View Full Version : They are starting to eat their own...

08-09-2009, 03:16 PM
And rightly so...the question that not a SINGLE liberal on this board has had either the courage or the fortitude (let alone the facts and figures) to answer is finally being addressed, and you'll be very surprised to find out who it is exactly that's voicing their displeasure with Obama's adoption of "failed Bush policies"....


Congress critical of use of a Bush-era practice Obama's pick-and-choose approach to law enforcement draws ire from both sides of aisle

By Charlie Savage
New York Times

Published on Sunday, Aug 09, 2009

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has issued signing statements claiming the authority to bypass dozens of provisions of bills enacted into law since he took office, provoking mounting criticism by lawmakers from both parties.
President George W. Bush, citing expansive theories about his constitutional powers, set off a national debate in 2006 over the propriety of signing statements instructions to executive officials about how to interpret and put in place new laws after he used them to assert that he could authorize officials to bypass laws like a torture ban and oversight provisions of the USA Patriot Act.

In the presidential campaign, Obama called Bush's use of signing statements an ''abuse,'' and said he would issue them with greater restraint. The Obama administration says the signing statements the president has signed so far, challenging portions of five bills, have been based on mainstream interpretations of the Constitution and echo reservations routinely expressed by presidents of both parties.

Still, since taking office, Obama has relaxed his criteria for what kinds of signing statements are appropriate. And last month several leading Democrats including Reps. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and David R. Obey of Wisconsin sent a letter to Obama complaining about one of his signing statements.
''During the previous administration, all of us were critical of the president's assertion that he could pick and choose which aspects of congressional statutes he was required to enforce,'' they wrote. ''We were therefore chagrined to see you appear to express a similar attitude.''

They were reacting to a statement Obama issued after signing a bill that expanded assistance to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank while requiring the administration to pressure the organizations to adopt certain policies. Obama said he could disregard the negotiation instructions under his power to conduct foreign relations.

The administration protested that it planned to carry out the provisions anyway and that its statement merely expressed a general principle. But Congress was not mollified. On July 9, in a bipartisan rebuke, the House voted 429-2 to ban officials from using federal money to disobey the restrictions.

And in their July 21 letter, Frank and Obey the chairmen of the Financial Services Committee and the Appropriations Committee asked Obama to stop issuing such signing statements, warning that Congress might not approve more money for the banking organizations unless he agreed.

In March, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, sent Obama a letter criticizing a signing statement that challenged a statute protecting government whistle-blowers who tell lawmakers privileged or ''otherwise confidential'' information.
Grassley accused Obama of chilling potential whistle-blowers, undermining the intent of Congress in a way that violated his campaign promises. The White House said it intended only to reaffirm similar reservations made by previous presidents.

Other laws Obama has said he need not obey as written include format requirements for budget requests, limits on whom he may appoint to a commission, and a restriction on putting troops under U.N. command.
After Bush transformed signing statements from an obscure tool into a commonplace term, Obama's willingness to use them has disappointed some who had hoped he would roll back the practice, not entrench it.

''We didn't think it was an appropriate practice when President Bush was doing it, and our policy is such that we don't think it is an appropriate practice when President Obama is doing it,'' said H. Thomas Wells, who just stepped down as president of the American Bar Association.

08-09-2009, 04:39 PM
No surprise. The only thing that is somewhat refresing about this to me is that someone is finally bucking the party line to some point. More people need to do this.

I support Obama from that aspect, but from what he is actually doing by taking these actions I do not.

Thats the wonderful thing about rejecting both liberalism and conservatism.

08-09-2009, 07:06 PM
I don't reject either liberalism OR conservatism...I adopt whatever policies I like and think make the most (common) sense. I take great umbrage with those who only see one side of the coin, one half the equation, toe only THEIR party line.

I just want ONE of these dyed-in-the-wool liberals to make a stand and man up and admit their man wronged them, admit his mistakes...why is that so difficult?

tony hipchest
08-09-2009, 10:52 PM
while you may have been right on a number of issues, your desperate plea for validation and acknowledgement (and practically begging people to bow down at you) is a bit pathetic.

so in the meantime... :shout: PANIC!

08-10-2009, 08:21 AM
At least you aren't blaming Palin...which is a big move in the right direction for you. However, your post makes no sense. Validation? Acknowledgment? Please...

Once again, can I please direct you to attack the argument, and not the arguer. I see even Barney Frank is manning up and admitting Obamie is NOT doing a heckuva job...but not you...

