspot.com/2010/03/obama-on-military-spending.html

Posted by: scottdavene | July 10, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Ruth Marcus is a big fat hypocrite. End of story.

Posted by: moe99 | July 10, 2010 2:07 AM | Report abuse

I don't know for sure if she's fat, but she surely is a big hypocrite. All these inside-the-Beltway pundits think there should be one set of rules for them and their pals, and another set for everyone else. Now if she had disclosed her hubby's recess appointment in her original column, she might deserve a little respect. But no, she got caught hoisting the old double standard.

Posted by: bill0465 | July 10, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Was not your husband a recess appointment to the FTC by Georges Bush? Do you really think, Ruth, that people cannot recognize a double standard when they see it? You are a hypocrite.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | July 10, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

As for your follow-up, Ruthie: That would be fine, if the Republicans were actually participating in the system in good faith. They're not. Their entire agenda is to block Obama appointments, obstruct vital legislation, and hope that the administration's lack of success -- not to mention widespread socioeconomic dislocation -- gets them a few more seats in the next election. If you can't see that, then you're thicker than the trees that your dying newspaper was made from. If you do see it but aren't willing to admit it, then you are what everyone here has been saying -- a sanctimonious hypocrite.

Posted by: dranc62 | July 10, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

This article is full of contradictions.

In her addendum, Ruth clearly contradicts herself. Her husband's nomination is not controversial, however the only holdup was a senator's concern of another nominee with whom Jon's nomination was linked. That sounds controversial. It also sounds contradictory.

As Ruth begins to compare her husband's recess appointment in contrast to Dr.Berwick's appointment stating her husband was provided a a hearing. Dr.Berwick was not provided a hearing. Ruth argues "A recess appointment should be a last step in cases of egregious delay, not one of the first."

Dr.Berwick's nomination was on its first step, Obama publicly nominated Dr.Berwick as the appointee to run the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS). Yet our Congress stalled the nomination.

I love how she impeccably describes the "Party of No" Republicans with such a 12th grade vocabulary - "implacably recalcitrant Senate minority". Doesn't that just roll off the top of your tongue?

However, it was not just the Republicans, but also the Democrats of the House who raised a concern. [http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jul/9/dr-no/].

With just a little research, it was not hard to find that Dr.Berwick is eminently qualified for the position. Dr.Berwick's view in 2008, extracted from his lecture [Health Care Leaders and the “Triple Aim”], is summarized as "Improve the experience of care + raise the level of the health status of the population + control the per capita cost." In 2010, it was no different as seen from the 5 detailed points where Dr.Berwick was listed as being synonymous for 'improved healthcare' in a Newsweek article. [http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/the-human-condition/2010/03/29/five-things-you-should-know-about-donald-berwick-the-new-medicare-medicaid-chief.html]

CMS has been with out a permanent head since 2006. The year now is 2010. Is 4 years not an 'egregious delay'?

As a last step, defined by Ruth, Obama issues a recess appointment.

Ruth completely loses her arguments as she states "the original purpose of recess appointments was to let government function during the long stretches with Congress away", and our government has just done that. Congress is away, our government acted. Both Republican and Democratic parties have issued recess appointments. Recess appointments are nothing new, George W. Bush made 171 recess appointments. Obama has made 18 so far. After defining the original purpose of recess appointments, trying to compare and contrast the Berwick and Leibowitz recess appointments by describing the situations as different becomes useless, much like the point of Ruth's article.

Posted by: MikeAce | July 10, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Ruth,

I thought I'd do an analysis of your comments based on some factual data, downloadable from where the White House lists its nominations and appointments. That site is here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/nominations-and-appointments. My analysis was done with Excel and some sorting.

To wit, there have been 887 nominations. 206 have not been confirmed. That means approximately 23% of the senior administrative posts requiring confirmation remain unfilled. In itself, this statistic is troubling. Berwick's recess appointment from date of nomination is 81 days. This is slightly below the median lag between today, July 10, and the original date of nomination, which stands at 87. (That is, half of the nominations, for which a nomination date was posted, remain unconfirmed 87 days or less; the other half 87 days or more).

