“Bipartisan” doesn’t make S.679 right, just a two-partied wrong

Posted on May 9, 2011


Response from Tennessee’s U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander on S.679 not encouraging

On April 29, I sent the following letter of concern and disapproval to my U.S. Senator, Lamar Alexander (Read here…) over his co-sponsoring of Senate bill S.679, or “The Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011.”

If you haven’t heard of this insidious side-stepping of procedure, one which would grant the president even greater unchecked power by removing Senate approval from more than 200 appointed posts, you can find it here ->> S.679 at http://www.OpenCongress.org.

I was stunned to find an alleged Tennessee Republican senator would co-sponsor this bill, but even more so by his response to my letter, posted below.


Reply from Sen. Lamar Alexander, on S.679 (Bold emphasis mine…) :

May 2, 2011

Thanks very much for getting in touch with me and letting me know what’s on your mind regarding the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011.

This bipartisan legislation which I have cosponsored would eliminate the need for the Senate to vote on roughly 210 full and part-time junior-level executive nominations. These positions are part-time advisory board or commission positions, or full-time positions that are not involved in policy making or already report to multiple senior-level Senate-confirmed officials.

This legislation would free up the Senate so that it can focus on our country’s most urgent needs of reducing spending and debt, rather than on confirming hundreds of junior positions in a president’s administration, like the public-relations officer of a minor department. The Senate will still continue to confirm about a thousand presidential nominees – nearly four times as many appointees as President Kennedy had – and I will continue to support legislative efforts to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans.

I’m grateful you took the time to let me know where you stand. I’ll be sure to keep your concerns and comments in mind when the issues surrounding presidential appointees are discussed and debated in Washington and in Tennessee.




Apparently, I didn’t communicate the danger well enough in my letter to the senator. He either doesn’t see it (in which case, we need a senator in D.C. who does), or he’s too involved in the Beltway Game to defend our best interests (in which case, we need a senator in D.C. who will.)

To reiterate what I expressed in the April 29 letter:

The ‘assistant’ moniker in many of these titles should not be excuse to disregard them as trivial. As a reminder, those in secondary tiers are often the next to fill the top position. As such, their backgrounds and intentions should be no less scrutinized than those who fill the top posts, just as the candidate for Vice-President of the U.S. must be qualified to assume higher office if necessary.”

As for “bipartisan legislation”, maybe someone can explain to me: how does foolishness from  senators of two parties improve on foolishness from one party alone?

Throwing a “bipartisan” label on faulty, unconstitutional and dangerous legislation doesn’t mean your course of action is right. It only means you’ve got idiots on both sides of the aisle.

And given the ability of public relations officers to direct a message, to paint a foul situation in a positive light, that ‘public relations officer of a minor department‘ can be as influential, if given the room to do so, as any administration official.

By the way, exactly which department does Alexander deem ‘minor’? Perhaps there’s room to cull the deadwood from the overgrown governmental tree?

Admittedly, I’m no great fan of the current regime. But the threat to our liberty from S.679 goes deeper than republican, libertarian and democrat. It reaches deeper than conservative or liberal ideologies.

Would Senator Schumer, the lovely liberal fellow who introduced S.679, be as quick to support this course of action if Bush were still in office? Or if a staunch conservative wins election in 2012? I rather doubt it.

On that score, I’m asking everyone reading this to take action:

  • Check the list of cosponsors, see if your senator’s one of the idiots;
  • Tell them to pull sponsorship of this legislation that would ‘streamline’ the American people out of the process of our governance;
  • AND tell them to vote NO if the bill comes to vote. (Sad that you have to specify that, but that’s the part that’s really crucial and this way there’s no room for side-stepping);
  • Pass this information to as many concerned citizens as possible!

Also, a little guerrilla campaigning idea…Don’t forget the liberal contingency!

Those of us on the ‘right’ and on the ‘left’ tend to snipe at one another. But we all need to remember: We’re all Americans.

We’re like a big, multi-viewpointed, oft-dysfunctional family. We may not agree, we may not like what the other ‘side’ is doing/saying. S.679 won’t benefit any of us in the long run.

Liberals stand to lose as much as conservatives, moderates and independents.

  • Remind them that next election, or the one following, could bring an ultra-conservative into the Oval Office;
  • Ask if they’d be comfortable if this power was granted to an ultra-conservative president;
  • Suggest they research the bill themselves and read the implications with an open mind (i.e., not looking for something to refute just because it came from the ‘right’);
  • Request that they contact their senators to protest this legislation.

Senate Bill S.679 cannot be allowed to pass. If a supposedly Republican senator from a crimson-red state like Tennessee not only supports but co-sponsors this rubbish, it’s going to take all of us to make sure S.679 fails.