Saturday, June 27, 2009

Amen, Brother Froomkin

In his last column for the Washington Post, Dan Froomkin recalls the fundamental dishonesty at the core of the George W. Bush administration.

Froomkin nails the bastards:
When I look back on the Bush years, I think of the lies. There were so many. Lies about the war and lies to cover up the lies about the war. Lies about torture and surveillance. Lies about Valerie Plame. Vice President Dick Cheney's lies, criminally prosecutable but for his chief of staff Scooter Libby's lies. I also think about the extraordinary and fundamentally cancerous expansion of executive power that led to violations of our laws and our principles.


Man of the West said...

Actually, I kind of dislike ridiculous expansion and abuse of executive power, too.

With some of his closest advisers deeply pessimistic about the chances of getting major legislation passed during the rest of the year, Mr. Clinton plans to issue a series of executive orders to demonstrate that he can still be effective.

''Stroke of the pen,'' Paul Begala, an aide to Mr. Clinton, said in summarizing the approach. ''Law of the land. Kind of cool.''

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who for decades has battled White House power and championed congressional clout, is questioning President Obama's appointment of "czars" to oversee key policy areas, including energy and climate.

"The rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances," Byrd wrote in a letter to Obama. "At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials."

Tulsan said...

And then there are signing statements. From Wikipedia

Reagan - 250 signing statements, 86 of which (34%) contained provisions objecting to one or more of the statutory provisions signed into law.

George H. W. Bush - 228 signing statements, 107 of which (47%) raised objections.

Clinton - 381 statements, 70 of which (18%) raised constitutional or legal objections.

George W. Bush 152 signing statements, 118 of which (78%) contain some type of challenge or objection.

In March 2009, the New York Times cited a different metric, the number of sections within bills that were challenged in signing statements:

"Mr. Bush ... broke all records, using signing statements to challenge about 1,200 sections of bills over his eight years in office, about twice the number challenged by all previous presidents combined..."

Tulsan said...

More from the same source on sgning statements:

The upswing in the use of signing statements during the Reagan administration coincides with the writing by Samuel A. Alito — then a staff attorney in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel — of a 1986 memorandum making the case for "interpretive signing statements" as a tool to "increase the power of the Executive to shape the law." Alito proposed adding signing statements to a "reasonable number of bills" as a pilot project, but warned that "Congress is likely to resent the fact that the President will get in the last word on questions of interpretation."

A November 3, 1993 memo from White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum...observed that use of Presidential signing statements to create legislative history for the use of the courts was uncommon before the Reagan and Bush Presidencies.

Man of the West said...

Signing statements torque me off, too.

Anonymous said...

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