When Barack Obama took the Oath of Office seven months ago, the national media got itself “wee-wee’d up” in describing the sheer awesomeness of the Most Successful Transition Ever. Partly from criticism from both Hillary Clinton and John McCain at different times in the presidential campaign, the Beltway press seemed to go out of its way to toss laurels to Obama’s preparation and ability to “hit the ground running” with his team as soon as he got the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. However, some of us began counting the unfilled appointments a few months ago and wondered when the mainstream media might begin doing the same.
Apparently, the answer was yesterday. The New York Times issued a blistering report on the Obama administration, revealing how the executive with no executive experience has failed to hire people for many key positions — including national security:
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. …
“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.” …
Mr. Obama has a more intact national security team than his predecessor at this point. But even in this area, vital offices remain open. No Obama appointee is running the Transportation Security Agency, the Customs and Border Protection agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Mr. Obama still does not have an intelligence chief at the Department of Homeland Security, nor a top civilian in charge of military readiness at the Pentagon.
It’s bad enough that people are leaving their appointments already before other roles get their first nominee. In fact, one of the people who left for another position is Donald Gips, now the ambassador to South Africa. His first position? Finding candidates to fill the open positions in the Obama administration.
The Times tries to explain this away in part from closer scrutiny from the Senate on nominees. However, the Times doesn’t really explain why the Senate has had to exercise closer scrutiny. A glut of initial nominees with tax and ethics issues left the Obama administration’s vetting process look either incompetent or non-existent. Even a Senate with 60 members from the President’s own party could not keep confirming tax cheats like Tim Geithner for every position.
The real question is why the national media hasn’t discovered this before, as the NYT puts it, 15% of Obama’s presidency has expired. A competent executive with the kind of advantage Obama has in the Senate would have filled these positions by now, and a competent news media would have pointed it out before August. (via Allahpundit)