More troubling is the average no. days for the 202 unconfirmed nominees (190 of which have nomination dates posted): that average is 189 days (more than half a year). In fact, there are at least 48 unconfirmed nominees whose nomination has marked more than 200 days. 7 of them are more than a year old, including not only headliners like Craig Becker for the NLRB, but positions for Undersecretary of International Trade (446 days!), Assistant Attorney General, Tax (also 446 days), Chief Counsel of Advocacy (397 days), Director of Civil Radioactive Waste Management (383 days).

I could go on and on, but it seems to me that with 20% of the positions unfilled and over half of them dragged beyond 87 days (about three months on average), I'm wondering if Obama shouldn't be conducting more recess appointments.

Let me add that at 146 days your husband would have only ranked 58th on the list. If that is the case, then I'm sure you'll have no objection to Obama, at a minimum, going ahead with 57 recess appointments.

Posted by: bennett_lovett_graff | July 10, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Ruth, an actual journalist would have disclosed the fact that her own husband received a recess appointment right up front, rather than wait to be called out on it by readers. But much like your colleague, Anne Appelbaum, who excoriated the arrest of Roman Polanski without revealing that her husband is a Polish diplomat, you hid this salient fact. Which essentially means that you have no ethics and no standing, and aren't qualified to offer commentary on anything more challenging than "I love Caroline Kennedy! She's America's Fairy Princess," or whatever puerile tripe of that ilk you were trotting out when Ms. Kennedy was being considered as an appointee to Hillary Clinton's New York Senate seat.

As an actual working journalist, let me explain how this works: Every single possible conflict of interest that you may have in relation to a story is spelled out, every single time, for your readers. Otherwise, you're a feckless hack.

Oh wait, you write for WaPo. OF COURSE you're a feckless hack!

But I'm sure you get invited to all those lovely little Villager parties that Ben Bradlee's Official Concubine puts together, which means you're important in your own mind.

Posted by: kerryreid | July 11, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

It is time for the Obama administration to stop pointing fingers. To say Bush used recess appointments is wrong, as it is wrong to use the wrongs/mistakes of another to justify your own. This was denied as a defense during the Nurenberg trials. Time to man up. This is a bogus method to nominate Dr. Berwick. Get ready for rationing.

Posted by: Chalupa1 | July 11, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

How much did IHI get from the VA for their emphasis on pain as a vital sign?

Posted by: Chalupa1 | July 11, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Ruth, you are a hypocrite. Get over it.

Posted by: teresa_mccarthy | July 12, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

its interesting ruth that you were attacked. based on this article. with the argument basically: "well you {bush/other side} did it, so whats wrong with BHO doing it?". sound familiar? yeah, everything in this admin is either:
a) hey bush did it so its ok right? [while at the same time they are saying bush policies were worthless, example: trials of "terrorist" in us courts. "197 'terrorists' were tried under the bush DOJ" of course they never provided these names, but thats beside the point. their argument was bush did it so we can]. and they never address the actual question: is this "right"? and of course in this case what they did was NOT what bush did - it was very different. and baseless
b) or a strawman argument: "if we dont pass my healthcare, then the other side says do nothing and thats unaacpetable" also totally untrue. but they make this one all the time. you disagree so you have NO point to make or your alternative is ignored and dismissed. the MSM of course plays a supporting role in that. poor BHO, the press hate him sooo much. they'll let him make strawman arguments all day without even calling him on it!!

these are totalitarian responses. they are ruthless, and immature. alinskyite. this administration is populated by children. who arent very bright if you boil it down. and they are also dangerous. of course beyond all that they are laughable, comical, 3 stooges comical, and cant shoot straight. the bad news: their statist totalitarians. the good news: they're too arrogant and stupid to pull it off properly. cant wait for the tell all boooks to start. assuming when the purges start in dec 2010/Jan 2011, we'll start hearing about some...cant wait. too funny.

Posted by: fred1962 | July 12, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company