Until five weeks ago, I literally never heard anyone claim -- in either party -- that it was irrelevant who the President appointed to his Cabinet and other high-level positions. I never heard anyone depict people like the Defense Secretary and CIA Director as nothing more than impotent little functionaries -- the equivalent of entry-level clerical workers -- who exert no power and do nothing other than obediently carry out the President's orders.
In fact, I seem to recall pretty vividly all sorts of confirmation fights led by Democrats over the last eight years (John Aschroft, John Bolton, Alberto Gonzales, Michael Hayden, Steven Bradbury) -- to say nothing of the efforts to force the resignation or dismissal of people such as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Gonzales -- that was based on exactly the opposite premise: namely, that it does matter who is empowered to lead these agencies and departments, and specifically, that their ideology not only matters, but can, by itself, warrant rejection. Nobody ever claimed that Ashcroft, Bolton or Hayden were "unqualified." It was their beliefs and ideology that rendered them unfit for those positions, argued Democrats.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Gen. Hayden and the claimed irrelevance of presidential appointments
Gen. Hayden and the claimed irrelevance of presidential appointments by Glenn Greenwald on salon.com