“As I plan to inform the White House”
DDay already noted Peter Diamond’s op-ed withdrawing his nomination as a Fed Governor. But I wanted to emphasize one thing:
It is time for me to withdraw, as I plan to inform the White House.
It appears that this very public complaint was how Diamond informed the White House he was withdrawing–not a discrete phone call.
That’s not the normal way nominees handle communications with the White House.
To be fair, Diamond focuses all of his criticism in the op-ed on the Republicans who believe a Nobel prize winner is unqualified to serve on the Fed. The op-ed itself does not criticize the White House’s handing of the nomination.
But if it’s true that this was Diamond’s way of informing the White House, then it suggests he’s pretty damned pissed at the White House as well. As well he should be–he got the same treatment Dawn Johnsen and Goodwin Liu did, with repeated renominations but no public fight (or recess appointment).
That club of good nominees hung out to dry by this White House is growing longer.
Sign on Fed Govt doors: Competent people need not apply.
Sign on economy: unemployed need not apply
Sign on Congress: non-crazies may not enter
Ya know, I like blaming Republicans. It’s fun to blame Republicans. Can’t get a bill passed? Can’t get someone confirmed? Can’t close Gitmo? Can’t get out of Afgahnistan? Can’t get out of Iraq? Can’t get into Libya? Can’t raise the debt limit? It’s all the republicans fault!
So Obama ISN’T an incompetent, it’s just that the GOPers are such clever and skillful politicians.
Boxturtle (Need a bandaid, my tongue just poked a hole in my cheek)
Every arm wrestle at the law making table is won by the republicans. The Dems might as well wear signs. “Don’t bother. I’m not even in feather weight class.”
Shelby, of all people should not be telling anyone they are not competent or eligible to hold office!
Geez! How I wish his real incompetence were on display. You’d think he would be a little more sublime.
He went directly from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Boxturtle (Some professional comedians go their entire lives without getting a setup like that)
But, But look at the lefties he forced on the supreme court,the man’s a genius, a genius for picking two to counter alito and roberts and forcing a republican congress to accept them. How shifty are they to vote against the constitution and for a police state.
I expect nothing from this crew except expecting nothing.
Well, there’s the problem!
He actually believes those calling the shots want “to make government more effective and efficient.”
Since they obviously don’t, what on earth would they do with someone who has proven he possesses the “analytical expertise” to “accomplish this”?
Obama is walking on eggshells afraid that any action he takes may ruin his almost certain second term.
Great political strategy but an absolute tragedy for our country and the rule of law.
He is leaving a ready made police state for the next president inclined to use the tools he has left at their disposal.
Excellent point. Diamond publicized his withdrawal as he announced it, which is a far cry from how insiders typically manage the networks that keep them insiders. It is Mr. Diamond’s statement that he is withdrawing from that status, at least on this issue and for now – which may well mean permanently. It is what I had hoped Dawn Johnsen would do, too. Ms. Warren is surprising everyone: she hasn’t done this and has avoided needing to do so, having avoided the fate of both Diamond and Johnsen.
It is coded, but a strong signal nevertheless that Mr. Diamond is as made at this White House as he is at Republicans. More, please.
Ah, the field tonight is strewn with typos. EOH, I think you meant “mad”– but maybe…?
Bob in AZ
Apropos of ondelette’s concern, I am wary of blaming the “system” when a failure can more prosaically be attributed to named individuals. Running herd on the approval process required to obtain the Senate’s advice and consent for hundreds of executive branch appointments is as plain vanilla a management responsibility as the president has. This president has abandoned it to suit his own purposes. Whatever those are, he has decided to let drift the agencies and functions requiring leadership subject to Senate approval.
That the GOP ruthlessly obstructs is not sufficient rationale for that abandonment. More likely, it is another example of Mr. Obama’s penchant for pre-emptive concessions to the PTB. He favors a Rovian redefining of his job to a small Bushian set of accomplishments. It is so narrow a redefining of the president’s job that even David Brooks could fulfill it.
And we thought Mr. CheneyBush’s DoD was arrogant and foolish for purposely not hiring those who spoke Arabic and understood the Middle East in which they were determined to make endless war. Mr. Obama seems committed to extending and making that template permanent, too, across government.
Discreetly separate the guests who fail to use discretion in their dinner-table conversation. My reminder is that the word for separate separates the two “e’s”, whereas the word suggesting understated, judicious or respecting of privacy combines them. The task is made harder by the noun, discretion, which drops the second “e” altogether.
