Carney: Obama Was For Signing Statements Before He Was Against Them

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.

Source: RealClearPolitics

Jonathan Turley

69 thoughts on “Carney: Obama Was For Signing Statements Before He Was Against Them

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/04/19/us/politics/AP-US-US-WikiLeaks-Army-Private.html?_r=2&hp

    WikiLeaks Suspect Being Moved Out of Quantico

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Published: April 19, 2011 at 8:02 PM ET

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army private suspected of giving classified data to WikiLeaks is being moved to a state-of-the-art facility at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where Pentagon officials said more extensive mental, emotional and physical health care will be available.

    Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s top lawyer, said the move does not suggest that Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s treatment at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., was inappropriate.

    But the transfer, which Johnson described as “imminent”, comes in the wake of international criticism about Manning’s treatment during his detention at the Marine Corps base at Quantico. And the conditions of Manning’s detention have been the focus of repeated protests from human rights groups and lawmakers.

    Johnson, however, said that “The fact that we have made a decision to transfer this particular pretrial confine … should not be interpreted as a criticism of the place he was before.”

    Speaking to reporters Tuesday during a hastily arranged briefing, Johnson and Army Undersecretary Joseph Westphal acknowledged that the brig at Quantico was not designed to hold pretrial detainees for more than a few months.

    “This is the right decision, at the right time,” said Westphal. “We were looking at a situation where he would need an environment more conducive for a longer detention.”

    The new facility, they said, will be more open, have more space, and Manning will have a greater opportunity to eat and interact with other prisoners there. They added that the move was in Manning’s best interest because Leavenworth’s Joint Regional Correctional Facility has a broader array of facilities, including trained mental, emotional and physical health staff.

    Lt. Col. Dawn Hilton, who is in charge of the medium-security detention facility at Leavenworth, said Manning will undergo a comprehensive evaluation upon his arrival to assess whether he is a risk to his own or others’ safety. The 150 inmates there — including eight who are awaiting trial — are allowed three hours of recreation per day, she said, and three meals a day in a dining area.

    She said the facility, which opened in January, is designed for long-term detention of pretrial inmates. Officials agreed that Manning’s case, which involves hundreds of thousands of highly sensitive and classified documents, is very complex and could drag on for months, if not years.

    Johnson said that Manning, who has been at Quantico for more than eight months, can be moved now because his interview in the Washington region to determine his competency to stand trial has been completed. That interview lasted one day and was done April 9.

    Johnson also said he believes that Manning’s lawyer was told about the move Tuesday. The lawyer, David Coombs, did not respond to a request for comment.

    Manning faces nearly two dozen charges, including aiding the enemy, a crime that can bring the death penalty or life in prison.

    His transfer to Leavenworth comes a bit more than a week after a U.N. torture investigator complained that he was denied a request to make an unmonitored visit to Manning. Pentagon officials said he could meet with Manning, but it is customary to give only the detainee’s lawyer confidential visits.

    The U.N. official, Juan Mendez, said a monitored conversation would be counter to the practice of his U.N. mandate.

    A few days later, a committee of Germany’s parliament protested about Manning’s treatment to the White House. And Amnesty International has said Manning’s treatment may violate his human rights.

    Human rights activists have also staged protests near the Quantico facility.

    Tom Parker, a policy director at Amnesty International, said Tuesday that it would be good if the military was responding to concerns about Manning’s detention.

    “The conditions that he was reported to be held in at Quantico were extremely harsh and could have damaged his mental health,” said Parker.

    Manning has been held in maximum security in a single-occupancy cell at Quantico, and he is allowed to wear only a suicide-proof smock to bed each night.

    At least part of that will not change, Hilton said, noting that all of the pretrial detainees at the Leavenworth facility are held alone in their cells.

    President Barack Obama and senior military officials have repeatedly contended that Manning is being held under appropriate conditions given the seriousness of the charges against him.

    A former intelligence analyst, Manning is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, including Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, confidential State Department cables and a classified military video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack in Iraq that killed a Reuters news photographer and his driver.

    Army prosecutors, however, have told Manning’s lawyers that they will not recommend the death penalty.

    There are several detention facilities at Fort Leavenworth, including the military’s maximum security prison. The new 464-bed Joint Regional Correctional Facility, which opened last fall, combined the operations of several military prisons around the country.

    ___

    Associated Press National Security Correspondent Robert Burns contributed to this report.

    ___

    Online:

    Joint Regional Correctional Facility: http://www.army.mil/jrcf

  2. what is being ignored by everyone is the fact that every president since eisenhower is owned and operated by the elites. what is also being ignored by the main stream media is what they are printing in the news is NOT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD. not everyone is misinformed but millions are. there is NO LONGER A GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE. the government has been turned into a corporation. with barack ostupid as the ceo. he had no intentions of keeping any of his campaign promises. and he hasnt. he has continously made life harder for anyone not of the uber rich circle. they are no longer even bothering to try to hide what they are doing to the country. there is a site named educate-yourself.org that is one of a few legit sites that does what it can to INFORM THE PEOPLE OF THE TRUTH. of course because of that truth the sites owners are constantly under attack but all it takes if for you learn the truth make your informed decisions after doing some extensive research and you will find out what is about to happen to all of us!!!!!!

  3. Aint_Mizbahavin,

    Isn’t that a site that talks to aliens … no way I’m clicking on that one …

    Sigh … it’s Thursday … time to welcome the trolls

  4. Elaine,

    Extraterrestrials … I believe some of the people on that site talk to them too. I’ve never visited the site but I’ve read about it … don’t want to have my IP address show up there … the aliens might come through the intertubes and get me.

  5. […] This Obama-Herring approach to “governing,” goes well beyond the kind of nullification some constitutional conservatives advocate. Unlike the President, they seek to nullify only laws that they deem unconstitutional, not merely laws they think unwise. And unlike both the President and Herring, they suggest nullification through duly-adopted state legislation, not by the unilateral decision of an executive officer. (Needless to say, the Obama-Herring practice also goes well beyond President George W. Bush’s practice of issuing interpretive “signing statements,” which libera… […]

  6. […] The Obama-Herring approach to “governing” goes well beyond the kind of nullification some constitutional conservatives advocate. Unlike the President, they seek to nullify only laws that they deem unconstitutional, not merely laws they think unwise. And unlike both the President and Herring, they suggest nullification through duly-adopted state legislation, not by the unilateral decision of an executive officer. (Needless to say, the Obama-Herring practice also goes well beyond President George W. Bush’s practice of issuing interpretive “signing statements,” which libera… […]

  7. […] The Obama-Herring approach to “governing” goes well beyond the kind of nullification some constitutional conservatives advocate. Unlike the President, they seek to nullify only laws that they deem unconstitutional, not merely laws they think unwise. And unlike both the President and Herring, they suggest nullification through duly-adopted state legislation, not by the unilateral decision of an executive officer. (Needless to say, the Obama-Herring practice also goes well beyond President George W. Bush’s practice of issuing interpretive “signing statements,” … […]

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