Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Joan Didion's essay about Dick Cheney...

[Addington] also authors the "signing statements" now routinely issued to free the President of whatever restrictive intent might have been present in whichever piece of legislation he just signed into law. A typical signing statement, as written by Addington, will refer repeatedly to the "constitutional authority" of "the unitary executive branch," and will often mention multiple points in a single bill that the President declines to enforce.

Signing statements are not new, but at the time Bill Clinton left office, the device had been used, by the first forty-two presidents combined, fewer than six hundred times. George W. Bush, by contrast, issued more than eight hundred such takebacks during the first six years of his administration. Those who object to this or any other assumption of absolute executive power are reflexively said by those who speak for the Vice President to be "tying the president's hands," or "eroding his ability to do his job," or, more ominously, "aiding those who don't want him to do his job."

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