I’m finding the Obama blame in this a bit specious. He nominated Peter Diamond 3 times, as Diamond starts his piece by saying. The Republicans have everything to lose ideologically from his nomination. It’s just too much of a stretch to believe that the White House has a reason to not want this nomination and deserves another bash.
I think, in addition to Peter Diamond being competent to do monetary policy, he’s probably competent to determine who is to blame for keeping him from serving on the Fed.
Why is it specious? What has the WH done to get the nominee confirmed?
Precisely. The Obama White House fully understands the difference between the PR merits of a nomination and the costs to it of actually using political capital to make a nomination successful, and integrating or living with that appointee’s priorities and management style.
If it makes a nomination, even repeatedly, but fails to fight for actual appointment, it wants only the former, not the latter. Dawn Johnsen is an example of that cynicism, which concedes nothing to Karl Rove.
Nominated them. What did you do?
How silly. The DC-Senate-White House process for identifying and vetting potential candidates, for turning nominees into confirmed appointees and managers is well known. Isolating the act of “nomination” from the whole process is like focusing on the steak on your plate without asking how it got there, whether you can pay for and enjoy it, or what happens after you eat it.
Putting a steak on the table might work wonders for entertaining would be diners. It doesn’t turn them into satisfied eaters any more than nominating someone the base might want without fighting to turn them into appointed executives who get the job done.
Not eating steak, or any other form of beef, I wouldn’t know ;-), but what I meant is that the Senate advice and consent process is normally one in which that consent is given fairly effortlessly for a candidate with credentials such as those presented by Peter Diamond. Normally, there is little problem with a simple majority. Normally there is little else to do once the candidate (granted the candidate is vetted and sponsored and all the rest) is presented for such advice and consent. Normally that candidate doesn’t face cloture votes, filibusters, and normally there isn’t a question of competency about a Nobel laureate.
So I meant what I said. The problem wasn’t with the branch which nominated him, he didn’t think so, and it’s a little weird for others to. It’s become a little too fashionable to heap the blame at one end of Pennsylvania Avenue regardless of what has happened. Perhaps that makes it easier to be unthinking in one’s cynicism, but it doesn’t accurately portray how far from normal Washington politics is currently tracking. Peter Diamond’s Op-Ed did a good job of portraying the latter, and correctly assessed who was doing the far from normal behavior.
You are exactly right:
There is simply a tremendous amount of work and support that goes into actually getting your high grade nominees confirmed. Other than on the two SCOTUS confirms, the Obama crew is ridiculously uninvolved in this regard and apparently unmotivated or concerned to so be involved. It shows. It is a record that should, and I think absolutely will, make any halfway progressive potential nominee question whether even getting involved with this bunch is worth it. There are a litany of fine individuals, the most recent of which is Mr. Diamond, that might privately confirm this fear to them.
I don’t consider eating or not eating meat to have moral value, so such comments are lost on me.
You write as if the Senate and executive branch were not part of the same Washington, as if regarding the appointment process their work and roles were unrelated. That’s demonstrably untrue.
Yes, the Senate seems irretrievably broken. That was true for the last president, but he managed to install some of the most conservative federal appointments in history, including some of the least experienced and most undeserving of such appointment ever – eg, Brett Kavanagh’s appointment to the DC Circuit, the attempted appointment of Tim Griffin as a USA.
Cheney and Bush worked that process relentlessly; it was one of their highest priorities. They courted and overcame objections like they were trimming weeds. Mr. Obama seems to treat completing the appointment process – networking to obtain the required Senate votes – as he treats every other political act that requires controversy or inherently involves irritating his opponents, who, by definition, oppose what he stands for. He avoids it and, hence, leaves the work undone.
Really? The Democrats filibustered and clotured every appointment? Get off it. That isn’t even close to true.
Oh, no, the Democrats offered fitful opposition. But get off the notion that Mr. Obama has done a competent job managing the appointment process; he never has, not even when his party had more votes in the Senate.
Mr. Cheney had a firm grip on that process starting weeks before he and Shrub returned to Washington and never let go. Mr. Obama made no effort to place that vitally important function within his own grasp.
He chose early not to fight that fight. He made the unusual decision not to replace his USA’s. He has made few nominations to a dangerously empty federal bench. His political appointees for executive branch agencies have been sparse, too, with many beyond Dawn Johnsen and Peter Diamond left swinging in the wind.
