In a move that should disgust all and surprise nobody, the White House announced today that George W. Bush will recess-appoint Sam Fox, who gave $50,000 to the Swift Boat Liars to help finance their 2004 smear of John Kerry, to be the new U.S. Ambassador to Belgium.
The nomination was withdrawn last week, when it became clear to Bush that Fox, who was instrumental in derailing Kerry's presidential bid, did not have enough votes in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to be confirmed.
A recess appointment allows a president to fill vacancies while the Congress is on a break, even if the nominee has already been expressly or implicitly rejected by the Senate.
The announcement on the White House web site was buried in a flurry of other activity and said simply this:
The President intends to recess appoint the following individuals:
Sam Fox, of Missouri, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Belgium
UPDATE: CT Blogger sent me this link to see how the OTHER Senator from Connecticut feels about Sam Fox.
"It's sad but not surprising that this White House would abuse the power of the presidency to reward a donor over the objections of the Senate," said Kerry, in a statement. "This nomination was withdrawn because the Administration realized it would lose in the Foreign Relations Committee. Unfortunately, when this White House can't win the game, they just change the rules, and America loses."
"Our country would be stronger if this Administration spent more time getting body armor for our soldiers in Iraq than it did helping their powerful friends."
Also reacting with outrage, is Chris Dodd (D-CT), who was the first Senator to publicly state his strong opposition to the Fox nomination.
"It is outrageous that the President has sought to stealthily appoint Sam Fox to the position of ambassador to Belgium when the President formally requested that the Fox nomination be withdrawn from the Senate because it was facing certain defeat in the Foreign Relations Committee last week," said Dodd. "I seriously question the legality of the President's use of the recess appointment authority in this instance. I intend to seek an opinion on the legality of this appointment from the General Accountability Office and invite other Senators to join with me in that request."