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NYT: Most of Obama’s Top Appointees Are Not in Place

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 07:34 PM
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NYT: Most of Obama’s Top Appointees Are Not in Place

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/us/politics/24confirm...

By PETER BAKER
Published: August 23, 2009

WASHINGTON — As President Obama tries to turn around a summer of setbacks, he finds himself still playing without most of his own team. Seven months into his presidency, fewer than half of his top appointees are in place advancing his agenda.

Of more than 500 senior policymaking positions requiring Senate confirmation, just 43 percent have been filled so far — a reflection of a White House that grew more cautious after several nominations blew up last spring, a Senate that is intensively investigating nominees and a legislative agenda that has consumed both.

The sluggish pace has kept Mr. Obama from having his own people enacting programs central to his mission. He is trying to fix the financial markets but does not have an assistant treasury secretary for financial markets. He is spending more money on transportation than anyone since Dwight D. Eisenhower but does not have his own inspector general watching how the dollars are used. He is fighting two wars but does not have an Army secretary.

He sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Africa to talk about international development but does not have anyone running the Agency for International Development. He has invited major powers to a summit on nuclear nonproliferation but does not have an assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation. He has vowed to improve government efficiency but does not have the chief performance officer he promised.

“If you’re running G.M. without half your senior executives in place, are you worried? I’d say your stockholders would be going nuts,” said Terry Sullivan, a professor at the University of North Carolina and executive director of the White House Transition Project, which tracks appointments. “The notion of the American will — it’s not being thwarted, but it’s slow to come to fruition.”

Mrs. Clinton expressed the exasperation of many in the administration last month when she was asked by A.I.D. employees why they did not have a chief. “The clearance and vetting process is a nightmare,” Mrs. Clinton told them. “And it takes far longer than any of us would want to see. It is frustrating beyond words.”

The process of assembling a new administration has frustrated presidents for years, a point that was brought home when George W. Bush received the now-famous memorandum titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike U.S.” eight years ago this month but still did not have most of his national security team in place when planes smashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

FULL story at link.

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 07:44 PM
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1. This story is completely misleading, until you read further down
Measuring the progress in appointments depends on what positions are counted and who is doing the counting. The White House Transition Project counts 543 policymaking jobs requiring Senate confirmation in four top executive ranks. As of last week, Mr. Obama had announced his selections for 319 of those positions and the Senate had confirmed 236, or 43 percent of the top echelon of government. Other scholars have slightly different but similar tallies.

The White House prefers to include ambassadors, United States attorneys, marshals and judges, who are also subject to Senate votes but are not counted by the scholars. By that count, Mr. Obama has won confirmation of 304 nominees, compared with 301 for Mr. Bush, 253 for Bill Clinton and 212 for the first President George Bush at this point in their administrations.

If lower-ranking senior executive service officials and so-called schedule C political appointees who do not require Senate approval are counted, the White House said it had installed 1,830 people, at least 50 percent more than any of the last three presidents had at this stage.

No matter how the counting is done, though, hundreds of senior positions remain empty with 15 percent of Mr. Obama’s term already over. While appointments linger, those jobs are generally filled with acting officials — and the White House argues that that has not slowed its ability to effect change.

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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 07:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Negativity leads ..thanks for
zeroing in on the perspective, Pro Sense.
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nyc 4 Biden Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-24-09 08:25 AM
Response to Original message
3. I've noticed a disturbing trend with NYT.
Lately they seem to have an awful lot of articles (not op-ed) that take not-too-subtle swipes at the administration or democratic policy in general. I read the paper every day and night on my Blackberry and see most of their articles and I'm not sure what their deal is. This seems to coincide with the start of the healthcare battle, so that may be a clue. Just MHO.
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malletgirl02 Donating Member (938 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-25-09 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. NYT
Remember, the NYT is the the paper that spread the lies that led us into the Iraq war. I wasn't surprised when I remembered that.
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