Goopers in the Senate have, indeed, been unprecedented in their opposition to Democratic appointments. It seems to be part of their across the board strategy to ensure that Obama’s administration would never get off the ground or achieve any success whatever. They are willing to let us all suffer in order to garner more political power. But in Mr. Obama’s unwillingness to fight, they saw an easy opportunity to dominate him and it continues to work.
Instead of pointing out that “Damn the government and everyone that depends on it” attitude to a citizenry that needs to hear that’s what’s happening, Mr. Obama asks the Goopers what they want. Unsurprisingly, they keep upping the ante as soon as he gives them what they ask for. Why should they agreeably compromise when being shits is so much more productive?
But then again, why bother putting much effort into battling with them when your “base” if that’s the term for someone who never supported you because it was more fun to be a permanent critic, is going to work just as hard as your opposition to unseat you in the next election?
My only point is that if the buck shot is going to fly in the same direction no matter what the news is, what’s the point? That was also a point of Diamond at the end of his piece, when he was talking about how real reform in Washington required doing the necessary changes, not either or all the time. But who cares? Permanent Obama bashing is much more word-productive in a much shorter time. And far less taxing on the brain cells.
I saw a guy give a talk the other day who I was convinced several months ago was a hopeless case on detainee treatment. Turned out he actually is just somebody who has boxed himself into a hopeless box, but was once a brilliant thinker. I was wrong, I guess. But nobody is going to believe that who doesn’t see him speak several times and watch his mannerisms and hear what others say about him. So his fate is hopeless case. Does it matter? Probably, if you want a way out of the detainee treatment mess. But not if you’re into righteous indignation.
This whole thing just looks like pounding carpet tacks with sledge hammers.
Obama can inspire so much loyalty (snark)
“We’d love to have you on board. But to win the nomination, you’ll be on your own against a bunch of crazies. Don’t look at me like that: I don’t do support for nominees; ain’t got the time, nor do I care to pick a fight against bullies.”
Note that this Obama attitude prevails only with strong progressives nominees or those with stellar credentials. The industry sell outs, the bankster-approved, GOP-lite nominees never have a problem getting all the support they need, and then some. (Think Ben Bernanke for instance)
This nation could use a whole lot more separation-of-powers-driven “pot shots” – even if occasionally undeserved – criticizing Presidents who have been openly abusing the power of their office, in lieu of the constant carpet-bombing by Party-driven “pot shots” targeting generalized “Republicans” or “Tea-GOP” or “Democrats,” or “liberals,” or on and on and on, to sickening excess…
But that aside – ondelette, I hope that, in drawing your conclusions about who’s to blame for causing Peter Diamond’s withdrawal, you have correctly taken into account which Party in the Senate arranges for “cloture” votes – which is an optional supermajority vote that (never mind the simple-majority vote to which Diamond was entitled) the majority Democratic Party (and only 16 members thereof) did not see fit, for an entire year, to give Diamond before his (dignified and helpfully-detailed) public withdrawal. We shouldn’t let either Party use their well-worn lies about misunderstood Senate process to mislead either nominees or the general public (the media’s evidently a lost cause, until Senators themselves start publicly countering the lies).
So, no, the Democrats did not, and could not have “clotured” nominees when Republicans held the majority in the Senate, unless and until 16 Republicans first voluntarily filed a cloture motion in an effort to replace the democratic, simple-majority default order of the Senate with Rule 22’s optional supermajority cloture order.
Likewise, the Republicans cannot “cloture” nominees now, unless and until 16 Democrats first voluntarily file a cloture motion to attempt to replace the democratic, simple-majority default rules of the Senate with Rule 22’s optional supermajority cloture rules.
And it’s the Senate Majority Leader (with the collusion of both Party caucuses) who is now routinely blocking simple-majority default order in the Senate by imposing on the Senate the “quorum call” that doesn’t call the quorum. That fake “quorum call” prevents the Presiding Officer from putting the pending question (such as a Diamond nomination) to a simple-majority vote of the Senate – which he is required to do, unless someone takes the floor to debate (to “filibuster,” if done for purposes of extended, obstructive debate). Thus the Presiding Officer cannot act, so long as the Majority Leader’s fake quorum call is blocking all Senate floor business, and therefore the Presiding Officer cannot put the question to a vote (while the Parties instead spend their time trying to cut “unanimous consent” deals with each other in the back rooms to conduct some limited Senate floor business with preordained outcomes – which, obviously, allows one Senator to privately “object,” and thereby prevent action, so long as the fake quorum call remains in place).
