Monday :: May 1, 2006

Why There Has Never Been a Bush Veto

by paradox

There has always been a quirky, stark notation about the Bush presidency: Bush has never issued a veto. Not one.

The last time this happened was 1880, when assassination prevented Garfield from a veto. Two other presidents had short terms and never vetoed a bill (Harrison and Taylor), while four early presidents (Adams, Jefferson, JQ Adams, Fillmore) didn’t have that many bills sent to them, so they didn’t have as many chances to veto.

127 years since there has been a president with no veto—why? Many have usually notched this up to normal Bush incompetence: the simpleton from Texas who can’t or won’t comprehend DC legislative processes.

Another explanation has been a seamless Bush cohesion with a Republican Congress, but this seems unlikely, for Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson and Carter had Democratic Congresses and all of them issued plenty of vetoes.

Five years into Bush’s Presidency, however, the answer is becoming increasingly clear: Bush has never vetoed a bill because he thinks the law is irrelevant to him, a brand new ascendancy of imperial Presidential powers beholden to no man or law.

In one of the most arrogant, appalling and audacious acts by any President, Bush has signed bills with additional “signing statements” that essentially say even though Congress passed this law and Bush swore on the bible to uphold the law, well shucks, that was just a show for the rubes on television, patriotic suckers. The signing statement says Bush can ignore any element of this law whenever he wants to. Because Bush says so, that’s why, screw 225 years of democratic government.

Why veto anything one is simply going to ignore anyway? That, after all this time and hundreds of thousands of words puzzling over the answer, turns out to be the answer after all: Bush has never vetoed a bill because the law means nothing to him.

To state the screamingly obvious, this amazing scenario—a concrete reality at this very moment in the United States, the world’s oldest democracy—chucks the country into the shitcan. Congress is meaningless, the law can be subverted at any time by the president’s order, and thus the Bill of Rights quietly dies, the bedrock of every citizen’s existence.

Special care should be taken not to dismiss this development as a personal quirk of Bush or the presidency itself. Again, the law of the United States may be subverted at the presidents order: Bush can start a war, for example, in flagrant defiance of the law and there’s nothing the country can do about it. Bush has taken these dictorial powers for himself but his actions directly affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Thank you so much, imbeciles Rehnquist, Thomas, Scalia, O’Connor, and Kennedy. When you took a dump on the constitution, the court and the county and even your own stated principles in stealing the presidency for this war felon Bush Pandora’s box was opened on all our current horror: war without end, bankruptcy, international loathing, gross environmental degradation, horrifying poverty and inequality, rule of law gone. How proud you must be.

Worst of all, no remedy whatsoever to fix it. With the law meaningless Congress is irrelevant. One might go through the motions of voting in a new Congress, but of course the United States has lost its voting machines along with the law, so this path seems fruitless, but the country may yet not be that far gone.

a democratic Congress can be elected in 2006 impeachment of Bush and Cheney could possibly right the country back on a democratic path. What is totally certain as of this moment, however, is that the democracy has been lost, our country is gone, and what we thought we knew as the Bill of Rights, shielding us from the worst impulses of man and government, is, incredibly, no longer in existence.

This has to be one of the central, simple messages of Election 2006: Bush has never vetoed a bill because the law means nothing to him. Without the law our country is gone, and a dictator has replaced what we thought was the presidency. Vote in a Democratic Congress to impeach Bush and Cheney, install a caretaker Executive, and attempt to get our country back.

Special thanks to Glenn Greenwald, Markos, Atrios, Digby, Josh, and the blogosphere for all the background knowledge and work on this.

paradox :: 6:58 AM :: Comments (11) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!