Can Obama Do This Job?
Evidence from appointments suggests not.
In my inbox this morning:a majority of federal court vacancies remain without a nominee (only 46/104 -- so let's not blame the Senate), and of the 21 known vacancies that will appear in the next year or so, there is only one nominee in place...
A president is, first of all, chief of the executive with the duty to take care that the laws be faithfully exacted. That means, first of all, hiring people to execute the laws. A good president hires people--or makes sure that people are hired. If hiring people does not interest Obama then, as i have said before, he needs to go to a Chris Edley or a John Podesta or an Erskine Bowles and give one of them the baton and his proxy to make sure that the bureaucracy can function.
So far he has not.
Adjudication is just not that important to modern corporate management. It suggests a struggle for relatively clear epistemic lines, or at any rate winners and losers, which arrive through a process that circumscribes executive needs and actions. Management is much easier to handle through administrative fiat. No mess. No fuss. Very efficient. The only difficulty lies in marketing the outcome. And that can be outsourced, most often for free.
It's helpful to think of it in business terms. As a rational self-maximizer, Obama would be a fool to spend precious time inserting more middle men. He's the Decider. There are opportunity costs to consider. Selling an appointment, and the intense search for appropriate human capital, consume resources better spent on selling the necessary outcome. Small "r" republicanism is messy, right? It entails small "d" democratic participation, which means (theoretically) that the tin foil hat people have as much say as the cognitive interventionists. We could wind up with laws that mandate the grant of honorary degrees in economics to fainting goats. Groundhog Day could become a federal holiday. The occupations could be defunded. Legislators could face cavity searches before congressional sessions. There's no end! Better to keep the focus focused on core competencies and leverage them into full spectrum market-ready solutions.
To add a touch of clarity to the imperial logic, which one would you prefer to see advising the president on important matters?