Since no one has actually filibustered (practiced obstructive public floor debate) in the Senate in almost two decades, and the majority Party schedules cloture votes (for example, the Democrats filed a cloture motion a week ago to force a supermajority cloture vote on the Solicitor General nomination, before the Senate unanimously agreed at the last minute to skip today’s scheduled cloture vote, and instead voted to confirm Donald Verrilli Jr., 72-16), the easy, painless “blocking” of nominees is entirely the result of the Party practice of preventing default, simple-majority regular order from being openly conducted and maintained on the Senate floor – through imposition of the fake quorum call, which may be lifted at any time by one man: Harry Reid, pal of the President and all-around authoritarian backroom water-carrier for the current White House.
Well, that is the kind of amazing thing about Goodwin Liu. There had been, from what I understand, no real work prepping or whipping beforehand on the cloture vote by either the WH or SJC and then – poof – Reid files for cloture out of nowhere. And they embarrassed themselves and their nominee. That is not how you do it. On most of the nominees that simply die at the end of sessions or over long breaks there is never even any attempt to file for cloture. I do not know exactly what is going on between the WH and Senate leadership on cloture votes, whether they get at loggerheads with each other or are agreeing to not move people, but it is a dysfunctional relationship one way or another on a troubling number of nominees. It is simply not all GOP obstruction; that much is obvious. Not saying it might not be if things competently got to that point to where that could or would be the case, but there are a lot of questions well before that. It is curious.
And pray tell why are the clotures being invoked? Is it or is it not because a filibuster is being promised, and the cloture is being invoked to prevent it?
I have no illusions that Harry Reid is inept and more than a little working against the interests of his own party, in that he should just call the bluff and let the filibusters proceed. But it’s a bit of a distortion to describe the process as if the clotures are being called without any reason for doing so and pretending that filibusters have nothing to do with it.
Either way, both are the work of the Senate, not the Executive. As I said before, President’s party or no, it’s not fair to uniformly blame all business in Washington you don’t like on the office of the Presidency. More than it being not fair, it isn’t accurate.
Of course, if “the clotures” were routinely being “invoked,” there wouldn’t be a problem (the nominees would be receiving 60 votes, and moving on to simple-majority confirmation, without a problem). But I assume that you meant “why are the supermajority cloture motions being filed by the Democrats?”
This is why (and it’s key to understanding how things are operating these days in the Senate):
In other words, both Parties are desperate to avoid public debate and legislating, and their means for avoiding that is the fake quorum call – which may only be lifted (since it never comes to an end on its own) by unanimous consent, or by the Senate Majority Leader. Absent regular, default Senate debating order and floor procedure (in other words, with the fake quorum call imposed), there is no way to hold any vote on the Senate floor without either a unanimous consent agreement, or the filing of a cloture motion to schedule a supermajority cloture vote.
We obviously cannot know if Republicans (or Democrats) are threatening a filibuster behind the scenes. But that’s an academic question so long as the Parties themselves have colluded to suspend Senate floor business, absent unanimous consent to proceed on certain measures – which, in the process, permits a mere backroom “objection” from any Senator (for any, every, or no, reason) to do the deed of stopping a nomination vote in its tracks. At least until the fake quorum call is lifted, or the majority Party files a cloture motion to force a supermajority vote through its voluntarily-imposed quorum-call blockade around the Senate floor.
So while the optional, supermajority Rule 22 cloture motion was originally designed and intended (in 1917) to be used, when necessary, only during an actual, ongoing floor debate filibuster, it’s now routinely deployed instead, in the absence of floor debate, simply to force a (supermajority) floor vote, without the need to lift the fake quorum call that blocks the (simple-majority) Senate from being a Senate of independent actors, rather than Party pawns. [Using cloture “to prevent” a merely-threatened filibuster is an appalling reason to impose routine supermajority rule on the Senate – especially considering that the last real filibuster took place almost twenty years ago, and the longest one-man filibuster in Senate history lasted 24 hours (even as Rule 22’s cloture delays can add up to days or weeks of delay, without debate, as the second link in my comment @ 25 indicates).]
