I Think We Can Safely Score This a Flip Flop

It seems pretty inarguable, actually:

Last week the White House and congressional Democrats and Republicans were involved in intense negotiations over not only the size of the budget for the remainder of the FY2011 budget, and spending cuts within that budget, but also several GOP “riders,” or policy provisions attached to the bill.

One rider – Section 2262 — de-funds certain White House adviser positions – or “czars.” The president in his signing statement declares that he will not abide by it.

“The President has well-established authority to supervise and oversee the executive branch, and to obtain advice in furtherance of this supervisory authority,” he wrote. “The President also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it. Legislative efforts that significantly impede the President’s ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the President’s ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Therefore, the president wrote, “the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these Presidential prerogatives.”

In other words: we know what you wanted that provision to do, but we don’t think it’s constitutional, so we will interpret it differently than the way you meant it.

During his presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama was quite critical of the Bush administration’s uses of signing statements telling the Boston Globe in 2007 that the “problem” with the Bush administration “is that it has attached signing statements to legislation in an effort to change the meaning of the legislation, to avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like, and to raise implausible or dubious constitutional objections to the legislation.”

Then-Sen. Obama said he would “not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law.”

Now before this devolves into the typical slap fight in the comments, with the “Obama can do no wrong” crowd matching wits with the “Obama is worse than Bush” crowd all while trashing Jake Tapper, let’s review the points as I see them.

1.) Pretty clearly, Obama said he would not use signing statements to “avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like,” and now he is issuing signing statements telling us he won’t enforce a certain provision of legislation that he does not like.

2.) To which someone will respond, “But yes, this is different, because this rider that he is ignoring is clearly unconstitutional.” If I were a betting man, which I am, I would take a wild guess and state that one of the justifications used by the Bush crew is that the provisions he was ignoring are unconstitutional and get in the way of his constitutional prerogative. Lo and behold (.pdf):

Contributing to the controversy has been the high profile of several of the provisions that have been objected to by President Bush. For instance, in the signing statement accompanying the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005, President Bush declared that provisions requiring the executive branch to submit reports and audits to Congress would be construed “in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive’s constitutional duties.” Likewise, in the signing statement accompanying the law that contained the McCain Amendment (as part of the Detainee Treatment Act) prohibiting the use of torture, or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of prisoners, the President declared that the executive branch would construe that provision “in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief … [in order to protect] the American people from further terrorist attacks.”

3.) However, we can argue that there is a qualitative difference in the signing statements. That is one for the lawyers, but I would argue that there is a fundamental difference between the signing statement of Obama’s we are discussing and the nature of the one quoted above. However, both look to protect and/or expand Presidential authority, and both assert a constitutional prerogative.

4.) But the rider was bullshit! And yes, I would tend to agree. Attempting to limit the number of “czars” (many of which are not even czars) is just one of these silly things that the Glenn Beck/fringe of the right seized upon somewhere around noon on January 20th 2009, at which point Presidential advisors transformed from a necessary addition to the executive branch to czars designed to subvert the very nature of Democracy in the name of Soros, Acorn, MoveOn, and Markos Moulitsas (I was going to say Satan, but that would be redundant, wouldn’t it?).

5.) Having said that, though, I have a fundamental problem with the whole concept of czars, and would like them eliminated for every administration (we can start with the Drug Czar). Barring that, Congress should at the very least be required to approve them and they should be required to be subpoenaed.

There is my two cents. Go ahead and wage your epic battles amongst each other.






146 replies
  1. 1

    Potential good news and bad news. Good news: I may have a book deal from Simon and Schuster. The bad news: By May 1st, I could become the Lincoln Author, writing books in my car.

  2. 2
    Redshift says:

    Being subject to subpoena, yes, congressional approval, no. Way too many executive branch positions are already subject to Senate confirmation. All of these are delegation of presidential authority to get the job done; if Congress has a problem with the Executive doing something, they should address that, not the particular office that’s delegated to do it.

  3. 3
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    This is me not getting out of the boat.

  4. 4
    eemom says:

    Well of course the flip flop was inevitable. What else would you expect from President White Privilege?

    Next he’ll be clearing brush in Crawford.

  5. 5
    shortstop says:

    Tangentially, I’ve never understood whether these people’s business cards say “czar” or whether they have actual titles. If it’s the latter, I’ve never heard a single reference in the media to any of their real titles. Not one.

  6. 6
    Redshift says:

    @jurassicpork: Congratulations! and yeesh! Wish there was something I could do to help; I’ll throw in some scratch if there’s any when I get done with taxes today.

  7. 7
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole @ Top:

    Having said that, though, I have a fundamental problem with the whole concept of czars, and would like them eliminated for every branch.

    I think we needlessly inflame the argument by calling them czars.

    The proper question is: Do you have a problem with the president hiring special advisors with expertise in a specific field to give him or her advice about policy and research in that field? And should that be the President’s decision or Congress’s?

    .

  8. 8
    eemom says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    but Omne…..Cole actually said we might KNOW something this time…!

    That is one for the lawyers,

  9. 9
    OzoneR says:

    Pretty clearly, Obama said he would not use signing statements to “avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like,” and now he is issuing signing statements telling us he won’t enforce a certain provision of legislation that he does not like.

    No, he said he wouldn’t and he shouldn’t and I’d bet he’d no credit from WATB liberals for doing it.

  10. 10
    Johannes says:

    Yes, it’s a flip. (Not a flip-flop yet, though). Am I upset about it? Not so much, because the Bush signing statements that upset me were to essentially vacate clearly constitutional legislation, and the political branches each have a duty to apply and interpret the Constitution–the Supreme Court’s role is adventitious (though clearly necessary) and, as Robert H. Jackson said, “we are not final because we’re infallible; we are infallible because we are final.” (Brown v. Allen). No, the problem is abuse of signing statements, not their mere existence. Congress thinks he’s wrong? Go to the District Court, file a lawsuit and best o’ british with that.

    As to czars, yeah, I’d be against them, if, y’know, we really had any. Emergency Financial Managers who overrule democratically elected officials? Czarism. Special advisers with specific portfolios by topic? Not so much.

    Edited to correct Bob Jackson’s last name from plural to singular. Oops!

  11. 11

    I would like a personal mimosa czar, if you please.