08-10-2009, 08:41 AM
Gerson is spot on here...and gets to the heart of why even his own are starting to turn on him...


Obama's honeymoon is over. Too bad he wasted it

By Michael Gerson
Washington Post Writers Group

Published on Monday, Aug 10, 2009

WASHINGTON: Barack Obama's political honeymoon is now over. It was steamy and nice while it lasted. The 44th president was elected as a voice of reason transcending stale ideological debates and a symbol of unity in a nation long afflicted by bigotry. He seemed, on brief public acquaintance, to be pragmatic, positive, steady, moderate and thoughtful.

In the months following his election, Obama expanded his support well beyond the coalition that had voted for him in November, attracting many seniors and white men — working-class and college-educated — who had supported John McCain.

But, as Ron Brownstein argued last week on NationalJournal.com, recent polls have revealed a president ''back to something like square one in his political coalition.'' Obama's core support remains strong. His post-election gains, however, have largely dissipated. According to Brownstein, the president ''failed to convert many voters who gave him a second look after preferring John McCain last year.'' Obama still dominates the political landscape, but he has not changed its contours.

Honeymoons always end. But it is fair to ask: What did Obama use this initial period of unique standing and influence to achieve? It will seem strange to history, and probably, eventually, to Obama himself, that the president's main expenditure of political capital and largest legislative achievement was a $787 billion stimulus package he did not design, and which ended up complicating the rest of his policy agenda. Such a pleasant honeymoon — yet all we got was this lousy stimulus bill.

President Obama staked the initial reputation of his administration on the wisdom, restraint and economic innovation of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic congressional leadership. It was a mistake.

The legislation they produced plugged the fiscal holes in state budgets and Medicaid, and indulged eight years of pent-up Democratic spending demands on priorities from education to child care to Amtrak. The package did little to promote investment, job creation and economic growth. By one estimate, about 12 cents of every dollar spent was devoted to genuine economic stimulus. While Obama himself remains popular, support for his largest legislative achievement now stands at 34 percent.

This massive expenditure became the political context for the health-care debate. Because the national debt has increased by more than $1 trillion since Obama took office, the president was forced to make his case for health reform based on long-term cost savings. An immediate increase in spending, he argued, would be more than offset by eventual reductions in federal health spending.

But this case collapsed in a series of Congressional Budget Office estimates stating that both House and Senate health approaches would expand deficits during the current 10-year budget window and beyond. As it stands, Democratic plans create an expensive new health entitlement, make promises of cost savings that are insufficient or nebulous, raise taxes in economically destructive ways and cost more to the government in the long term.

Once again, Obama deferred to Democratic congressional leaders instead of producing a detailed plan of his own. Once again, their failures have become his own.

All this has combined to raise serious public concerns about spending, deficits and debt — the main ideological achievement of Obama's political honeymoon, but probably not one he intended. The administration's primary economic spokesmen — Tim Geithner and Larry Summers — have hinted at the eventual need for broad tax increases to close the deficit.

But the tax hikes required for Democratic health reform have an opportunity cost; they can't be used in a future deficit reduction deal. And such a deal would certainly require the president to break his unequivocal pledge not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year.

No amount of administration trial balloons or explanation — ''Golly, the Republicans messed things up even worse than we thought'' — will make this broken promise palatable.

(Sorry, guys, the ole "Bu-bu-bu-Bush" has been laid to rest officially...time to make up some other excuse for Obama's failure)

So these are the main accomplishments of the Obama honeymoon: a widely criticized stimulus package, a health debate poorly begun, and a growing, potentially consuming deficit problem. The initial period of Obama's presidency has revealed an odd mixture of boldness and timidity. A bold, even fiscally reckless, embrace of the priorities of the Democratic left. A timid, and politically unwise, deference to the views and approaches of the Democratic congressional leadership.

Obama can, of course, recover, as other presidents have done before. But he did not take full advantage of his honeymoon — and he will not get it back.
Gerson is a Washington Post Writers Group columnist. He can be e-mailed at mgerson@globalengage.org.

08-10-2009, 10:00 AM
No amount of administration trial balloons or explanation — ''Golly, the Republicans messed things up even worse than we thought'' — will make this broken promise palatable.

Especially considering the fact that the Democrats have controlled Congress since '06....

08-10-2009, 10:30 AM
I'm in no way suggesting the Dems will stop using this excuse...I know they will. I'm just saying that it's legitimacy (whatever limited amount it EVER had as a viable excuse) has run it's course.

This is now officially Obama's mess, and he'll have to face up to it from here on out...