In large part because of this backroom, Party-controlled manner of operating the Senate today, none of us know the real story about the forces who may have been pushing or pulling, or ignoring, the Diamond nomination. But bmaz describes the evident dynamic very well @ 26.
Since my comments routinely focus on, and criticize, the Congress, but rarely mention the President, all I’ll say about your solicitous defense of our latest imperious President is that I’m sure he can take care of himself – with the help of the American media and an obediently-supine Party, he’s usurped as much Legislative Branch power as he can find to lay his hands on; if he can’t take the heat – legitimate or otherwise – that comes with his chosen role of Chief Backroom Legislator, he should get out of the kitchen.
I’m well aware of the fact that you comment on the Congress, I’m just trying to warn against two things: 1) what I see as an increasingly easy slip into considering anything in Washington that isn’t right as something for which Obama is to blame, which parallels the facile view that anything not right in the world is somehow the fault of an imperial U.S. foreign policy, and, 2) a country that seems to be adjusting, after years of battering, to the view that it is somehow okay, even right, that the Republican party should control the government whether they are in the majority or the minority, and that their policies are ‘right’ and other policies are deviant.
When their opposition begins to think that the fault for not adopting non-Republican policies during what should be a period of non-Republican rule has nothing to do with the Republicans, the work of those who have sought to delegitimize any rule but Republican rule is essentially complete.
I started on this beat in relation to the Dawn Johnsen period. I am as close to positive as I can humanly be that there were 60 votes for her passing the artificial cloture threshold to get a floor vote during most, if not all, of the time she was pending. She had strong support from Dem SJC leadership – but Reid never so much as filed for cloture. Now if the WH had wanted Reid to file on one of its high grade nominees, it damn well would have been filed. But it was not. That seems to be a disturbing trend with a lot of what can easily be termed “progressive nominees”. Diamond is just the latest. Here is an article from today’s NYT; obviously you have to take a report like this at face value as to the component parts and what is valid and what is BS filler, but the dysfunction just oozes from the seams when you read it with an educated eye:
Again, the one exception so far has been Liu; I am pretty much convinced the strange WH/Reid cabal just decided to burn Liu in effigy to be able to point to as support for their little schticht they have been running (of which you described the nitty gritty procedural background on wonderfully).
PeasantParty @ 3,
We can hope for sublime, but I think you meant subtle.
But BoxTurtle beat me to the punch.
Bob in AZ
Other than on the two SCOTUS confirms, the Obama crew is ridiculously uninvolved in this regard and apparently unmotivated or concerned to so be involved. It shows.
Well said. However let’s go deeper as Marcy suggested. Why are they so uninvolved? No one would argue they’re stupid. But it’s also wrong to argue that they’re weak or lacking in fight.
The question is whether Obama is the fox in sheep’s clothing; a traitor to the hopes and needs of his base. Is he the worst kind of Reagan Democrat, in fact the secret leader of the Tea Party?
Take a look at Binyamin Applebaum’s follow up article in the NYT (6.7.11.
Frustration Grows as Nominee for the Fed Withdraws
By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM
WASHINGTON — The decision by a noted economist Monday to end a 14-month wait for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors is renewing concerns among some Democrats about the fighting spirit of the Obama administration.
There’s some really good quotes in Appelman’s article which between the lines the Democrats are basically saying: there’s something deeply wrong here.
But let’s go onto the list the Times offers of the unfilled and unnominated positions that Obama has xchosen to leave open.
The withdrawal leaves two empty seats on the Fed’s seven-member board, which, along with selected presidents of the Fed’s regional banks, sets monetary policy. The position of vice chairman for supervision, created last year as a top bank regulatory post, also is vacant.
President Obama has not nominated a head for the Office of Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees national banks, or a new chairman for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures bank deposits and cleans up failed banks. There is no nominee to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
What can we conclude? If it was Bush-Cheney we’d simply say: they’re anti regulation. But with Bush-Cheney they’d appoint the people who would embody their views.
Since Obama would have political difficulty nominating such people, he chooses the next best option: nominate no one.
He would not have any difficulty at all in nominating them. There might be some difficulty in confirming them, but that kind of depends on putting the effort in, which is almost universally agreed at this point he just doesn’t do (at least not often). There is STILL substantial political value in making the nominations and legitimately trying to confirm though. Even if most fail, some get through and you make a record on the rest. Obama has refused to do this competently.