The lead editorial in today's Buffalo News -- "Stay within the law" -- lauds President Obama for (mostly) ending a corrupt Bush administration practice of attaching presidential "signing statements" to many bills that were signed into law. Those statements, in the last regime, far too often amounted to a back-door veto, most often of laws aimed at limited the excesses and abuses of the Bush-led war on terror.
Of course, now that the Obama crowd has seen how much their predecessors were able to get away with in that area, the rest of the country should be worried that they might be tempted to try it, too.
This just in: The New York Times reports that Obama has already issued a big signing statement of his own, interpreting and, in some cases, basically erasing certain parts of the giant appropriations bill that just became law.
The second edit -- "Keep health options open" -- says that whether Obama's idea of creating a government-run health insurance program to compete with private sector insurance policies is a serious plan or a bargaining chip, it is not an option that should be given up too soon. It could be the way the government actually lowers health care costs rather than, as is usually the case, just raise taxes to pay them.
[It's] as if you reported that your husband or wife has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom and the police, rather than set out to find the criminals, just give you the money to pay the kidnappers.
- ScrippsNews editorial on the signing statements: While this makes practical sense, it is hardly the clean break with the past that his supporters had expected.
- The Waco Tribune: Hopefully this and future presidents will veto bills they don’t think are constitutional and can’t be enforced. Then Congress will have to muster an override or holster its legislation. To do otherwise with profligacy is to make a mockery of checks and balances and the whole system our forefathers crafted so well.
- Obama health care czarina Nancy-Ann DeParle waxes optimistic in The Boston Globe: As a participant in the 1993-'94 health reform effort, I can say that this time, it feels different already.
- The New York Times agrees that Obama knows the questions, but is still waiting for the answers: His proposals, for all of their ambition, do not fully answer two central questions: how to cover tens of millions of uninsured Americans, and how to reform the health care system to reduce costs and improve the quality of care.
-- George Pyle/Editorial Writer