  12. 12
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom: Not. Getting. Out. Of. The. Boat.

  13. 13
    Redshift says:

    @shortstop: That’s not the official title for any of them. Some of them are introduced that way by an administration, many of them are dubbed “czar” by the media. There isn’t even a consistent definition; many of the past ones have actually been positions confirmed by the Senate.

  14. 14
    joeyess says:

    Why doesn’t the White House simply refer to these “czars” as Policy Group Leaders and be done with it. If the GOP is suddenly and hypocritically against czars, just change the fucking name of the position.

    Fuck. Why does everything have to devolve into goofy legislative maneuvers?

  15. 15

    These “czars” are the heads of policy-studying and recommending bodies. I’ve never understood what the problem was with the president organizing his staff in such a manner that there’s an office devoted to looking at policy-field X (with someone in charge!) and another office devoted to looking at policy-field Y (with someone in charge!)

    These aren’t actually people with authority to order action. (Some people seem to think the “Drug Czar” is a law enforcement position. It’s not – that’s the head of the DEA, and he does get Senate approval). They’re people who make recommendations to the president.

    What is your objection to so-called czars, John?

  16. 16
    ppcli says:

    I really dislike this signing statement innovation that Reagan introduced (IIRC), which really metastasized under Bush, and I’m irritated that Obama is using it. But I really don’t know the law on this: Can the lawyers chime in here? What should the administration do when they are convinced that an act of Congress that restricts their actions is unconstitutional? Isn’t the proper procedure to somehow refer this kind of question to the Supreme Court? [Yes, I know, asking Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas, you might as well ask Karl Rove as far as any principled decision is concerned, but ideally…] How could this be done? In Canada, my other country of citizenship, the government can just ask the Supreme court for an advisory ruling in this kind of situation, but my impression is that this is not as easy to do here.

  17. 17
    Nick L says:

    From that 2007 Boston Globe questionnaire:

    . No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president’s constitutional prerogatives; unfortunately, the Bush Administration has gone much further than that.

    So I guess that by this criterion it’s not really a flip-flop, but it certainly undermines his other campaign rhetoric on the issue of signing statements.

  18. 18

    I think even saying there’s a qualitative difference between the two is giving Bush far too much credit. It seems more like a difference that your average high school government student could spot relatively easily; Bush was asserting his authority to do whatever the hell he wanted under the banner of the “war on terrorism” with absolutely no regard to Congressional decrees on treatment of prisoners, rules of engagement, and other elements of law Congress is within its rights to legislate. Obama is asserting his authority as head of the executive branch to have advisers and to organize the executive branch.

    Though I suppose the real problem here is bitching about the signing statements themselves in the first place, rather than about the content of them.

  19. 19
    MattF says:

    Yeah, it’s a flip-flop. Also, it should come as no surprise that signing statements will tend to push the boundaries of Presidential prerogatives outwards. Politics is not about consistency, it’s about power. E.g., “Politics ain’t beanbag.”

  20. 20
    Redshift says:

    @Angry Black Lady: If the president’s budget proposal included personal mimosa czars for all of us, it would have been even more popular.

  21. 21

    …and as such, I think the President is on much solid ground when asserting that he has authority to organize his own office, than in asserting that he has the right to ignore reporting requirements, or regulations Congress imposes on people in the armed forces.

  22. 22
    shortstop says:

    @Redshift: I wasn’t serious about it being the official title, Red. My admittedly obscure point was that no one EVER calls them by their actual titles. EVER. Everyone buys into the “czar” label.

  23. 23
    LM says:

    So-called “czars” are just advisors specific to certain policy areas. They make recommendations the prez can take (giving his authority to proceed with them) or reject. These aren’t cabinet posts–why should they be approved by congress when that’s never ever been the way advisors have ever been viewed or treated here before? I don’t get why the prez choosing these advisors is scary or weird to people. Just because Reps invariably use the Luntzian term “czar”?

  24. 24
    Stillwater says:

    @Angry Black Lady: Wait. Cole just criticized Obama! Are you sure you can take this sorta shit from white liberals?

  25. 25
    Paul W. says:

    I disagree with your conclusion, while agreeing with your other points, because the WH responsibilities are so vast at this point that you need these sub-cabinet level positions if you expect the government to operate at it’s fullest.

    Secondly, as you already pointed out, most of these folks aren’t even czars so eliminating that title wouldn’t affect much.

    And finally, now that the Senate is a place where even judicial nominations and any uncontroversial appointment can be subject to the whims of one or two Senator’s fee fees… well the more we keep them out of what should be everyday executive branch decisions the better.

  26. 26
    Brachiator says:

    There is my two cents. Go ahead and wage your epic battles amongst each other.

    Non issue. The Republicans seem to believe that the president does not have a right to govern. Fuck em.

    Barring that, Congress should at the very least be required to approve them and they should be required to be subpoenaed.

    Sigh. The Senate has some advise and consent responsibility, not the entire freaking Congress. Shall we now play a game of pulling new constitutional powers out of our asses?

    In a way, though, conflicts between the president and the Congress is built into the Constitution by design. You don’t have to be partisan one way or another, even though the results can be frustrating as hell.

  27. 27
    Martin says:

    Uh, no.

    Congress cannot fire staff hired at the discretion of the President simply by line-iteming them out of the budget. The legislative branch does not have that authority. They can cut the executive staffing budget, but they cannot tell the executive branch who that budget can be spent on and who it cannot be spent on.

    The problem with the Bush signing statements wasn’t that they existed but that they overrode things that the legislative branch was empowered to do. They’re a legitimate executive power when used properly.

  28. 28
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    John Cole @ Top:
    uz trollin’ right?

    all while trashing Jake Tapper,

    What I really want to know is why you think Tapper is any different than the other fight promoters that comprise our current nastypants lowbrow market-based instantiation of the Fourth Estate?
    He just plays to both sides. Both you and AllahP think he is sometimes on your personal side. Trust me, he is not.
    There is no honesty altruism in contemporary journalism.
    Here is proof. What information value does this post have?
    Hey Wingnuts! President Obama Just Called You Teabaggers!

  29. 29

    Holy hell you are wrong Cole. Republicans try to legislatively override Marbury v. Madison and you think the President should just bend over and take it?

    The question is not whether you use a signing statement Cole. The question is WHAT the signing statement says.

