In his first six years in office, and joined at the hip with a Republican Politburo Rubber Stamp Congress so completely faithless to the Constitution that it ceded every possible power to the president, George W. Bush found it necessary to veto a grand total of one bill: stem-cell research. Everything else he wanted deep-sixed (and there was plenty, despite Congress having prostrated itself before Zod Bush) was sent to the Phantom Zone via the now-infamous "signing statements."
Back in May, Bush issued the second veto of his presidency, to kill the supplemental Iraq occupation spending bill he'd requested, because it actually demanded he fish or cut bait.
Turns out that vetoes and threats of vetoes are a habit Bush has taken a shine to:
Bush Is Prepared to Veto Bill to Expand Child Insurance
By ROBERT PEAR
WASHINGTON, July 14 — The White House said on Saturday that President Bush would veto a bipartisan plan to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program, drafted over the last six months by senior members of the Senate Finance Committee.
The vow puts Mr. Bush at odds with the Democratic majority in Congress, with a substantial number of Republican lawmakers and with many governors of both parties, who want to expand the popular program to cover some of the nation’s eight million uninsured children.
Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, said: "The president’s senior advisers will certainly recommend a veto of this proposal. And there is no question that the president would veto it."
Sure, but that's just one bill. Right? Well, let's put it in context:
Faced with a Congress working to take America in a new direction, President Bush—who vetoed nothing during his first five and a half years in office—has now vetoed 2 bills and threatened to veto 16 more. The Democratic-led House of Representatives has passed legislation to address the toughest challenges we face—working together to defend our country, restore accountability, grow our economy, strengthen our families, and preserve our planetmost with a bi-partisan majority. Unfortunately, the President has been a stubborn opponent of progress for the American people on these key issues. He opposes or has threatened to veto 60 percent of the House's work. [Emphasis added.]
The Children's Health Insurance Program bill makes 17. What else is on the block?
- The College Cost Reduction Act - H.R. 2669
- Homeland Security Appropriations - H.R. 2638
- State-Foreign Operations Appropriations - H.R. 2764
- Interior-Environment Appropriations - H.R. 2643
- The Energy Price Gouging Act – H.R. 1252
- The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act - H.R. 2264
- FY 2008 Defense Authorization Bill - H.R. 1585
- FY 2008 Homeland Security Authorization - H.R. 1684
- Hate Crimes Prevention Act – H.R. 1592
- D.C. Voting Rights Act – H.R. 1905
- Rail and Mass Transit Security Act - H.R. 1401
- Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 - H.R. 1255
- Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007 - H.R. 985
- Reauthorizing Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund - H.R. 720
- Employee Free Choice Act - H.R. 800
- Requiring Medicare to Negotiate Lower Prescription Drug Prices - H.R. 4
[Note: This -- the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act -- makes 18. For more on which, see the very last link, below.]
Now, there are a few easy shots that can be taken here. One is that these bills represent all the "oxygen" impeachment advocates were told they would be "sucking up" if the Congress were to put that option "on the table." So, everyone, how's your breathing?
But look, there's still time. Who knows what will happen, right? Bush could change his mind. He could find himself somehow so politically weakened and isolated that he can't afford to follow through on his vow to veto these bills. It could happen.
Another shot would have to be aimed directly at those who, I think, underestimated Bush's intransigence. Back in March of 2006, I had an exchange with someone who, I think it's fair to say, represented the views of a good number of people both here and around the country. The gist of the challenge to me was that the president to that point had never vetoed anything. Was he really going to start vetoing popular bills in the sixth year of his presidency, just as he became a lame duck? That, it was thought, was giving his brazenness too much respect.
Now, that's offered not to call that particular person to account. I only bring it up to the extent that it was necessary to illustrate the point with a direct example, and I'm sorry to have to put anyone in particular on the spot. It's surely something less than fair to do, on the front page in particular. And we should recognize that it was surely, at least at the time, a view not completely unfounded in reality, and he could hardly be blamed for taking it. But with the benefit of 16 months of hindsight, I think we may be starting to see the outlines of an answer taking shape, don't you think? That's the important thing.
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