Signing statements and Congress goes to camp:
The WaPo reports today:
"President Bush reserved the right to ignore key changes in Congress's overhaul of the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- including a requirement to appoint someone with experience handling disasters as the agency's head -- in setting aside dozens of provisions contained in a major homeland security spending bill this week. . ." (Something tells me Chimpy wasn't the brains behind this move.)
White House spokesman Tony Fratto says, "there's nothing new here. The president has the authority to choose which of his subordinate officers he'll rely on." Of course, one might argue that, though it's true there's nothing new about W. claiming all kinds of authority the constitution doesn't give him, he kind of has to obey the law, which, incidentaly, the Congress writes.
But, what makes Congress think they can tell the president to do anything? I mean, seriously, it says right there in the constitution that the prez is the "unitary executive." If he wants to hire some stuffed shirt with an MBA to run FEMA, no congressman or sentator is going to tell him different. Where does Congress get off requiring that a candidate for a serious position like this should have at least five years of experience?
A good conservative pedigree and the right conections are all any government official needs. Just look at the examples of L. Paul Bremer or Michael Brown. They had no clue what they were doing and they did a heck of a job.
Although the brains-trust in the vice-president's office apparently think this Heimat Sicherheit spending bill is such a dire threat to the president's perogatives that it has to be nipped in the bud, one would think right now might not be the time to pull one of these boners. Considering all the problems they on their plate: Katrina, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, NSA spying, Gitmo, renditions, torture, Mark Foley, etc, you'd think someone with an eye on the elections would have put the nix on this -- but no.
Sorry, what am I thinking? This is so pre-9/11. All these political considerations are for the chattering classes to entertain themselves with. It makes no difference what anyone thinks about what this administration does. They don't listen to Congres and the Courts can't touch them (how many divisions do they have?). They're on a mission and nothing is going to stand in their way.
And thanks to John McCain and his merry band of GOP "rebels," W. now has the right to declare as an "enemy combatant" anyone he pleases and thanks to Lindsay Graham, they can't challenge their detention in court -- ever.
If the GOP loses control of Congress, who's to say Cheney doesn't pull out his list of domestic political "ememy combatants" and start sending them to camp?