    Advocating a radical Constitutional agenda with no precedent through a signing statement? Bad.

    Saying that the President has discretion on who he can get advice from per Marbury v. Madison and every interpretation of the Constitution ever? OK.

    I blogged about this: http://jenkinsear.com/2011/04/.....verything/

    This has absolutely NOTHING to do with an imperial presidency, this is about the teahadists getting pissy over the czar label and obama calling legislation to that effect unconstitutional. There’s a long, long history of similar usage of signing statements, and I’m quite happy with this one.

    This is not a Bush signing statement where Bush says the Constitution lets him crush the balls of a child for national defense. This is Obama saying that if he wants to pay someone for their time to give him advice in the White House, he can do that.

    I’m at a loss as to how smart people refuse to make a distinction.

  30. 30
    Martin says:

    @Angry Black Lady: Good to see you ABL. :)

  31. 31

    @Martin:

    You’re absolutely right.

  32. 32
    Martin says:

    @ExistentialFish:

    I’m at a loss as to how smart people refuse to make a distinction.

    Cole’s not stupid, so I suspect we’re being trolled.

  33. 33
    Johannes says:

    @ppcli: I am a lawyer, ppcli, and have litigated constitutional issues as counsel for both government and individuals. I’m not a big fan of signing statements, but I don’t believe they are inherently unconstitutional. (In fact, they constitute a part of the legislative history that would be used in construing the statute in a court case should one arise). I agree that signing statements were flagrantly abused during the Bush years, but that doesn’t make them all invalid.

    No, I don’t think there’s an obligation for the political branches to leave all of the constitutional interpretation to the courts. Congress can sue if it believes it has a case.

  34. 34

    By the by, can any critic say what Presidential power Obama is claiming here that Bill Clinton or FDR or Taft or Franklin goddamn Pierce did not claim?

    If you’re going to be inflammatory, at least to a bit of legwork.

  35. 35

    By the by, can any critic say what Presidential power Obama is claiming here that Bill Clinton or FDR or Taft or Franklin goddamn Pierce did not claim?

    If you’re going to be inflammatory, at least do a bit of legwork.

  36. 36
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @ppcli: Crap. Here I step out of the boat. American courts do not issue advisory opinions. They will only will only make a decision based on a case that is before them. As a result, if someone believes a law to be unconstitutional, that person must file a case in a trial court. The person must also have “standing,” that is the person must actually be affected by the law. As a man, I probably would not have standing to challenge a law regulating abortion (caveat: if I was an abortion provider, I might). As a result, until a court has made a decision about a law, the executive branch must make reasonable determinations about how to best comply with any law and as to how the law’s requirements interact with other laws, regulations, and executive duties.

  37. 37
    dmbeaster says:

    What Johannes said. The logic of signing statements have been around for a very long time, and used to assert the president’s independent authority to make some forms of constitutional decisions concerning legislation. This seems like a valid and non-controversial use of the practice on an issue that is unimportant. Obama’s prior statements were careless is demonizing the practice rather than the abuse of the practice.

    Bush grossly abused signing statements, which was part of a larger pattern of lawlessness papered over with bs legal theories (torture, detainment without trial or charge, warrantless wiretapping, unitary executive bull crap).

    The issue is the corrupt motive – the analogy is to earmarks which are a plain vanilla legislation practice, but perverted when abused.

  38. 38
    Chris says:

    I don’t know about qualitative difference, but I would be curious about quantitative difference. Of course that could be somewhat tricky to define too, since the number of “signing statements” may depend on the number of bills passed and/or the number of weird special-purpose language riders inserted into such bills.

  39. 39

    However, both look to protect and/or expand Presidential authority, and both assert a constitutional prerogative.

    Excuse me, but is really supposed to be the end of the analysis of the constitutional question? Some powers that presidents assert are valid, and others are not. Shouldn’t there be some kind of effort made to distinguish bullshit assertions from valid ones, rather than noting that both presidents asserted something?

    The Detainee Treatment Act language Bush ignored was a set of regulations Congress was issuing for the armed forces. They are given explicit, black-letter authority to write regulations for the armed forces in Article 1 of the Constitution.

    Whereas there is absolutely no authority given to Congress to have a say in how the White House staff is organized.

    I don’t think it takes a lawyer to see the difference there.

  40. 40
    rootless_e says:

    Jesus, this is perfect Broderism: on the one side we have people who call Obama Bush2 and a nazi and on the other side there are people who deny he can do wrong, so we judiciously say he flip-flopped.

    No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president’s constitutional prerogatives; unfortunately, the Bush Administration has gone much further than that.
    http://www.boston.com/news/pol.....A/ObamaQA/

    I have a tip: approach all statements by Greenwald with the assumption that they are cleverly constructed lies. Sometimes you will be disappointed that they are not clever.

    just because you call a Presidential advisor a “czar” does not mean that the President’s right to manage the WH staff only applies to Republican Presidents. If Clinton had not started off his administration ceding control of the WH staff to the Republicans/Press he would have possibly been a more effective President.

  41. 41

    @Johannes:

    I agree with you. What I’d add is that a lot of non-lawyers don’t understand the extent to which separation of powers and constitutional issues have been dealt with not just by the Courts but by Executive and Legislative actions too.

    The entire political question doctrine comes from the Courts just washing its hands of certain matters, even if there’s a Constitutional issue within.

  42. 42
  43. 43
    Bob Loblaw says:

    I have a fundamental problem with the whole concept of czars, and would like them eliminated for every administration (we can start with the Drug Czar). Barring that, Congress should at the very least be required to approve them

    The director of national drug policy (or whatever the fuck the “official” title is) already is a Senate confirmed position, Cole. You don’t seem to know what you’re talking about on this one.

    The WH doesn’t put its chief of staff up for confirmation. Or any of its deputies. Or its press secretary. Or its executive secretary. There is no constitutional issue really.

    It’s just another example of how extremism and corruption on the right sets the coequal branches against each and compromises effective and honest oversight. And I guess, on some level, it has to do with how irrelevant cabinet secretaries are to an administration’s day-to-day political maneuverings given the intensity of modern lobbying. Those would seem to be far more important topics than “neener neener” signing statements regarding positions that no longer exist.

