Now I may be reading this wrong, but the last few sentences of this quote make it sound like our president is asking for Congress to grant the Executive branch (even) more powers. (wording in bold is my emphasis)
“Some of what’s broken has to do with the way Congress does its business these days. A simple majority is no longer enough to get anything – even routine business – passed through the Senate. Neither party has been blameless in these tactics. Now both parties should put an end to it. For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days.
The executive branch also needs to change. Too often, it’s inefficient, outdated and remote. That’s why I’ve asked this Congress to grant me the authority to consolidate the federal bureaucracy so that our Government is leaner, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people.” -President Barack Obama (SOTU 2012)
Now, let’s start with the first paragraph; there are two funny statements in it. The first one is his lament that a simple majority “can’t get anything done” anymore. What’s funny is that when Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, I don’t think Barack Obama gave one thought to how “easy” or “hard” it was to get anything done, but now that the Republicans have a chance to stand their ground, methinks the president doesn’t like it so much.
The second funny thing is that he asks for “judicial and public service” nominations to receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days. Ya know… I just have to wonder if that request was on his mind after some recent shenanigans with a “recess appointment”.
But the not so funny thing I noticed comes at the end of that second paragraph. When the average person hears Barack Obama says he wants to “consolidate bureaucracy” and make government “leaner” and “quicker”, they probably think it sounds reasonable. But when I hear that statement (in its entirety), I wonder exactly what “authority” our president is asking Congress to grant him. And when he says he wants government to be more “responsive to the needs of the American people”, I wonder what he will interpret those needs to be. I mean not too long ago, he interpreted our needs to be stimulus for “shovel ready jobs” that didn’t exist.