08-10-2009, 10:33 AM
We have a No0b in the White House.

Dino 6 Rings
08-10-2009, 11:37 AM
Do as I say, not as I do.

08-10-2009, 11:58 AM
At least you aren't blaming Palin...which is a big move in the right direction for you. However, your post makes no sense. Validation? Acknowledgment? Please...

Once again, can I please direct you to attack the argument, and not the arguer. I see even Barney Frank is manning up and admitting Obamie is NOT doing a heckuva job...but not you...

Who's Barney Frank ? Do you mean Bawny Fwank ?

08-10-2009, 12:01 PM
Especially considering the fact that the Democrats have controlled Congress since '06....

fansince, if you're going to just point out true facts in your responses, you should just take that hate speech elsewhere.:chuckle:

08-13-2009, 09:55 AM
Not really sure where to stick this, so why not here?


Change we can believe in? Not yet

By Ruth Marcus
Washington Post

Published on Thursday, Aug 13, 2009

WASHINGTON: Candidate Barack Obama offered a lofty vision of how his White House would operate. When the details of health reform were being hammered out, he vowed, ''We'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.''

The campaign even aired an ad singling out Billy Tauzin, the drug industry's chief lobbyist. ''The pharmaceutical industry wrote into the prescription drug plan that Medicare could not negotiate with drug companies,'' Obama said in the ad. ''And you know what? The chairman of the committee, who pushed the law through, went to work for the pharmaceutical industry making $2 million a year.'' Imagine that.

Now, it turns out, the Obama White House has cut a backroom — actually, Roosevelt Room — deal with Billy Tauzin: Drugmakers would ante up $80 billion in savings in return for a promise that Medicare wouldn't be allowed to negotiate drug prices.

''We were assured: 'We need somebody to come in first. If you come in first, you will have a rock-solid deal,' '' Tauzin told the New York Times.

Imagine that.

The White House, playing the political version of Deal or No Deal, is backing away, rather unconvincingly, from its initial confirmation. In New Hampshire on Tuesday, Obama raised the prospect of getting more from drug companies. But the episode underscores the dangerously wide gap between Obama's idealistic campaign-trail promises and the gritty realities of real-world governing.

Every new president encounters this tension, but it is, I think, more acute, and therefore more politically treacherous, for Obama. The fundamental allure of his candidacy was that he could not only wipe away the stains of the Bush administration but overcome the partisan jockeying and special interest influence-buying that have alienated voters from their government.

As Obama said in announcing his candidacy, ''In the face of a politics that's shut you out, that's told you to settle, that's divided us for too long, you believe we can be one people, reaching for what's possible, building that more perfect union.''

In reality, Obama's campaign did not always live up to Obama's rhetoric: He summoned voters to ''a politics that calls on our better angels'' but stooped to scare tactics when political need required them. As I wrote last October, ''Better angels, it seems, do not make the best campaign strategists.'' Or, I'd add, the best White House advisers.

In any event, the promises were so grand, the moment so inspiring, that the aftermath had to disappoint.

Seemingly simple campaign pledges turn out to be intractable problems. Closing Guantanamo and ending ''don't ask, don't tell'' are easier to proclaim than achieve. This is no surprise to anyone who took the time to wonder how, exactly, these would be accomplished. But campaigns worry about election first, implementation later.

Clear positions yield to political realities. Having Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices gives way to the need to get drug companies on board. The campaign climate-change plan to auction off all emissions permits morphs, without a presidential peep, into a House-passed measure that would hand out 85 percent of the permits as political candy to mollify lawmakers in districts that would be hard hit by strict emissions limits.

Especially in the arena of national security and foreign policy, the situation looks more complex from the vantage point of the Situation Room than it did from the campaign trail. It is easy to proclaim the need ''to restore our Constitution and the rule of law,'' harder to resist a continuation of Bush administration policies on issues such as the invocation of the ''state secrets'' privilege and the use of presidential signing statements.

It is easy to talk about a new era of engagement with Iran and North Korea, harder to figure out what to do when those regimes — murdering protesting citizens or conducting provocative missile launches — prove intransigent.

But the greatest peril for Obama, I think, lies in the question of whether he can produce the new, post-partisan, surmounting-special-interests politics that he envisioned during the campaign. In a month of raucous town-hall meetings and stalled legislation, that hardly seems likely. The story about the secret deal with Tauzin can only deepen the skepticism.

Which leads to the core question facing the still-young administration: What happens when people start to wonder whether they can really believe in this change?
Marcus is a Washington Post columnist. She can be marcusr@washpost.com.