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Thread: Byrd: Obama in power grab

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    Byrd: Obama in power grab

    Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest serving Democratic senator, is criticizing President Obama’s appointment of White House “czars” to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch.

    In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd complained about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.”

    While it's rare for Byrd to criticize a president in his own party, Byrd is a stern constitutional scholar who has always stood up for the legislative branch in its role in checking the power of the White House. Byrd no longer holds the powerful Appropriations chairmanship, so his criticism does not carry as much weight these days. Byrd repeatedly clashed with the Bush administration over executive power, and it appears that he's not limiting his criticism to Republican administrations/.
    Byrd: Obama in power grab - John Bresnahan - POLITICO.com

    While not a fan of Sen. Byrd, I do find he has some compelling reasoning here.
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    Re: Byrd: Obama in power grab

    Good on Byrd here for remaining consistant. Lots of respect for that

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    Re: Byrd: Obama in power grab

    It will be interesting to see how Obama responds to this....

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    Re: Byrd: Obama in power grab

    Quote Originally Posted by MrVicchio View Post
    Byrd: Obama in power grab - John Bresnahan - POLITICO.com

    While not a fan of Sen. Byrd, I do find he has some compelling reasoning here.
    Byrd does have moments where he finds a nut.

    It's usually in areas like this. Reducing the power of Congress will catch his attention. The misuse of the courts and other party building schemes he could care less about.
    Last edited by zimmer; 02-25-09 at 02:15 PM.
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    Re: Byrd: Obama in power grab

    Obama is essentially doing what the vast majority of Presidents have been doing for the past several decades, on both sides of the isle: inflating the power of the President.

    Congress, as a legislative body, is essentially doing what the vast majority of Congresses have been doing for the past several decades, on both sides of the isle: allowing him to do so.

    Congress, as a legislative body, loves a powerful Presidency, because they can hand off all sorts of authority over domestic policy (which was originally the exclusive pervue of Congress) and say they're trying to solve the problem, then blame the President when the problem is not solved.

    In other words, powerful Presidencies allow Congressional incumbents to have their political cake and eat it to when it comes time to run for reelection.
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    Re: Byrd: Obama in power grab

    In other words, powerful Presidencies allow Congressional incumbents to have their political cake and eat it to when it comes time to run for reelection.
    Yeah I agree. The Legislative branch sucks. Outside of about 3, all 535 are money-sucking scum. Doesn't even matter which party controls the congress, you know they're going to spend huge amounts of money and blame everything they don't accomplish on the President (while accomplishing very little).

    The Legislative branch is worthless, a sham to preserve the 'look' of a republic. Without a Prez who can whip them into line nothing happens.
    Last edited by Joby; 02-25-09 at 02:41 PM.
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    Re: Byrd: Obama in power grab

    There is so much that could be done with this Byrd-Obama thing, it's just too funny.
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    Re: Byrd: Obama in power grab

    He has a point, but I think he's a bit off base. Here is the meat of his argument

    “As presidential assistants and advisers, these White House staffers are not accountable for their actions to the Congress, to cabinet officials, and to virtually anyone but the president,” Byrd wrote. “They rarely testify before congressional committees, and often shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege. In too many instances, White House staff have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability.”
    I agree that there is the potential to use such positions along with claims of executive privledge to get around some of the checks and balances and watchdog policies that are in place, but I don't think that is Obama's purpose in appointing the czars (btw who else is getting sick of that word?). Unless he starts to abuse the positions, however, I don't have a problem with Obama appointing dedicated advisors to whitehouse positions

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    Re: Byrd: Obama in power grab

    Quote Originally Posted by Joby View Post
    Yeah I agree. The Legislative branch sucks. Outside of about 3, all 535 are money-sucking scum. Doesn't even matter which party controls the congress, you know they're going to spend huge amounts of money and blame everything they don't accomplish on the President (while accomplishing very little).
    Personally I think this is the natural result of a legislative branch whose members represent more and more people each election without any change in the number of total members.

    The more eyes you need to reach in winning or retaining office, the more money you need. The more voices you have to represent, the less capable you are of representing them all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joby View Post
    The Legislative branch is worthless, a sham to preserve the 'look' of a republic. Without a Prez who can whip them into line nothing happens.
    I happen to think it should be the other way around -- Congress should be the body which sets domestic policy and goals, and the President should be there mainly as a check to their power.
    I'm already gearing up for Finger Vote 2014.

    Just for reference, means my post was a giant steaming pile of sarcasm.

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    Re: Byrd: Obama in power grab

    Byrd hardly ever speaks out against Democrats, but Byrd is also a constitutional scholar who knows what he is talking about. From what I am seeing, Bush's "unitary president" push was bad enough, but Obama seems to be taking it to new levels. And that could be very well unconstitutional.

    Will Republicans look like hypocrites in bashing Obama for what he is doing?

    Will Democrats look like hypocrites for defending what Obama is doing?

    And how about the Constitution? Is it becoming a "quaint" document now, with less and less attention paid to the rule of law in America than ever before? Stay tuned.

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