Ross Mackenzie

The Democrats may be better at certain aspects of government when they're in power and better at obstruction when they're not.

Resistance on the part of the left to so much that the Bush administration does, or proposes to do, is getting old.

Think about it.

On nominations, hosannas went up when the Senate's newly dubbed Gang of 14 avoided the nuclear option by agreeing to act on three long-delayed appellate-court nominees. But other such nominees were dissed in the process, and no one knows whether the agreement will extend to nominees for vacancies on the Supreme Court.

The agreement obviously did not apply to John Bolton, the administration's nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations. Insatiable senators wanted ever more records - a now-routine demand. Seventy-six of Bolton's 1970 Yale classmates, in the smug belief their opinion mattered, sent an open letter to the Senate urging rejection of his nomination. They and key Senators contended he has, among other things, the wrong temperament for the job - as if Kofi and Kojo and the U.N. generally did not greatly deserve a U.S. ambassador who can take the game to them.

Nominees to other posts are getting the stall-and-stymie treatment, too - such as:

- White House personnel director Dina Powell, nominated to be deputy undersecretary of state for public diplomacy.

- U.S. Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore, nominated to be undersecretary of state for management.

- Career diplomat Eric Edelman, nominated to be undersecretary of defense for policy.

- Julie Finley, nominated to be the U.S. representative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

- Lester Crawford, nominated to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (now approved for the post after making concessions to Hillary Clinton et al about the future salability of morning-after contraceptives).

Six months into President Bush's second term, the list goes endlessly on. The essential complaints about these people - recalling the complaints about appellate-court nominees and Bolton: (a) They're too conservative, even too moderate; or (b) still more records are required - records the administration refuses to provide. The left already has brought up the "more records" issue in the case of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.

Negativism extends to policy and practice as well.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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