February 01, 2006

Unsurprised Conservatives

by PG

While I don't expect to be in the loop on what the White House is planning, I would have thought that signed Alito-supporters* like Will Baude would be more on top of these things ;-)

Will looks at President Bush's remark in the State of the Union that "I am pleased that members of Congress are working on earmark reform because the federal budget has too many special interest projects. And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto," and says, "So this is very odd, since Clinton's Line-Item Veto was struck down as unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York." It may be odd from a legal perspective (Sen. Robert Byrd: "It is a malformed monstrosity, born out of wedlock") but not at all from a political one. Check it:

The Hill, 2/10/04: "President Bush is seeking line-item veto power in an effort to curtail congressional spending and reduce the debt, and one senior White House adviser expressed confidence that the president can be given the authority without violating the Constitution."

Town Hall, 9/5/04: Analysis of why Kerry didn't make a proposal, in his role as senator, to make good on his campaign promise, "I'm going to resubmit a line-item veto structure that will pass constitutional muster and get the waste and the pork and the special interest deals out of the system."

White House press conference, 11/4/04: Bush stated that he "would like to see the President have a line-item veto again, one that passed constitutional muster. I think it would help the executive branch work with the legislative branch to make sure that were able to maintain budget discipline." Less than a month later, a Senate researcher popped out an analysis that ended with the usual conclusion that a line-item-veto, in whatever guise, shifts power to the president in a way that makes Congress more likely to behave irresponsibly.

Christian Science Monitor (OK, a stretch to call this conservative), 11/23/04: Endorses enhanced recission.

Hoover Institution (also in The New Republic, Weekly Standard and Reason magazine), 12/15/04: Suggested not only a Constitutional Amendment, but also the lesser-known possibilities of impoundment (which presidents Jefferson through Nixon had) and enhanced recission, though the author sensibly noted, "In the eighteen months that he enjoyed line-item veto authority, President Clinton targeted only eighty-two programs, thirty-eight of which were restored by Congress for an overall savings of a mere $2 billion -- a drop in the federal bucket." Nonetheless, a lewrockwell.com column responded with "Are Conservatives Nave or Just Plain Stupid?"

The Corner, 9/26/05: "Senators Jim Talent (R., Mo.) and George Allen (R., Va.) are holding a press conference tomorrow announcing that they are going to introduce a constitutional amendment to create a line-item veto." Such an amendment supposedly would be more in line with what the Great Reagan wanted anyway.

The Corner also set the stage for the SOTU announcement this week with a stream of posts on the LIV:
Lopez quoting the Wall Street Journal;
Derbyshire How-'bout-that-line-item-veto?; and
Miller replying, "The most judicially acceptable version of the line-item veto may be something called enhanced rescission authority. Reform-minded congressman, such as Jeb Hensarling and Paul Ryan, are strong supporters of it. Maybe we can trick lefties into backing 'the new E.R.A.'"

Said lefties, focused on calling the president's signing statements a covert form of line item veto, for the most part seem to have become aware of the impending explicit LIV only with the SOTU. However, they don't appear likely to get tricked into backing anything that comes anywhere close to giving Bush more power.

* In case there was any remaining uncertainty of whether it was liberals or conservatives who did Harriet Miers in:

Though forced to stare upward at his questioners for four days, Judge Alito, like John Roberts before him, has been the largest presence in the room. This hearing makes clear that those of us who opposed Harriet Miers's nomination were right. She or anyone of her inexperience would have transformed the committee Democrats into the legal heavyweights, handing down lectures on "rights" and moral punctiliousness. They would have turned Ms. Miers inside out. Instead they got a member of the Federalist Society with more than enough mental firepower.
Since 1982, the Federalist Society's main purpose has been to create robust conservative legal theories and smart judges.

February 1, 2006 11:58 PM | TrackBack
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