  44. 44
    Yevgraf (fka Michael) says:

    @Brachiator:

    The Republicans seem to believe that the this president does not have a right to govern.

    Fixted. After two straight years of hearing nothing but Full Metal Wingnut, he’s stopped playing as nicely, and is using parts of their own playbook back against them. I’m pleased.

  45. 45
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Since, officially, there are no such things as “czars” in the American government, I think Obama is free to ignore this Rethuglican piece of shit.

    “Czar” is entirely a creation of the media, has been since the first one, “Energy Czar” William Simon was named decades ago. Garry Trudeau had fun with this stupidity by calling Simon the “Money Czar” when he was actually appointed Secretary of the Treasury.

  46. 46
    Johannes says:

    @ExistentialFish: Good point. Wish I’d thought to add it. I also agree with Nick L’s and rootless e’s pointing to the more nuanced position taken by candidate Obama in answer to the Boston Globe linked above, which significantly undermines the “flip-flop” charge.

  47. 47

    […] Via a Balloon Juice commenter, Barack Obama also said, “No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to […]

  48. 48

    @Johannes:

    Agree, I just added that to my post, listed above. If Obama can’t stand up for his ability to hire staff, what’s left? Was the left that abused by Bush that they can’t see this distinction? Christ we are screwed.

  49. 49
    Anya says:

    5.) Having said that, though, I have a fundamental problem with the whole concept of czars, and would like them eliminated for every administration (we can start with the Drug Czar). Barring that, Congress should at the very least be required to approve them and they should be required to be subpoenaed.

    John, you’re against something that does not exist. You’re just reacting to a stupid title that media uses because they’re too lazy to use the actual title. Also, too, the so called Drug Czar, is a Senate confirmed position.

    Edit: I see that, Bob Loblaw has already addressed the issue.

  50. 50
    Yutsano says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Here I step out of the boat.

    It’s okay. I’ll still respect you in the morning. But yeah this is classic JC trolling. Apparently not enough bloodshed from yesterday. Or he’s trying to get JSF to say something foolish again.

    And I just dipped my toe in the water. I. AM. STILL. IN. TEH. BOAT. DAMMIT.

  51. 51

    John:

    I have a fundamental problem with the whole concept of czars, and would like them eliminated for every administration (we can start with the Drug Czar).

    1. Obama didn’t hire any “czars”. He hired advisers for their expertise on defined subjects.
    2. The press and GOP thought it would be cute to call these advisers “czars” and so they did.
    3. Now we have some nervous nellies worried that we have “czars” in our AMERICAN GOVERNMENT and it is all Obama’s fault and he is going to turn our wonder DEMOCRACY into a DICTATORSHIP.

    And that is where we are today. Do you object in principal to the president hiring advisers? If so, why? At any rate, it would be good to call them by their correct titles.

  52. 52
    eemom says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    meh, get back in the boat. Sooner or later someone will have standing and file suit and it’ll end up in the Supreme Court where the conservative hacks will make short work of it. Constitution schmonstitution.

  53. 53
    Sly says:

    Assuming that (a) Candidate Obama made a solemn pledge to never use signing statements ever ever ever and that (b) President Obama has broken that pledge….

    I wouldn’t give a shit.

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Yutsano: I have climbed back in. In my defense, I was just answering a question on procedure from one of our more Canadian commenters, not actually responding to the troll attempt.

  55. 55

    Oh, for chrissakes!

    Here’s the full text of Obama’s answer:

    Signing statements have been used by presidents of both parties, dating back to Andrew Jackson. While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes and to explain his view of how he intends to faithfully execute the law, it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like or as an end-run around provisions designed to foster accountability.

    I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law. The problem with this administration is that it has attached signing statements to legislation in an effort to change the meaning of the legislation, to avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like, and to raise implausible or dubious constitutional objections to the legislation. The fact that President Bush has issued signing statements to challenge over 1100 laws – more than any president in history – is a clear abuse of this prerogative. No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president’s constitutional prerogatives; unfortunately, the Bush Administration has gone much further than that.

    Yeah, that’s quite the flip-flop, the way Obama approached signing statements exactly as he said he would in the questionnaire.

  56. 56
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Having been in and around the Church, and RICA, all of my life — which is longer than RICA’s for what it’s worth — in the case of converts, even sincere converts, some backsliding, and the occasional atavistic reflex, are pretty much par for the course.

    Nothing to see here…nor fear. Brother Cole will be fine.

  57. 57
    Yutsano says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: So you just stuck your foot in the water much like I did. I always knew you had good sense. :)

  58. 58
    Baud says:

    This is what the rider said:

    SEC. 2262. None of the funds made available by this division
    may be used to pay the salaries and expenses for the following
    positions:
    (1) Director, White House Office of Health Reform.
    (2) Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate
    Change.
    (3) Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury assigned
    to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and Senior
    Counselor for Manufacturing Policy.
    (4) White House Director of Urban Affairs.

    I suppose Obama could simply give all these folks new titles, but the signing statement seems more straightforward.

  59. 59
    eemom says:

    @Yutsano:

    Or he’s trying to get JSF to say something foolish again.

    Oh, I think the one about how Obama surfed to the presidency on a Hawaiian wave of Wealth And White Privilege (WAWP) will hold us for a while.

  60. 60

    @eemom: Not just his cruise the presidency, eemom.

    Barack Obama’s entire life has been defined by wealth and white privilege.

    His entire life. It’s what defines him.

  61. 61
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Baud: O.K. So that’s the health czar, the auto czar, a climate change czar I’ve never heard of…but what’s the beef with czar 4? I’ve not heard any conspiracies about that person.

  62. 62
    John Cole says:

    For the love of god, I know their titles are not czar. I know they are just policy advisors and the like. This is why I wrote: “And yes, I would tend to agree. Attempting to limit the number of “czars” (many of which are not even czars).”

    Goodness.

  63. 63
    Mike S says:

    I heard Mark Levin screaming about this yesterday. Of course he praised it when it was Bush the Lesser doing it.

    Definately seems like at least a flip though.

  64. 64
    Cain says:

    @Martin:

    Yeah good to see you, and your mimosa.. although I thought mimosas are on Sundays before church? :)

  65. 65
    Liberal Sandlapper says:

    I do not fucking care. Obama did the signing statement for the right reasons. He has hired the people he wants advising him, and I am glad for them. End of story.

