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revefsreleets 08-09-2009 04:16 PM

They are starting to eat their own...
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.

millwalldavey 08-09-2009 05:39 PM

Re: They are starting to eat their own...
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.

revefsreleets 08-09-2009 08:06 PM

Re: They are starting to eat their own...
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 11:52 PM

Re: They are starting to eat their own...
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!

revefsreleets 08-10-2009 09:21 AM

Re: They are starting to eat their own...
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...

revefsreleets 08-10-2009 09:41 AM

Re: They are starting to eat their own...
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, 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

fansince'76 08-10-2009 11:00 AM

Re: They are starting to eat their own...

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....

revefsreleets 08-10-2009 11:30 AM

Re: They are starting to eat their own...
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...

PisnNapalm 08-10-2009 11:33 AM

Re: They are starting to eat their own...
We have a No0b in the White House.

Dino 6 Rings 08-10-2009 12:37 PM

Re: They are starting to eat their own...
Do as I say, not as I do.

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