Jay Carney says President Obama was never against signing statements, just when President Bush “abused” them. In the press conference, Jay Carney seems to morph with John Kerry, who believed he had found safe political ground by noting that he voted for something before voting against it. For his part, Obama morphed into George W. Bush a while back on civil liberties and constitutional issues.
As on so many issues of civil liberties and constitutional law, Obama appears determined to legitimate and expand on the Bush policies. There appears to be little concern over the direct conflicts in his positions in running for the office and his positions as president. The White House is now relying almost entirely on a cult of personality for liberals to ignore that fact that Obama now stands against many of the defining liberal and libertarian principles.
Carney was confronted over the Bush-like refusal of Obama to comply with federal law and to use signing statements. His response is truly Kerryesque:
“His concern was with what he saw as an abuse of the signing statement by the previous administration. So that the positions he took in signing statements on the budget bill entirely consistent with that position, you need to retain the right to, as president, to be able to issue those signing statements, but obviously they should not be abused.”
Here is what he said when running for this office in 2008:
“That’s not part of his power, but this is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he goes along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress,” then-Senator Obama said as a presidential candidate in 2008.
Carney’s statement is, however consistent with the White House approach in other areas. Obama has continued many of the policies of Bush in blocking the investigation of torture, fighting public interest lawsuits on privacy etc. The single consistent position appears to be “I am Barack Obama so it is better when I do it.” What is remarkable is that many Democrats appear to agree from their silence. Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer have even publicly praised Obama for his undeclared war in Libya. After all, it is Barack Obama and he was against undeclared wars before he was for them.