Bush pushed the limitations of the executive to the outer limits, taking over important tasks normally left for the courts and the legislative branch. He shifted certain responsibilities such as moving nation building from the cia to the dod.
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Everyone screamed about it, but no one did anything.
When Obama came in, we naturally assumed that he'd return government to an even keel by voluntarily shifting these responsibilities back where they belonged. He as much as promised he would.
However, limiting the executive is not the job of the president. The courts and legislature limit the presidency.
Instead of voluntarily withdrawing from the bush-stolen powers, Obama has continued to hold and use these powers while tacitly leaving these things open for adjustment by congress and the courts. If I were a prognosticating person I would predict that shortly he'll do some signing statements just like Bush's, probably some that turn the law on its head until it turns blue. Why shouldn't he?
When he uses signing statements like Bush did, the gop will scream bloody murder. Bills will be introduced to limit the power of the president to "adjust" the law with signing statements. One or more of these bills will be passed and the powers of the president will be changed by law, not by the president voluntarily standing back. Thus the president will limit the power of the president to do signing statements.
The president allows his Bush-admin-holdouts in Justice to continue to pursue court battles to retain the power of the president. Will republican-appointed judges go along with a democratic president wielding virtually unlimited power? I'm betting not. Thus the courts will rein in the presidency, at last issuing precedent-setting limitations on these powers.
I don't know if it's true and I have no successes to point to, but people keep reminding me that Obama is a seasoned and skilled poker player while the GOP has yet to master Go Fish. One of his skills is to lure the opposition into overreaching, going all-in and bluffing on a single pair of twos while he bemoans the poor hands he's been dealt.
The GOP will wait for the president to fold on the last round of bets, but with resignation, he will say, "In for a dime, in for a dollar" and lay down his money and call.
The GOP will lay down its pair of twos and Obama will shake his head as if he has lost while he lays down his own cards--a pair of threes. Because he respects the dignity of man and is bipartisan, he will let the GOP believe that they barely lost while he hides the three aces that complete his full boat. Thus the GOP never realizes how badly it has played. Nor does the GOP realize how it has been played.
We have read neither the last page in this book nor the last page in this chapter. This isn't a good time to start despairing.
As Interior Secretary, Salazar is allowing all kinds of nearly extinct creatures to be taken off the endangered species list. This pisses me off and I'll bet it pisses off a lot of republicans (not all republicans want to pave the earth and kill all the woodland creatures). I know it pisses off 99% of democrats. So Salazar is going to have many of his revisions to the endangered species list reversed summarily. If we're lucky, congress will take the ball and begin to draw up some ironclad guidelines for how a species can be removed which will affect Salazar, but will even more powerfully affect Dioxin Dolly when she is named Interior Secretary under the next Reagan-Lite president they elect.
When Obama does something that makes you want to scream, try figuring out how this could actually redound to the benefit of progressives, the environment, and the cause of Democracy.
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