Obama to target Bush executive orders in first days

posted at 9:38 am on November 9, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama wants to find ways to make his mark quickly in the opening days of his presidency and reverse the legacy of George W. Bush.  Obama will focus his efforts on the list of executive orders that shaped White House policy, reversing them quickly.  That does not require legislative approval, but it could bring the most contentious issues to the forefront immediately and create more polarization than post-partisanship (via Jazz Shaw):

Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team.

A team of four dozen advisers, working for months in virtual solitude, set out to identify regulatory and policy changes Obama could implement soon after his inauguration. The team is now consulting with liberal advocacy groups, Capitol Hill staffers and potential agency chiefs to prioritize those they regard as the most onerous or ideologically offensive, said a top transition official who was not permitted to speak on the record about the inner workings of the transition.

In some instances, Obama would be quickly delivering on promises he made during his two-year campaign, while in others he would be embracing Clinton-era policies upended by President Bush during his eight years in office.

One suggestion might even make sense, from a states-rights perspective.  Bush signed an EO blocking California from adopting its own emissions requirements for automobiles, apart from the federal CAFE standards.  That EO was a sop to the auto industry, but it defied federalism.  If Obama rolled back that EO, it would support the federalist principle of state sovereignty and weaken, however slightly, the Commerce Clause attack on it.

The other top two targets will enrage the pro-life lobby.  Obama plans to end the federal ban on funding for human embryonic stem-cell research (hEsc) and upend the Mexico City rule that forbids federal foreign aid to be used to promote abortion. He can expect a big controversy on both.

The hEsc order annoys researchers who can’t get money for their projects elsewhere, but that’s because the technology has surpassed hEsc.  Scientists have since developed plenipotentiary stem cells from adult tissue, ending the need to destroy embryos at all.  If hEsc really held out any promise apart from other technologies, it would not need federal funding at any rate — it would have private donors lining up to invest in it, as other stem-cell research does.

While American voters feel some ambiguity on abortion, they overwhelmingly do not want their tax dollars paying for or facilitating abortions.  The Mexico City rule forbade federal funds to be used to facilitate the acquisition of abortions by groups abroad, much as the Hyde Amendment prohibited federal funds to be used in the same manner domestically.  If Obama rescinds it, he can expect a great deal of outrage from pro-life groups and a reopening of the debate over the use of tax money to procure abortions anywhere.

These aren’t exactly low-hanging fruit, nor are they the acts of someone who professed to find middle ground between pro-life and pro-choice groups.  These are the acts of a pro-abortion absolutist, and they presage the sponsorship of Planned Parenthood’s Freedom of Choice Act.  So much for governing from the center.


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It wasn’t the one with you, it was one involving who would actually win.

right2bright on November 10, 2008 at 12:42 PM

I have already exchanged e-mails with him. You are correct about everything.

jay12 on November 10, 2008 at 2:15 PM

I believe he also made a bet with Roger Waters and Dave Rywall, regarding leaving after the election.
Are any of these three posting?

right2bright on November 10, 2008 at 12:56 PM

Roger and Dave were here long before Manly and post sporadically like many of us.

Glynn on November 10, 2008 at 2:17 PM

As a strong supporter of the practice of abortion,
thuja at 11:03

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evel, a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19

Congratulations, Thuja. You made all seven.

justincase on November 10, 2008 at 12:09 PM

Several on here fit this, as well.

Glynn on November 10, 2008 at 2:19 PM

The Dem brass ring: “If we win, we get to kill more babies, even foreign ones!”

Akzed on November 10, 2008 at 2:56 PM

Seems to me the government gives more benefits to those living together without marriage. When we were in MN there was a tax for those getting marriage licenses – to help pay for domestic abuse victims.

justincase on November 10, 2008 at 1:37 PM

What kind of cicular logic are you trying to apply here? Are you insinuating gays are for domestic violence?

Do you have a problem with gays getting married?
A) Yes
B) No

If you replied A, then you are a jackass who is trying to interfere with people’s private business.

A Axe on November 10, 2008 at 2:59 PM

A Ace at 2:59PM

First tell me what “marriage” is.

justincase on November 10, 2008 at 3:21 PM

Do you have a problem with gays getting married?
A) Yes
B) No

If you replied A, then you are a jackass who is trying to interfere with people’s private business.

A Axe on November 10, 2008 at 2:59 PM

I reply “A.”

Just call me Jack, Ass.

davidk on November 10, 2008 at 3:25 PM

What kind of cicular logic are you trying to apply here? Are you insinuating gays are for domestic violence?

Do you have a problem with gays getting married?
A) Yes
B) No

If you replied A, then you are a jackass who is trying to interfere with people’s private business.

A Axe on November 10, 2008 at 2:59 PM

This is far too unsubtle. Our thinking about gay issues is in transition. People will take some time in changing their opinions. I don’t know that we’ve ever had such a fast change on a social issue as we have had in the change of view about gay people. Let’s just be happy that direction seems so good and refrain from insulting those who lag behind.