  66. 66

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Nothing to see here…nor fear. Brother Cole will be fine.

    [Smile.]

    I was kind of wondering whether Brother Cole was backsliding, although I didn’t have that word at my fingertips.

  67. 67
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @rootless_e:

    I have a tip: approach all statements by Greenwald with the assumption that they are cleverly constructed lies.

    I have a tip: this post has nothing to do with Glenn Greenwald. He is neither mentioned nor linked to. You are obsessed. Get help.

    @Linda Featheringill:

    He hired advisers for their expertise on defined subjects.

    No, he hired people to interface with lobbyists and corporate and labor groups. The chief of staff’s and legislative director’s offices only have so many hours in a day…

  68. 68
    matoken_chan says:

    Czars and signing statements are both examples of the way in which most presidents have, over the course of a century, attempted to add to the power of their branch of government. Basically these are ways of doing an end-run around Congress, and are on shaky ground constitutionally. It would be better to shut them down, restore some of Congress’ ability to act as a check the president,and reduce the dangerous power of the imperial presidency.

  69. 69

    @eemom:

    Hawaiian wave of Wealth And White Privilege (WAWP)

    [chuckle]

  70. 70
    chopper says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    i’m still loling at the fact that someone would see a black kid living in public housing and attending public schools in indonesia and think ‘that right there is the very definition of wealth and white privilege’.

  71. 71
    Yutsano says:

    @joe from Lowell: The really sad part is that this:

    Obama’s entire life has been defined by wealth and white privilege.

    is indeed true. But it was JSF taking the fact that Obama has been on the bad end of White Privilege and insisting that he BENEFITED from it that got me boggled.

  72. 72
    ppcli says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Thanks, that was an illuminating answer (Johannes too). I’ve got a better sense of how things fall out as far as separation of powers go down here.

    And I don’t think it counts as “getting out of the boat” if it’s in international waters.

  73. 73

    @John Cole: …and then, after that ,you wrote:

    Having said that, though, I have a fundamental problem with the whole concept of czars, and would like them eliminated for every administration (we can start with the Drug Czar). Barring that, Congress should at the very least be required to approve them and they should be required to be subpoenaed.

    What, exactly, is your “fundamental problem” with the President…what? Having policy advisors? Having policy advisors who have staffs? I don’t even know what you’re objecting to.

  74. 74
    Cain says:

    @Cain: er oops, that was for YBL er ABL (I thought young black lady)

  75. 75

    @matoken_chan:

    The President hiring advisers with specific portfolios is doing an end-run around Congress? Jeebus I’m glad baseball keeps me busy.

  76. 76

    @Yutsano: Oof. Damn, I wish I’d thought of that.

    Of course his life has been “defined” by wealth and white privilege. Come to think of it, whose hasn’t?

  77. 77
    chopper says:

    @Baud:

    indeed. either way works fine.

    i have no beef with the signing statement. as to obama flip-flopping, he’s halfway there, as in the past he’s noted that he isn’t against all signing statements, just the bush-style gratuitous ones where the executive aims to reinterpret congressional law.

    this is a budgetary matter, and congress clearly overstepped it’s constitutional bounds by attempting to dictate who in the president’s advisory cabinet he can pay, solely for political reasons (the climate change guy? srsly? take that, scientific consensus on global warming!).

  78. 78
    matoken_chan says:

    @Brien Jackson:

    If you look at how the president uses the bureaucracy to evade Congressional oversight, yes, it is. This is how things have worked in Washington for a long time now, and it is a major contribution to the imperial presidency. If you wish to be willfully naive about these things, then perhaps you should go back to steroid-free baseball.

  79. 79
    shortstop says:

    @ppcli: The Boundary Waters. Very cold this time of year, and the bears are starting to wake up.

  80. 80
    RSR says:

    quick aside…Was it the WSJ that termed the NPR flap as “Video killed the Radio Czar?”

  81. 81
    JonF says:

    Meh. Don’t care. The czars issue is a phony one since every pres uses them and its not worth sinking the budget deal over. They really don’t have any power(except in small cases when Congress funds a project of theirs) outside of advising the Pres. Ignoring court rulings is an “imperial presidency,” this isn’t imo.

    Prediction: People inside the beltway will care about this, people outside won’t.

  82. 82
    Yutsano says:

    @matoken_chan: By your logic the President shouldn’t even have a Cabinet. He should do the Executive Branch all by his lonesome. Yep, including running the military, collecting taxes (I’m in the Executive branch professionally so under your logic I shouldn’t be employed) and executing every law passed by Congress all by his lonesome because, hey, the Constitution says he’s only one man!

  83. 83

    The Drug Czars is an awesome band name.

    As is The Joint Chiefs.

  84. 84
    patroclus says:

    Jake Tapper invented the whole “Laura Ingraham gets death threats” meme out of wholecloth and until and unless he abjectly apologizes for it, he’s off my Christmas list.

    Uh, what else did you say?

  85. 85
    gwangung says:

    If you look at how the president uses the bureaucracy to evade Congressional oversight, yes, it is.

    Assertion. Not supported. I suspect untrue.

  86. 86

    shorter thread: the president isn’t congress’s bitch. why they trying to make him their bitch?

  87. 87
    Anya says:

    @joe from Lowell: I thought that was meant as a snark, no?

    @John Cole: Yo Cole, since you’re framing the argument in Fox News speak, imma let you finish, but Rachel has an answer for you.

    Rachel Maddow Brilliantly Mocks Faux News’ Obsession with Czars

  88. 88

    @Anya:

    I thought that was meant as a snark, no?

    I wish.

    But he put a great deal of time, effort, and emotion into defending it.

  89. 89
    transmaniacon says:

    Fine. I renounce Czars, but I’m keeping the hat as a souvenir.

  90. 90

    Let’s make this real simple:

    SEC. 2262. None of the funds made available by this division
    may be used to pay the salaries and expenses for the following
    positions:
    (1) Director, White House Office of Health Reform.
    (2) Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate
    Change.
    (3) Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury assigned
    to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and Senior
    Counselor for Manufacturing Policy.
    (4) White House Director of Urban Affairs.

    John, why do you want these positions eliminated, or at least confirmed by the Senate?

