Obama signing statement on war funding bill: Left is curiously silent
Don't you miss the good old days of Bush's "unitary executive" presidency? The left got its panties in a twist every time Bush signed a bill and issued a signing statement listing his objections. They tried to outdo each other in outrage when talking about "dictatorship" and the like whenever these signing statements were published.
Sometimes it was even front page news in the New York Times and Washington Post. "Balance of Power!" "Unitary executive!" "Bush is Hitler - or Worse!"
My how times have changed:
President Obama signed the $106 billion war-spending bill into law Friday, but not without taking a page from his predecessor and ignoring a few elements in legislation.
Obama included a five-paragraph signing statement with the bill, including a final paragraph that outlined his objections to at least four areas of the bill.
The Obama administration announced in the statement it would disregard provisions of the legislation that, among other things, would compel the Obama administration to pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards and require the Treasury department to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
"Provisions of this bill...would interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments, or by requiring consultation with the Congress prior to such negotiations or discussions," Obama said in a statement.
"I will not treat these provisions as limiting my ability to engage in foreign diplomacy or negotiations," he added.
The sections in question would compel the administration to direct its World Bank representatives to pressure that institution to use metrics that "fairly represent the value of internationally recognized workers' rights. Organized labor groups had pushed for a revision of those standards.
Michael O'Brien wrote the piece quoted above for The Hill's blog, the Briefing Room. And John McCormack of the Weekly Standard blog reminds us that Obama made a big deal during the campaign of promising to end the nefarious practice of the Bush administration issuing signing statements:
Here's Obama on tape at the WS blog:
What George Bush has been trying to do as part of his effort to accumulate more power in the presidency is he's been saying 'well I can basically change what Congress passed by attaching a letter saying I don't agree with this part or I don't agree with that part. I'm gonna choose to interpret it this way or that way.' That's not part of his power. But this is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he's going along. I disagree with that. I taught the constitution for 10 years. I believe in the constitution, and I will obey the Constitution of the United States.
We're not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress.
Sounds like an "end run around Congress" to me. But then, I am not blessed with the childlike mind of many liberals who would defend this action by saying "Bush did it too" while forgetting the years of hand wringing and outrage over the exact same practice that Obama is engaging in today.
The crickets are chirping on the left, but it hardly hides the towering hypocrisy of their position on this issue.