2007: the "Imperial President" Bush uses signing statements to explain his disagreement with specific provisions of legislation he signs. Liberals thundered about impeachment. Liberal journalist Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe won a Pulitzer for his continuing coverage of the "Constitutional crisis"...
In 2008 the President said this from the campaign trail:
"I disagree with that [issuing signing statements]. 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." - Barack Obama (May 2008)
Now, Mr. Obama has issued more than 20 signing statements so far.The silence is deafening, the slobbering media could care less, it's their guy in the Oval Office, and Obama is objecting among other things to a conscience clause protecting chaplains from being forced to perform gay marriages, a provision objected to by his radical gay allies.
(Kind of like filibuster "reform": 2005 it was labelled the "nuclear option" when Republicans who controlled the Senate toyed with this idea...now the media cheerleads for it...)
Perhaps the greatest irony of the Obama Presidency is how much it has vindicated the antiterror strategy of its predecessor. The latest example is President Obama's vexed statement in signing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013.
Last week, President Obama wrote that "though I continue to oppose certain sections" of the defense bill, "the need to renew critical defense authorities and funding was too great" not to sign it. In his latest, Mr. Obama also criticized Congress for trying to limit his "constitutional duty to supervise the executive branch." This sounds a lot like the theory of the "unitary executive" that turned Bush-era officials like John Yoo into pariahs in the legal academy. Obama even suggested that if a provision "operates in a manner that violates constitutional separation of powers principles," he'll ignore it.
Democrats and most liberal journalists are now mute at this irony, though some on the anti-antiterror left admit they've been had. Andrea Prasow of Human Rights Watch declared last week that Mr. Obama should have vetoed the law: "The administration blames Congress for making it harder to close Guantánamo, yet for a second year President Obama has signed damaging Congressional restrictions into law."