  91. 91
    General Stuck says:

    I don’t and have never liked, nor approved of presidents declaring they won’t abide by a law that was passed by congress. That is what the veto power is for, until congress can pass something he/she can sign.

    Otherwise, senor cole can take his false equivalency and “Obama can do no wrong crowd” and shove it way on up his ass. Fellate that.

  92. 92
    Dennis SGMM says:

    As a general rule, I disapprove of most signing statements. On the other hand, the batshit-insane segment of Congress seems to be attempting to micro-manage the Executive Branch with this particular rider.

    I do find it ironic that the same Republicans who were having orgasms over Bush’s Unitary Executive are now so concerned about the separation of powers. Or maybe they’re just pissed because Obama has stopped bringing a knife to a gunfight.

  93. 93
    General Stuck says:

    though when Obama said he did not agree with the no trials for Gitmo detainees in the def bill, I did use that action to mock the firebaggers, and thought it was cool he did the SS, but also saying he would abide by the law.

  94. 94
    Aunt Moe says:

    For considerations: Obama in almost three years ahs issued about a dozen signing statements. Bush, at htis point in his presidency has issued about 300.

    It’s relevant.

  95. 95
    Aunt Moe says:

    Typos! Has, this, had . . . egad.

  96. 96
    Peter says:

    Wait, you are telling me that a politician said one thing before elected and did the opposite after elected? Why I never! In other news, the sun came up today.

  97. 97
    Corner Stone says:

    @rootless_e:

    I have a tip: approach all statements by Greenwald with the assumption that they are cleverly constructed lies. Sometimes you will be disappointed that they are not clever.

    I hope you get help son.

  98. 98
    Corner Stone says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: Yes. A complete troll post by Cole.

  99. 99

    @John Cole:

    You’re not getting slaughtered in the comments because of their title, John, it’s because you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about on this one.

    You can loathe the imperial presidency, think Obama is violating the Constitution with Guantanamo and Bagram, and still side with him on this particular signing statement. Because he’s hiring policy advisors with dedicated money that the budget deal does not affect.

    You’re just unbelievably wrong here.

  100. 100
    OzoneR says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    I have a tip: this post has nothing to do with Glenn Greenwald.

    It didn’t until now

    ggreenwald Glenn Greenwald
    Congrats to John Cole for Understated Headline of the Day Award:

  101. 101
    eemom says:

    @rootless_e:

    keep calling out Greenwald, and pay no mind to the haters. Lobbob is obsessed with calling people obsessed, and as for Stoned in the Corner, yer talking about a guy who spends his life hunting imaginary sock puppets. Talk about needing help.

  102. 102
    Citizen Alan says:

    I can’t find the video but the thing that sums up the whole “czar controversy” was an interview done back in 2009 with some fat sow in a rascal scooter complaining that it was bad that Obama had so many czars “just like the communists!” I mean, once you have people vehemently opposed to the very idea of czars just because they think that the original, historical czars were allied with the communists, you’re so far down the rabbit hole you’ll never get out.

  103. 103
    R says:

    BREAKING NEWS— Barry is a hypocrite. Add it to the list.
    Just another Left wind Blowhard. It is a well known fact Barry makes decision’s with a magic 8 Ball

  104. 104
    Studly Pantload, Vibrant Trollbot for Obama says:

    Shorter Cole: Bored blogger is bored.

    There are certain times when it’s best to just post some Tunch shots and call it good.

  105. 105
    Loquacious Mute says:

    1. If there are Czars, then there should also be Czarina’s
    2. Obama’s signing statements totally kick W’s siginig statements butt.
    3. The Constitution is not written in stone
    4. While were are appointing Czar’s can we not have a birther Czar, so we can make sure no more illegals get elected President.
    5. Obama’s new campaign slogan for 2012…I put the flip back in the flop.

  106. 106
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Studly Pantload, Vibrant Trollbot for Obama:

    Bored blogger is bored.

    send him some mail and cheer him up.
    He luffs that.
    ;)

  107. 107

    @R: Wow, you upgraded from Barry Sotero. Your mom must be so proud.

  108. 108

    You instigator! :) The only thing I will say about this is that candidates say all sorts of shit that they either know they won’t be able to do or are naive to the reality of what the situation is and shouldn’t say.

    What blows me away is how President Obama is expected to be as pure as the driven snow on everything according to the Professional Left (to put it politely) but Republicans get away with hundreds, maybe thousands of them per day and I don’t see ANY outcry from anyone about them. It is accepted that the rightwing will just lie, repeat, lie, hypocritize and lie some more. There was a time when the likes of Greenwald and Hamsher spent there valuable digital ink and time slamming Republicans on it, you know…trying to get Democrats elected. From what I can tell, they both spend probably about 80% of their time bashing the most liberal president since Lyndon Johnson.

    I also have to laugh at how taken aback the PL is at things that have been happening since the founding of our freakin country, like flip flopping, or not fulfilling a campaign promise or 20 once you get in office and have to deal with assholes like what we have today.

  109. 109
    AAA Bonds says:

    I honestly don’t know about this one. Signing statements are a bad precedent and will be misused in the future, with this one as support. However, defunding executive agencies and appointees is pretty much the worst thing Congress could possibly do right now and should be stopped at all costs.

  110. 110
    AAA Bonds says:

    Also, fucking stop it with the “professional left” shit. That’s like the worst mistake that ever came out of Obama’s press people, ever. I have absolutely no doubts that they regret ever putting that out there.

  111. 111
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Extreme Liberal: In this case, I disagree. I assume that at least 20% of the voters are single-issue signing statement voters.

  112. 112
    AAA Bonds says:

    @Extreme Liberal:

    Like this. Stop posting shit like this. Just stop it, hush up, shut up. It is ultra-pathetic when someone’s response to perceived infighting is a giant block of guaranteed 100% pure infighting.

    Balloon Juice will climb a notch up the ladder if all of you can agree to never, ever, ever mention Jane Hamsher after this post right here.

  113. 113
    Corner Stone says:

    @Extreme Liberal: You’re using the handle “Extreme Liberal” ?
    Shouldn’t it be “Extreme Douchebag” ?

  114. 114
  115. 115
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Extreme Liberal: its just part of the 13D chess game. He has to fool some of the bubbas into voting for him in 2012.
    By 2020 that will no longer be necessary because the ‘lectorate will be < 50% bubba.
    We may see a whole new kind of politics.