No matter how much pain a slower transition causes in the meantime, we are far better off to permit change slowly. Random fads are apt to be evil and stupid. It’s better that we wait five years for gay marriage than we view instant political gratification as the way things should be and thus succumb to some random fad.

thuja on November 10, 2008 at 3:37 PM

I reply “A.”

Just call me Jack, Ass.

davidk on November 10, 2008 at 3:25 PM

I’m with you, David.

Glynn on November 10, 2008 at 3:46 PM

The Dem brass ring: “If we win, we get to kill more babies, even foreign ones!”

Akzed on November 10, 2008 at 2:56 PM

Pretty much. Dancing with the devil.

Glynn on November 10, 2008 at 3:47 PM

eh, he’s been walking the halls with Dubya, so maybe in some dark hallway Dubya knocked some sense into him, saying DONT CANCEL MY ORDERS! eh… onward we go.

johnnyU on November 10, 2008 at 5:44 PM

reply “A.”

Just call me Jack, Ass.

davidk on November 10, 2008 at 3:25 PM
I’m with you, David.

Glynn on November 10, 2008 at 3:46 PM

Jack Ass here as well.

A Axe on November 10, 2008 at 2:59 PM

But That would be Mr. Jack Ass to you.

Big John on November 10, 2008 at 5:59 PM

I have already exchanged e-mails with him. You are correct about everything.

jay12 on November 10, 2008 at 2:15 PM

Thanks, give him by best…he did a yeoman’s job.

right2bright on November 10, 2008 at 6:16 PM

thuja on November 10, 2008 at 1:34 PM

Thanks for the answer…kind of the same answer (at least the one about sustaining life) as in the 60′s, probably before your time. They were convinced that by the year 2000 (totally convinced) that it would be world wide famine.
So your one argument is that you punish once again the U.S. for the over population of India? Seeing as the U.S. is in a net loss of birth rate for the past couple of decades.
Interesting about teenage kids…so you don’t think that there is an alternative to raising the kids? Maybe an adopted home, where there are literally thousands of families waiting to adopt.
And of course you never answered the partial birth challenge.
I still, even with your honest (but strange) answers, why you would be a fan of it. It seems that you would do everything to prevent it…I guess I just can’t grasp the idea of killing a child, it bothers me.
If life is precious, but less precious then discomfort, I just have a hard time putting those priorities in the order that you do…

right2bright on November 10, 2008 at 6:37 PM

What about adoption, Thuja?

Alana on November 10, 2008 at 7:39 PM

What kind of cicular logic are you trying to apply here? Are you insinuating gays are for domestic violence?

Do you have a problem with gays getting married?
A) Yes
B) No

If you replied A, then you are a jackass who is trying to interfere with people’s private business.

A Axe on November 10, 2008 at 2:59 PM

I think you didn’t get what the poster was saying. Had nothing to do with what you said. A are you gay? B Don’t you read the words only? Not put what you think? Was nothing in the least that was written. Guess you have a attitude on a lot of issues. By the way, I live in Ca. and I voted YES on 8! You can call me a jackass if you like. But I am tired of gays thinking they own the world. That they are the only ones here that live by the Rules and or the Law. They get same rights as married couples do. If they want respect, then quit wanting our traditions and our Constitution messed with. That is above the line. And when this was voted before. I didn’t vote that time. They lost and that is final. You should have seen how they harassed people before this election. They blocked the streets with their Vote No signs. While I was working and couldn’t get to my stops quicker. Then they would come right to your car door. They didn’t care that I was working. I have no time to talk to Anyone. Even if it is a friend. Then they want to poison our children in Grade Schools. They don’t need to hear that stuff. They are to young. There are kids that have gay parents. Kids learn more by talking to kids. Then they come home and tell their parents. That is except able. But not a teacher telling them. You have your opinion, and I have mine.

sheebe on November 11, 2008 at 12:46 AM

If you enjoyed the George W. Bush era you are gonna love the Barack Obama regime, because Obama is relying on some of the same folks who helped create the mayhem and failures in the CIA. That’s right boys and girls. Take a look at today’s

Wall Street Journal:

President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say, an approach that is almost certain to create tension within the Democratic Party. . . .

The intelligence-transition team is led by former National Counterterrorism Center chief John Brennan and former CIA intelligence-analysis director Jami Miscik, say officials close to the matter. Mr. Brennan is viewed as a potential candidate for a top intelligence post. Ms. Miscik left amid a slew of departures from the CIA under then-Director Porter Goss.

Advisers caution that few decisions will be made until the team gets a better picture of how the Bush administration actually goes about gathering intelligence, including covert programs, and there could be a greater shift after a full review.

The Obama team plans to review secret and public executive orders and recent Justice Department guidelines that eased restrictions on domestic intelligence collection. “They’ll be looking at existing executive orders, then making sure from Jan. 20 on there’s going to be appropriate executive-branch oversight of intelligence functions,” Mr. Brennan said in an interview shortly before Election Day.

will13smith on November 11, 2008 at 12:44 PM

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