July 10, 2009

IN THE BOSTON GLOBE, ALEX BEAM:

It is inevitable in modern American politics that each new president inaugurates his own brand of bushwa – rubbish, lies, eyewash, whatever you choose to call it – that reminds one of nothing so much as the previous guy’s bushwa. Mr. Obama is no exception. . . . Remember signing statements? Those were the dastardly little postscripts George Bush attached to legislation that he didn’t completely approve of. Signing statements ignore the “fundamental principle’’ of the separation of powers, the American Bar Association huffed. On the campaign trail, candidate Obama was asked, “Do you promise not to use presidential [signing statements] to get your way?’’ “Yes,’’ he answered. “I taught the Constitution for 10 years, I believe in the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We are not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress.’’

That was easy!

Less easy is explaining away his six signing statements so far, an impressive one-a-month clip. “Signing statements serve a legitimate function in our system,’’ Obama now says, “at least when based on well-founded constitutional objections.’’ Mr. President, meet my friend George Orwell, inventor of Newspeak, who memorably wrote, “Political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.’’

New bushwa same as the old bushwa? It’s a lot less different than we had been led to believe.

Hope and Change Same!

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