Fair warning: if you haven’t already heard about this, it’ll likely give you a conniption fit.
Ready? All right, remember the McCain-Feingold anti-torture amendment that Bush/Cheney have been fighting frantically (because if America stands for anything, it’s the right to torture prisoners) for weeks and months?
And Bush/Cheney lost that battle, right? Last month, Bush announced that he was signing the bill, “…blah blah blah we do not torture, blah blah blah…”
But he didn’t sign it right then, on the day, the day with McCain and all the reporters. He didn’t sign the bill until last Friday, and when he signed it, he included with it an Interpretive Signing Statement.
“Um…er?”, I hear you cry. “Signing Statement? Should I care?”
Well, let me set the stage for you: on Monday, on The Rachel Maddow Show (“What? Her again!”), Rachel spoke about an article in The Washington Post on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, and how focused he is on increasing the power of the Chief Executive.
Alito, way, way long ago, had written an argument that the Chief Executive should include an Interpretive Signing Statement whenever he signed an important bill, indicating his intent, and directing the interpretation of the bill — it’s another way to increase the power of the Chief Executive, which is what Alito is all about.
So what did Bush’s Signing Statement on Friday say? Just that, in the event that National Security dictated it, he reserved the right to blow off the law that he was signing, whenever he felt like it.
Now, what kind of guy would spit in the face of Congress like this, on the very week before they were going to begin hearings on whether or not to approve the very judge who said that Presidents should spit early and often? I mean, presumably Congressmen don’t want to give up power any more than any other politicians. So, it doesn’t make sense, right?
No, but it’s exactly what King George has been doing since the day he wasn’t elected — it’s all of a piece with the recent spying scandal, basically “Screw you if think that you’re going to limit my power! I’m the fricking President! Damn the Courts! Damn the Constitution! It’s only a Goddamn piece of paper!” (He actually said this last sentence in front of multiple Republican members of Congress, though no one will go on the record to say so).
And here’s the thing: have you heard anything about this signing statement, which in my mind amounts to yet another Constitutional Crisis in a long string of them in recent months, from your usual news sources?
God help us all, still more than three years still to go. Happy New Year.
Read Sunday’s article in The Washington Post about Alito’s writing in support of Presidential Signing Statements.
Listen to Monday’s segment on The Rachel Maddow Show (Starts at 54:19) on the same topic.
Listen to Thursday’s segment on The Rachel Maddow Show (Starts at 50:40) about Bush’s Signing Statement on Friday.
Read the 155-page report from The People For The American Way on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, and/or the much shorter Executive Summary.