GOP tactics hurting U.S. image abroad

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified to Congress on Wednesday that the Republican blockade on President Obama’s appointees is starting to damage America’s credibility abroad.

For more than a year, the GOP has delayed nearly all of Obama’s nominations, including key foreign policy, international assistance, and U.S. military positions.

“We’re now more than a year into a new administration and whether you agree or disagree with a particular policy, a president deserves to have the people that he nominates serving him,” Clinton told the Senate Appropriations Committee.  “It became harder and harder to explain to countries, particularly countries of significance, why we had nobody in position for them to interact with… People don’t understand the way our system operates, they just don’t get it.”

Clinton did not name names, but I’ve actually written about two examples.   Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., delayed Obama’s General Services Administration Chief for more than a year in an attempt to secure $125 million for a building project in Kansas City, Mo.  Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., put a blanket hold on 70 of Obama’s nominations to secure two earmark projects for Alabama.

Paul Volcker, chairman of Obama’s economic advisory board, said last Sunday in an interview with Fareed Zakaria that this was the most dysfunctional government he had seen in his lifetime.

“Let me give you an example that resonates with me and I can generalize it around the government…  We had a new government come in last Januaury in the midst and the aftermath of this great financial crisis, and a clear need to consider reform…  We are [now] more than a year after the inauguration and neither the under-secretary for international or the under-secretary for domestic finance – you don’t have them.  It’s not because people haven’t been put forward.  It took a long time to get them nominated, and an impossible amount of time to get them confirmed.  I mean why?  What’s going on here?

“My memory is when I became under-Secretary of the Treasurey in 1969,  I was in office on Inauguration Day…  Nobody questioned the legitimacy of me being there, and I think I was confirmed within a week.  How can the Treasury effectively function… without the top officials in place that are needed? …What’s the matter with this government that we can’t even get together and get an administration installed.”

Volcker served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagon, and is widely credited for helping reduce the 1970’s inflation.

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