Beltway Republicans are all aflutter at the President's (Constitutionally permitted) recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick as the chief of the nation's Medicare and Medicaid programs. Let's get the easy part out of the way first--Berwick is a serious lefty, a huge fan of single-payer socialized medicine and an unabashed believer in the re-distribution of wealth.
That the President chose to make a recess appointment is not notable; George Bush did plenty of it, and Democrats whined too. A pox upon both parties in this case--the Senate rules permit all sorts of chicanery when it comes to nominations and keeping them from coming up for votes. Until the Senate reforms itself, we'll have recess appointments, we'll have whining folks on the other side, and we'll have Presidents who say that they needed their person in place.
But the interesting thing in this case--brought to my attention by the redoubtable Goldwater's Ghost--is that there never was a hearing scheduled for Dr. Berwick--at any point. Seems Dems didn't want to bring the good doctor before Senate inquisitors so that he could be roundly torn apart by some Republicans looking to make health care into a mega issue for the 2010 Congressional election. So the Obama Administration's blaming of the recess appointment on recalcitrant Republicans rings hollow in the face of there having been no real evidence that Republicans were behind any delay in his confirmation.
The most transparent administration ever? Yes. They are transparent. One can see right through them.