  116. 116
    General Stuck says:

    @Extreme Liberal:

    You go on saying what you need to say here. There is no “hush up” nor “shut up” on this blog. If people decide to fight with you for what you say, then wish them luck and let the blog combat begin.

  117. 117
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @matoken_chan: i’d sue you for trademark infringement but you’re so boring that your comments keep putting me to sleep.
    Where is your fire, your passion?
    /zzzzzzzzzz

  118. 118
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @OzoneR:
    @eemom:

    I was unaware that this post was about Greenwald’s…twitter feed?

    Is Cole Glenn’s new mouthpiece? Are they one and the same? If you think Cole is wrong (and he is), you can:

    1. Say “Cole, you’re wrong and here’s why…”

    or

    2. Scream “GRRREEEENNWAAAAAALLD!” at every turn.

    I know which one the blogosphere prefers. I also know it’s not the one that actually makes sense. Shrug.

  119. 119
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @General Stuck:

    There is no “hush up” nor “shut up” on this blog.

    well…there is always banning.
    ;)
    My nomination for the rotating tag line

    Balloon Juice, a Nation of Hall Monitors

  120. 120
    rootless_e says:

    The important point to note is that the Republicans are trying to defund Ron Bloom, who is Obama’s manufacturing adviser and is kickass, and of course is invisible to the Whinge Left that doesn’t know anything about labor unions or manufacturing or care.

  121. 121
    Corner Stone says:

    @rootless_e: What’s a “labor union” ?

  122. 122
    Anya says:

    @Bob Loblaw: There’s never a wrong time to point out what an insufferable douchebag GG is.

  123. 123
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @rootless_e:

    See, this is what is known as “substance.” Strange concept, I know.

    I mean, there’s also another brand new nickname for rootless’ political enemies, properly capitalized of course, as well, but whatever. Because the first eighty five didn’t take, I guess. Godspeed Whinge Left, may your career be long and bountiful.

  124. 124

    @ExistentialFish:

    You’re not getting slaughtered in the comments because of their title, John, it’s because you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about on this one.

    Yeah, but it’s not like John is a constitutional lawyer who should be expected to be able to delve into the substance of this, or have a take that goes beyond noting a superficial inconsistency that evaporates with even a cursory review of constitutional doctrine or Obama’s actual answer to the Globe questionnaire.

    Now, if some self-proclaimed deep thinker and constitutional expert were to push this same line, that would really demonstrate a low, dishonest shamelessness.

  125. 125
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    @OzoneR:
    .
    .

    No, he said he wouldn’t and he shouldn’t and I’d bet he’d [get] no credit from WATB liberals for doing it.

    You, my friend, have won the coveted Balloonbagger of the Week Award. (Please take a moment to notify your relatives.)

    Are you back, then? Good. The reason you have won is that, according to you, the dreaded firebaggers (who loom so large in your consciousness) are the real bad guys here because President Obama did the wrong thing, which he ” said he wouldn’t and he shouldn’t” – which is apparently justification enough to do his wrong with a clear conscience.

    Truly memorable.
    .
    .

  126. 126
    General Stuck says:

    While I think clearly that this was an Obama flip flop, I also think it is not beyond debate on the underlying merits of what Obama did with this particular signing statement.

    And I have a sincere suggestion for Mr. Cole, just an idea to maybe bring some fact based Obot v Progressive disputes as blog topics.

    If you basically trust PolitiFact’s neutrality, and I do, then using their Obamameter might be a good way to sort out the wheat from the bullshit around here. And as you can see, Obama has broken more than a few promises, as every president does, and has since the first Homo Sapien Presnit got his skull kitten fucked for breaking his promise on fresh dino meat subsidies. Granted, some promises are bigger than others, and breaking them of more import.

    Of course there is breaking news stuff that PolitiFact hasn’t researched yet, that is a shortcoming of this idea, but something to think about for the frontpagers to go with on threads of Obama job performance on specific issues.

  127. 127
  128. 128
  129. 129
    craigie says:

    I have a tough time with this. On the one hand, if only the Dems follow the law then basically the message is that the Republican presidents can do whatever they want with no adverse effects.

    On the other hand, presidents shouldn’t get to just make up the law as they go along.

    I guess the only adult way to square this is to arrest Bush and Cheney for war crimes and send them to the Netherlands for trial. And then stop with the signing statements. That seems fair.

  130. 130
    mclaren says:

    Goddammit, why didn’t Obama do this 2 years ago?

    He should’ve been using signing statements to pound the Republicans into the dirt since day one. He should’ve sequestered funds, used signing statements, the whole bogus legally iffy gray-area set of outrageous tricks the drunk-driving C student and his torturer sidekick bent and twisted the law with for 8 long years.

  131. 131

    @joe from Lowell:

    I don’t want to make it about him. I’m just asking that Cole listen to reason here on this issue.

    This has absolutely no bearing on anything substantive of the Imperial Presidency, whatever your position on it.

  132. 132
    Triassic Sands says:

    @JGabriel:

    And should that be the President’s decision or Congress’s?

    The answer is quite simple and equally obvious: When a Republican is president it should be up to the president. When a Democrat is president it absolutely must be left to the Congress, if Congress is controlled by Republicans. In the event a Democrat is president and Democrats control Congress, then no such appointments should be permitted (under penalty of impeachment, conviction, and removal from office).

    See, simple. And obvious.

    @ppcli:

    …this signing statement innovation that Reagan introduced (IIRC),

    They’re a lot older than Reagan — apparently they go all the way back to Monroe — the fifth president.

  133. 133
    Sko Hayes says:

    John, did you know that Bush had 37 “czars”?
    I can’t believe some of the comments I’m reading, “all signing statements are bad” is simply wrong. Teabag House members trying to tell the Chief Executive that he can’t hire who he wants for staff and advisors is against the Constitution.
    And, lastly, as joe from Lowell quoted from Obama above:

    No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president’s constitutional prerogatives;

    Or do people just blurt things out without reading the other comments? I hate it when that happens.

