The Boston Globe has a seven page article running that notes that suffering from unprecedented delusions of grandeur, Bush says he can violate laws because, well, he's Bush and he interprets the Constitution as he sees fit.
The article highlights Bush's modus operandi:
Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead, he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes praise upon their work.
Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files ''signing statements" -- official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. The statements are recorded in the federal register.
In his signing statements, Bush has repeatedly asserted that the Constitution gives him the right to ignore numerous sections of the bills -- sometimes including provisions that were the subject of negotiations with Congress in order to get lawmakers to pass the bill. He has appended such statements to more than one of every 10 bills he has signed.
''He agrees to a compromise with members of Congress, and all of them are there for a public bill-signing ceremony, but then he takes back those compromises -- and more often than not, without the Congress or the press or the public knowing what has happened," said Christopher Kelley, a Miami University of Ohio political science professor who studies executive power.
The article goes on to list some of these:
--Bush states as Commander-In-Chief, he can ignore any and all acts of Congress that control the military and do whatever he wants. One non-Iraq example:
On at least four occasions while Bush has been president, Congress has passed laws forbidding US troops from engaging in combat in Colombia, where the US military is advising the government in its struggle against narcotics-funded Marxist rebels.
After signing each bill, Bush declared in his signing statement that he did not have to obey any of the Colombia restrictions because he is commander in chief.
--He eliminates all over-sight programs created by Congress saying, essentially, "Fuck ya'll, I dont' have to tell you shit":
In December 2004, Congress passed an intelligence bill requiring the Justice Department to tell them how often, and in what situations, the FBI was using special national security wiretaps on US soil. The law also required the Justice Department to give oversight committees copies of administration memos outlining any new interpretations of domestic-spying laws. And it contained 11 other requirements for reports about such issues as civil liberties, security clearances, border security, and counternarcotics efforts.
After signing the bill, Bush issued a signing statement saying he could withhold all the information sought by Congress.
The same thing occured when the DHS was created. In a similar vein, he has said he alone can squash federal whistle-blower protections.
If we go further into the egomaniacal, Bush has also "said in his signing statements that the Constitution lets him control any executive official, no matter what a statute passed by Congress might say". How do the Repubs in congress feel about this crap? He's pissing on them and yet they lap it up like it's life-giving water.
--He says the same thing to the Supreme Court:
the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld affirmative-action programs, as long as they do not include quotas. Most recently, in 2003, the court upheld a race-conscious university admissions program over the strong objections of Bush, who argued that such programs should be struck down as unconstitutional.
Yet despite the court's rulings, Bush has taken exception at least nine times to provisions that seek to ensure that minorities are represented among recipients of government jobs, contracts, and grants. Each time, he singled out the provisions, declaring that he would construe them ''in a manner consistent with" the Constitution's guarantee of ''equal protection" to all -- which some legal scholars say amounts to an argument that the affirmative-action provisions represent reverse discrimination against whites.
Golove said that to the extent Bush is interpreting the Constitution in defiance of the Supreme Court's precedents, he threatens to ''overturn the existing structures of constitutional law."
Examples of Bush's signing statements.
The article goes into a bit of history about signing statements and notes that they weren't a typical thing until the mid-80's when Atty. Gen. Meese decided that the statements could help presidential influence. It also notes that both presidents since had objected to provisions in laws requiring the president to get permission from a congressional committee before acting but HW Bush and Clinton both used the veto that Congress could override, not signing statements that Congress can't, if they had problem with a bill.
Defenders of the administration point out that eventhough Bush has said he doesn't have to obey a law, he still has with some of them. Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard prof, has defended the signing statements saying:
"Nobody reads them. They have no significance. Nothing in the world changes by the publication of a signing statement. The statements merely serve as public notice about how the administration is interpreting the law. Criticism of this practice is surprising, since the usual complaint is that the administration is too secretive in its legal interpretations."
But it's not "nobody" that reads them. As PSU prof Cooper (who studied all of Bush's first term statements) said:
"[T]he documents are being read closely by one key group of people: the bureaucrats who are charged with implementing new laws.
Lower-level officials will follow the president's instructions even when his understanding of a law conflicts with the clear intent of Congress, crafting policies that may endure long after Bush leaves office."
Even Bruce Fein, a deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, is critical of this:
"This is an attempt by the president to have the final word on his own constitutional powers, which eliminates the checks and balances that keep the country a democracy. There is no way for an independent judiciary to check his assertions of power, and Congress isn't doing it, either. So this is moving us toward an unlimited executive power."
You see, Bush is making everything "easier", as he wanted it to be back in 1998. You know, just as long as he is the dictator.