Where Will It End?

by digby

Earlier today we learned that Bush was planning to veto the Defense Authorization Bill because of an obscure provision that he never mentioned to the congress as a problem before. That was odd enough.

It's actually even worse than that. He's not going to actually stand up and veto it. He's calling it a pocket veto, which Kagro X explains here.

Kagro also writes:

Because the bill has so much in it for veterans and active members of the Armed Forces, Bush apparently doesn't dare sign an affirmative veto. Instead, he'll pretend it... just went away on its own.

But this bill was presented to the president for his signature on December 19th. It's been eight days since then, not counting Sundays as the Constitution outlines. Seven if you give an extra day for Christmas. Hasn't been ten days yet.

Not only that, but you may recall that the Senate has remained in session all this time explicitly to prevent trickery like this. The most oft-cited reason was to prevent recess appointments, but the pro forma sessions -- the most recent of which was held today, yes, the very day Bush claimed there was no session -- also serve to avoid adjournment, and therefore the pocket veto.

But not in Bushworld. In Bushworld, these sessions don't count. Because he says so.

And if Bush thinks the Senate's sessions don't count, what's stopping him from making recess appointments?

How much more abuse can this Congress stand?

I don't know, but I would guess the administration is making the assumption that with the media's predictable disinterest in anything more complicated than polls and campaign gossip in the primary season and the Democratic leadership's unwillingness to take any risks at all, they'll get away with it. And they're probably right.

I'd say Jim Webb can probably take a trip to the Bahamas if he wants one. The administration doesn't observe the rules at all anymore. Bring on the recess appointments. Is Addington looking for a judgeship?

Update: Emptywheel ponders the weirdness of this veto as well. What's really going on here?