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No More Excuses for President Obama

The best thing about Senate Democrats’ decision to eliminate the filibuster on executive nominees is that President Obama is now fully accountable. Obama no longer has any excuses regarding his management of the executive functions of the federal government. If it functions well or fails, the responsibility now rests with the White House.

For years the incredible level of Republican obstructionism has crippled Obama’s ability to do the job he was elected to. For example, the administration was slow to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because they could not get a director confirmed for months. Obama couldn’t make all the changes to the housing market he wanted because he was unable to get his nominee to run the Federal Housing Finance Agency approved.

Sometimes the Republicans really were standing in the way of what Obama wanted. Other times Obama was using a possible Republican filibuster as an excuse for inaction, to pass the blame, or justify making a pick his base opposes. Now that is over.

I previously said Kathleen Sibelius was secure in her job because if Obama fired her Senate Republicans would never allow a replacement to be confirmed. Senate Democrats just changed that. If Obama believes his subordinates have failed there is no longer an excuse for not replacing them. Democrats can never again say “but the Republicans might filibuster” to hide from their mistakes.

Obama can choose exactly the people he wants for the important positions in his government. If he fails to act or his appointee proves incompetent, the blame rests entirely with Obama. Democrats have nothing to hide behind.

This is how democracy is supposed to work. The people who win the election get to govern and the voters judge them on their performance.

White House photo by Pete Souza

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at