The only thing I find more shocking than President Bush's use of signing statements is the public's apparent apathy toward this practice. We were appalled by Watergate. And Iran-contra. Then the Lewinsky scandal. But signing statements, whereby the President chooses to modify a bill through executive "interpretation," are a clear violation of the Constitution. And he has done it more than 500 times.
The Constitution, as we all know, is the law of the land and not even our President is above it. The Constitution clearly states "if he approves he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated."
The President does not have a line-item veto: This has been upheld by the Supreme Court. Only this month has he vetoed a bill for the first time. But by issuing signing statements, he is effectively saying that he can sign a bill and only enforce the parts he agrees with. That is not what our system of government allows.
So why isn't this front-page news? Why aren't people marching in the streets?
The same people who laugh off the threat of global warming are also the ones who call anyone unpatriotic a traitor, someone who doesn't think we need to change our core American values by limiting our freedoms, privacy, and so-called "unalienable" rights in the face of the threat of terrorists.
Where is the principle, the consistency, in this way of thinking? And since when is someone a "traitor" for sticking up for those core American values? Our political leaders should not use such divisive rhetoric to discuss the threats that face all Americans.
I think that we can be confident that the science behind global warming is on surer footing than the intelligence behind Saddam's WMD program or his ties to 9/11.
Plus, the solution to the problem of global warming - finding and employing renewable energy resources and reducing our dependence on Middle East oil - will go a long way toward weakening the hand of those theocratic political extremists and terrorists who stoke hatred and violence against the West. We Americans ought to unite as a nation to confront our current situation.
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