Obama Follows Bush’s Lead Once Again

April 20, 2011

“We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress”

Candidate Barack Obama, 2008

“On second thought…..”

President Barack Obama, 2011

I know this will not come as a shock to anyone by now, but President  Barack Obama has embraced another of George W. Bush’s policies that candidate Barack Obama criticized while on the campaign trail. This time it’s the use of presidential signing statements to do “an end run around Congress,” as Obama so elegantly phrased it himself.

Here’s candidate Obama in 2008:

So, what exactly are these presidential signing statements?

Well, the short answer is that a presidential signing statement is a written statement issued by the president of the United States when signing a bill into law.

There is no mention of presidential signing statements in the constitution, but they have been made by U.S. Presidents since the first was issued by James Monroe. Ronald Reagan began using them more frequently during his presidency. George H.W. Bush and Clinton also issued signing statements regularly, but it really wasn’t until George W. Bush began using them to circumvent Congress that they became controversial. Candidate Obama’s criticism of Bush’s use of these statements on the campaign trail was articulate and based in constitutional law.

President Obama has done a complete turnaround on this issue, deciding now to follow Bush’s lead in circumventing both Congress and the constitution. Read what the Volohk Conspiracy had to say about it recently.

More troubling is that Obama chose to use a signing statement to preserve his czars, which are constitutionally questionable executive creations to begin with. See my prior post on this issue. He decided not to use a signing statement (or his veto power) to challenge Congress on the law preventing Guantanamo detainees to be brought into the United States.

Now Bush seems more like Obama’s mentor than a political adversary.

 

 

Previous post:

Next post: