There are 19 days until the general election replacing George Bush (I'll wait for the cheers to die down). We all know he can still cause a lot of pain, and not just to 401(k) accounts. But there are things occurring in the shadows that aren't getting enough attention.
President Bush asserted on Tuesday that he had the executive power to bypass several parts of two bills: a military authorization act and a measure giving inspectors general greater independence from White House control.
Mr. Bush signed the two measures into law. But he then issued a so-called signing statement in which he instructed the executive branch to view parts of each as unconstitutional constraints on presidential power.
President Bush on Monday signed into law legislation creating a copyright czar, a cabinet-level position on par with the nation's drug czar.
Two weeks ago, the House sent the president the "Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act" (.pdf), a measure the Senate approved days before creating a cabinet-level copyright czar charged with implementing a nationwide plan to combat piracy and "report directly to the president and Congress regarding domestic international intellectual property enforcement programs."
• He continues to break the law and ignore Congressional oversight.
Oversight Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) came together today to criticize the White House for their use of executive privilege in the Valerie Plame leak scandal.
The two lawmakers called Bush's refusal to disclose the report of the FBI interview with Vice President Cheney "legally unprecedented" and "inappropriate." The committee seeks the document in order to establish the White House's role in the leak of Plame's name to the media.
A draft Committee report circulated by Chairman Waxman finds that in the months before the 2006 elections, the White House Office of Political Affairs “enlisted agency heads across government in a coordinated effort to elect Republican candidates to Congress,” directing them “to make hundreds of trips – most at taxpayer expense – for the purpose of increasing the electability of Republicans.”
• And he's making rules that could have deleterious effects far into the future.
WASHINGTON -- Bush administration officials, in their last weeks in office, are pushing to rewrite a wide array of federal rules with changes or additions that could block product-safety lawsuits by consumers and states.
The administration has written language aimed at pre-empting product-liability litigation into 50 rules governing everything from motorcycle brakes to pain medicine. The latest changes cap a multiyear effort that could be one of the administration's lasting legacies, depending in part on how the underlying principle of pre-emption fares in a case the Supreme Court will hear next month [...]
These new rules can't quickly be undone by order of the next president. Federal rules usually must go through lengthy review processes before they are changed. Rulemaking at the Food and Drug Administration, where most of the new pre-emption rules have appeared, can take a year or more.
We haven't even come to the inevitable pardons. Or the illegal programs he has started and continues to run. Or the failed policies.