Obama Vows to Undo Bush Executive Orders


eRobin at Fact-esque has been saying for a couple of weeks that we need to demand from Democratic candidates statements to the effect that they will definitely overturn Bushian anti-Constitutional imperalist power-grabs, while noting that only Chris Dodd has done so – albeit in a limited, lame shuffle that leaves him lots of wiggle room.

Today at Yearly Kos, in answer to a questioner during the Q&A session, Barack Obama became the second candidate to take a stance, and there was nothing wishy-washy about it. No transcript and I can’t type fast enough to give you his statement verbatim but this is pretty close: he said that virtually all of the Bush/Cheney power grabs had come in the form of executive fiats, and pointed out that that meant that when he became president, he could use executive fiats to reverse Bush’s orders, and he would.

The crowd applauded, of course, but he then added that he thought there could be good reasons for signing statements and that he wouldn’t promise not to use them.

That, in a nutshell, is what makes supporting Obama so frustrating. Whatever he gives with one hand, he takes away with the other. He has a good, potentially workable health care plan, but then it turns out he’s going to maintain the participation of private, for-profit insurers who will game the system, whatever it is, the way they always do. He wants to get out of Iraq but only, apparently, so he can send the Army back into Afghanistan. It all amounts to talking left even as he gives the right most of what it wants.

This makes him a good politician but a good president? Not so much.

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4 responses to “Obama Vows to Undo Bush Executive Orders

  1. Good for him. I hope he means it. I hope he says it to a wider audience than the YK crowd. If he did, it may actually get some attention unlike when Dodd does it. (not Dodd’s fault, just saying)

  2. Signing statements aren’t necessarily horrible. The trick is to use them exceedingly sparingly. I can see why he’d want to make that distinction.

  3. I suppose so but I confess I don’t like them. They amount to a unilateral rewriting of bills or laws without the consent of Congress at best, and a declaration by the president that he’s going to ignore what the Congress has just done, at worst. I can see no legitimate use for them, and certainly no Constitutional basis for them. It seems like the chicken’s way out of doing the work the president is supposed to do before the bill or law is passed.

  4. When Clinton used them, it seems to me it was more to clarify the executive branch position than to disagree with (and vow not to enforce)what the R. congress had voted in. So for that use, I could certainly see a need for them. What Bush has done has gone against the original intention of signing statements, seems to me, in a very excessive and aggressive fashion. I still imagine the right would very much be against any signing statements were Obama to become president. Wonder how much we’ll hear about that issue when the time comes?

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