Benjy Sarlin Makes It Too Easy

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 16 2010 10:01 AM

Benjy Sarlin Makes It Too Easy

Yesterday the Daily Beast political reporter tweeted :


Answer: Yes. Michelle Malkin welcomes the news that Elizabeth Warren is coming in as Assistant to the President & Special Adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with the headline "Another day, another Obama czar."

"Special adviser" is the new czar. Facing stiff opposition and pointed questions about the left-wing, anti-business advocate that he wanted to nominate as chairman of the new federal consumer financial protection bureau, President Obama once again circumvented the Senate’ constitutional advice and consent role and installed Elizabeth Warren with a wave of his hand.

And so on. The Great Czar Panic of 2009 was one of the first freak-outs that really surprised the Democrats. Until Obama's presidency, it really never seemed like an issue that presidents would try and speed up projects by appointing special advisers instead of going through Senate confirmations. One reason: the confirmation process is completely broken. Senators can put holds on nominees for any reason, and some of the important reasons they've done so include disagreements over online gambling and the fate of flavored cigarette imports. Another reason: the White House isn't as quick on the draw about appointments as it could be, and I'm thinking of Fed board nominees here. But the big reason is the implosion of the Senate process. Nominees with majority support, even overwhelming support, can be held up for a year because of one senator's pique. Administrations, realizing that, look for ways to bypass the swamp. And when Obama's done it, it's become a key component in the Grand Unified Conservative Theory of his power-madness.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

How Movies Like Contagion and Outbreak Distort Our Response to Real Epidemics

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 23 2014 10:30 AM Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 8:51 AM The Male-Dominated Culture of Business in Tech Is Not Great for Women
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 9:00 AM Exclusive Premiere: Key & Peele Imagines the Dark Side of the Make-A-Wish Program
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.