Water Is Wet, Night Is Dark, Fire Is Hot, Ice Is Cold and the New York Times Is Filled With Hypocrites
As a blogospheric old-timer, I fondly recall the days when Smartertimes took the New York Times to task for its bias and its many journalistic missteps, and I was sorry when the site ceased publication back in 2002. But now, it has returned, which makes me very happy. After all, Damon Root could use some publicity for his entirely justified critique of the Times regarding its hypocrisy on recess appointments:
In January 2006, The New York Times published an unsigned editorial attacking “the grandiose vision of executive power” displayed by President George W. Bush, who was then battling Senate Democrats over the fate of several controversial nominees to federal office. “Seizing the opportunity presented by the Congressional holiday break, Mr. Bush announced 17 recess appointments—a constitutional gimmick,” announced the Times.
In response to Bush’s use of the recess appointment power to bypass the Senate confirmation process, Senate Democrats in late 2007 adopted a new defensive posture. A member would gavel the Senate into pro forma session every few days in order to prevent it from going into recess over the holidays, thereby denying the president the legal ability to make any more recess appointments. It did the trick. As Times reporter Charlie Savage put it, “Senate Democrats repeated the move during breaks for the rest of Mr. Bush’s presidency, and Mr. Bush did not try to make any further recess appointments.”
Like George W. Bush before him, President Barack Obama has also invoked the recess appointment power under dubious circumstances. But unlike Bush, Obama decided to bulldoze right over the inconvenient fact that the Senate was conducting a pro forma session at the time. On January 4, 2012, Obama made four purported recess appointments when the Senate was not actually in recess, including the addition of three members to the National Labor Relations Board.
That unprecedented unilateral action triggered last Friday’s sharp ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which found Obama’s three NLRB appointments to be in violation of the Constitution. Obama’s tactics, said the D.C. Circuit, “would demolish the checks and balances inherent in the advice-and-consent requirement, giving the President free rein to appoint his desired nominees at any time he pleases, whether that time be a weekend, lunch, or even when the Senate is in session and he is merely displeased with its inaction. This cannot be the law.”
So how did the editorial board of The New York Times respond to this decision? Given the paper’s previous stance in opposition to Bush’s recess appointments and “the grandiose vision of executive power” they embodied, you might expect the Gray Lady to cheer a judicial rebuke of Obama’s even greater abuse of that same executive power. But you would be wrong.
In an unsigned editorial titled “A Court Upholds Republican Chicanery,” the Times blasted the D.C. Circuit for placing limits on Obama’s authority. “With no sign that Republicans are willing to let up on their machinations, Mr. Obama was entirely justified in using his executive power to keep federal agencies operating,” the editorial declared.
So much for taking a principled stand against executive overreach.
Readers won’t be surprised at all to find out that Jeffrey Toobin is also exposed as a hypocrite. Maybe someone should set up SmarterToobin.com so that there will be some pushback every time Toobin decides to inflict his opinions on the rest of the planet.