So Obama threatened to make recess appointments and instantly the Republicans cave, confirming 29 Obama nominees last night. But Klein points out how only Democrats could save defeat from the jaws of victory:
In describing recess appointments as "a rare but not unprecedented step," Obama made it harder to actually make any, because he's defined the procedure -- which, unlike the hold, is a defined constitutional power of the president rather than a courtesy observed in the Senate -- as an extraordinary last-resort. He also promised, later in the statement, that he wouldn't make any appointments this recess.
Why do Democrats keep doing ceding the rhetorical battlefront to the Republicans? Why would Obama not learn the obvious lesson--if you press you foot down on the Republicans' necks, they'll back off. Why would he promise to not make any recess appointments? Why would he just give that power up?
What's so frustrating is that the entire country seems to understand this except for Democrats in Washington. The Republicans understand it and laugh at Democratic incompetence. The Democratic base definitely gets it. But when you are more concerned with David Broder than effective governance, I guess this is what results.