The President, like any four-year old with a new toy, is mesmerized by this gadget and promises America he's going to play with it night and day. Saturday night, at a GOP fundraising dinner (I know, I'm incredulous, too, - apparently there are still people out there WILLING TO PAY MONEY to have dinner with this man??!!), Bush declared of his newly discovered magic marker with super powers:
"If the Democrats want to test us, that's why they give the president the veto. I'm looking forward to vetoing excessive spending, and I'm looking forward to having the United States Congress support my veto."
Being "The Deciderer" wasn't enough. He now wants to be the "VETOER."
The GOP's campaign to reign in Congress' out-of-control spending and pin the blame for the budget deficit on the Congressional Democrats has begun.
Democrats must have felt comfortable in the corner they got boxed into during the Iraq capitulation. Because here they go again. Might as well get comfie there, folks.
Could it be that someone over at the White House told Dubya the tale of how Bill Clinton's political fortunes rebounded following his budget showdown with Gingrich back in 1995? While there's a big difference between Clinton protecting popular programs from the conservative budget cutters and Bush reigning in pork and unecessary spending, both goals are popular with the general public.
Sadly, the Bush message "Congress is bad & the president is the public's last line of defense against wasteful spending" is an easy sell in a soundbite world. If you don't believe it can work, just look at how CNN is reporting the earmarks story. Democrats are suddenly responsible and it's resonating here among Kossacks.
The budget showdown is already underway. The White House has let it be known they are planning on vetoing the Homeland Security bill because the $37 billion passed by the House exceeds Bush's request by $2.1 billion. And the Dems don't have the votes to overide it.
That's just the beginning.
According to Robert Novak's June 18 article titled "Bush's Veto Strategy" Dubya has promised to whip out his handy-dandy new toy NINE times and VETO all but three of the dozen appropriations bills heading toward his desk this summer and fall.
Yes, he's planning on vetoing everything BUT Military Construction & Veterans Affairs; Legislative Branch; and Financial Services & General Govt. Novak writes (emphasis added):
Of the 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2008, only three will be signed by the president in the form shaped by the House. What's more, Bush correctly claimed he has the one-third plus one House votes needed to sustain these vetoes. The unpopular president is taking the offensive on fiscal responsibility. After bowing to Republican demands on earmarks, Democratic leadership face a battle of the budget.
Bush was the first president since John Quincy Adams not to exercise his veto power during a complete four-year term, even though the Republican-controlled Congress was on a spending spree.
The first appropriations bill to be vetoed, Homeland Security, raises spending 14 percent over the previous year, compared with 7 percent requested by the administration. Bush also objects to this measure because it applies higher wages under the Davis-Bacon Act to workers covered by the bill.
Bush next plans vetoes of the Energy-Water and Interior-Environment bills. The remaining vetoes would be on Labor, HHS, Education; Transportation and HUD; Commerce, Justice and Science; Agriculture and Rural Development; State and Foreign Operations (partly because the House bill omits the so-called Mexico City anti-abortion language) and Defense.
According to Novak, House Republicans led by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) have secured the support of 147 members pledging to support the Bush vetoes. That's one more than they need.
GOP strategists believe reclaiming the mantle of financial responsibility is the quickest way to regain voters' support in critical swing states and is the winning strategy to retain the White House in 2008. Novak's article concludes by predicting the Bush veto assault "will trigger an epochal political struggle in the months ahead."
What makes me think there soon may come a day when we look back on Dubya's use of Signing Statements as the "good old days?"
Cross-posted at Daily Kos.