The Madness of King George
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."
-George W. Bush, speaking on December 18, 2000
On April 30, the Boston Globe's Charlie Savage wrote a piece about King George's decision to "disobey" more than 750 laws enacted since he took office:
Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.Really big, very expansive, and very significant, yet this story hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. To its credit, the San Francisco Chronicle did a lengthy follow-up yesterday:
Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.
''There is no question that this administration has been involved in a very carefully thought-out, systematic process of expanding presidential power at the expense of the other branches of government," Cooper said. ''This is really big, very expansive, and very significant."
Among the most common targets of Bush's signing statements have been laws requiring his administration to disclose information, issue reports, appoint officials with specified qualifications, or consult with Congress on the implementation of a law. Bush has regularly reinterpreted these mandates as "advisory'' measures that he is free to ignore.This is a 'pretty big' story, yet our democratic media is spending more time on Patrick Kennedy.
Other statements have scuttled affirmative action programs, rejected congressional criteria for spending federal money, and declared that Bush would follow laws affecting international affairs only to the extent that they respected "the constitutional authority of the president to conduct the nation's foreign relations.''