In response to questions from Congressional Quarterly
about whether he would support Sen. Arlen Specter's (R-PA) bill to counter the President's use of "signing statements," McCain said this:
âI think the president will enforce the law."
That sounds pretty faint -- but if you consider the context, it just sounds lame.
The point of the signing statement, of which Bush has made unprecedented use
, is for the President to declare that he will not
enforce part or all of a law.
McCain knows this -- Bush used the gambit to gut the Vietnam War veteran's own torture ban legislation. As one law professor described Bush's move to the Boston Globe
"[Bush's] signing statement is saying 'I will only comply with this law when I want to, and if something arises in the war on terrorism where I think it's important to torture or engage in cruel, inhuman, and degrading conduct, I have the authority to do so and nothing in this law is going to stop me.... 'They don't want to come out and say it directly because it doesn't sound very nice, but it's unmistakable to anyone who has been following what's going on."
McCain -- himself a former torture victim -- worked hard to assemble veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress to pass a torture ban only to see the president undermine it in an instant.
So how can he say he doesn't think the President's abuse of signing statements is a problem?