March 02, 2006

Bruce Reed Whigs Out

WOTS hates obviously wrong counter-intuitive arguments, a big problem with Slate, who would print "Mars, actually the blue planet" if it could. But e tu Bruce Reed? Brucey Bruce should know better than to try to associate George W. Bush with a political party from the mid-1800s (The Whigs, which with apologies to Dave Barry, would be a great name for a rock band). Bush has never been accused of being a student of anything (with the possible exception of male cheerleading), much less history.

If Bush were a Whig, principled deference to Congress would be the reason for his failure to veto any bill presented to him. The use of the word "principled" in the same sentence as "Bush" should raise a red flag to begin with. But Bush is no Whig anyway. No respectable Whig would ever use a "signing statement" to effectively tell Congress "this bill means whatever I think it does." Bush's frequent use of this novel scheme (one Sam Alito loves, not so incidentally) is further evidence that Bush's governing philosophy is "whatever I say goes" -- the imperial Presidency, indeed. Here, that includes agressive executive interpretation of legislation that may run directly contrary to Congressional intent -- as in the recent torture bill whose signing statment gave room to opt out of the bill entirely. In other places, it means ignoring the Constitution to spy on Americans without warrants and other less noble ventures.

The other truth, of course, is that Congress would need to pass legislation that Bush would veto. They haven't. So who is bowing down to who?

WOTS. Not bowing down to Slate since 2002. And it wouldn't have before that either.


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