  134. 134
    George, Short and Sneaky says:

    @Sko Hayes:

    Or course, Congress cannot use it’s power of the purse to prevent the president from carrying out his constitutional duties. The problem is at this level we are dealing with foundational concepts of separations of powers between the branches. And it has long been the case, that the only way to get a clear ruling in a murky case like this, between congress express plenary, or total power of the purse to run the government, is through judicial branch, And they long loathed to intervene and define these foundational powers of the other branches. Especially on something this minor.

    Bush, like everything else he did, took this sometimes low level butting heads of congress and the executive branches way past any thing that has occurred before, or at least recently, to violating every law he didn’t like with signing statements, and also those in effect when he took office.

    The question of whether candidate Obama flip flopped from his promise to not make SS’s like Bush. Well, yes, he did in this case. But context and perspective relevant to the period before Bush when such matters were fairly minor tiffs with congress, does matter. Candidate Obama, as all candidates makes promises in the pol heat of the moment on the campaign trail. Flip flopping on this one doesn’t bother me much, and is not a need for a huge constitutional crisis, or a condemnation of Obama for something that has happened for a long time before Bush on such a minor political point made by the wingnuts passing this silly provision.

  135. 135
    Mike M says:

    Nuance always gets lost on the press and the public. “Obama said that he would never use signing statements” is black and white, and therefore clear. The reality, though, is that Obama’s position is more complex, and he certainly took pains to articulate his views with some care during the campaign. He believes there are many instances where signing statements are appropriate and necessary, and other situations where they are inappropriate. His argument with Bush was that the former president abused a necessary and appropriate tool, not that signing statements should never be used.

    While the Senate has a duty to advise and consent on members of the executive branch who are in the position to set policy and enforce laws (so-called officers of the US under the constitution), Congress does not have the authority to dictate who advises the president. When the consitution was being written, there was an effort to impose on the president a group of advisors from Congress, but that idea failed and did not make it into the final document.

    The president has statutory authority to hire staff for the WH and set salaries for those positions without consulation with Congress. From time to time, Congress becomes concerned that certain presidential advisors may have too much power and ought to be subject to close scrutiny. In those cases, it “codifies” the positions to make those advisors “officer of the United States” and therefore subject to the power of the Senate to confirm or reject, etc. The Congressional Research Office recently published a paper on these issues.

    In the case of the rider, Congress attempted to use its budgetary authority to interfere with the performance of the president’s duties and Obama rightly rejected those efforts.

  136. 136
    OzoneR says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    The reason you have won is that, according to you, the dreaded firebaggers (who loom so large in your consciousness) are the real bad guys here because President Obama did the wrong thing,

    yeah, something you firebaggers said he SHOULD do to defend your interests.

    What did I win, a new boxing glove to punch hippies with?

  137. 137
    Corner Stone says:

    Man, rootless_e, you’re showing your true colors here. It’s just fine when it’s your guy doing it.

  138. 138
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mike M:

    From time to time, Congress becomes concerned that certain presidential advisors may have too much power and ought to be subject to close scrutiny. In those cases, it “codifies” the positions to make those advisors “officer of the United States” and therefore subject to the power of the Senate to confirm or reject, etc. The Congressional Research Office recently published a paper on these issues.

    IOW, there is an actual procedure that Congress can go through if they’re genuinely concerned that an advisor has too much power to turn that position into one that requires the Senate’s approval, but the Republicans decided to try a shortcut they knew would fail so they can campaign on “Obama has czars! Scary scary czars!”

    Color me surprised.

  139. 139
    General Stuck says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think the key point here is whether these “csars” handle budgets and appropriated moneys from congress in a direct way. If this is the case, and I doubt it is from the job description of ‘advisers” , then congress has a point that they require confirmation and direct congressional oversight. I don’t think the wingnuts have made a good case on this point. Otherwise, they are just staff, like the Chief of Staff and are not accountable for direct oversight to congress per separation of powers.

  140. 140
    punkdavid says:

    Personally, I’m more bothered by the use of the term “czar” than the fact of any of these people.

    Not every executive branch adviser should need to be vetted by Congress. I’m not sure where to draw the line, but I think there is a big difference between “Secretary of State” and “Special Adviser on Internet Copyright Infringement”, or whatever fucking bullshit is being referred to as a “czar” these days.

    For the record, I think the above signing statement is EXACTLY what signing statements are for, and I wouldn’t hold Obama’s use of it after saying in his campaign that he wouldn’t any more than I would hold it against a Republican in Congress who used “earmarks” while campaigning against them. It’s just the way it’s supposed to work.

    Bush ABUSED signing statements. It doesn’t make them improper as a concept.

  141. 141
    rootless_e says:

    I’m impressed by resistance to data. Even after being shown that Candidate Obama specifically stated that signing statements should be used to protect the powers of the executive, people keep writing that he broke his pledge. There seems to be a widespread delusion that if you believe something to be true, no matter whether it is or not, your belief constitutes some kind of proof.

  142. 142
    Joe Beese says:

    Obama caught in hypocrisy again. Film at 11.

    That said, this is about #78 on the list of reasons why you shouldn’t support him.

  143. 143
    eemom says:

    @rootless_e:

    There seems to be a widespread delusion that if you believe something to be true, no matter whether it is or not, your belief constitutes some kind of proof.

    …….aaand, with his usual impeccable timing, enter Joe Beese as Exhibit A.

  144. 144
    Szin says:

    @Anya: GG is a douchebag? Really? I don’t agree with him on this issue but he’s got a pretty good track record is rarely refuted with anything approaching fact.

    I would never be considered obama’s main defender (I was pretty much done with him when he appointed the three stooges to his economic team) but he hasn’t abused the signing statements just as he said he would not during the campaign.

    As a liberal I can be more complex than a black and white conservatard. I even bet out of the thousands of signing statements written by bush there are a dozen or so that would not bother me.

  145. 145
    Fred says:

    Delete everything except point #4 and you are on the right track!

  146. 146

    You’re right, it’s a flip flop.

    Do I care? Are we caring that Obama is a politician?

    I don’t, in fact I wish he’d be a better politician and flip flop sooner when it’s inevitable he has too and get more mileage out of the things he has to disappoint us on.

    I actually voted for Hillary in the primaries because I wanted someone to take a baseball bat to the knees of the GOP asshats. When he beat her I was pleased and hoped he was going to be ready to break out the brass knuckles when it became necessary.

    Now it’s necessary.

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