Obama is getting ready to shoot down the Keystone pipeline bill in the first of what promises to be a blizzard of vetoes of legislation the current Congress is planning to pass.
Never mind that the Keystone bill passed with bipartisan support in the Senate 62-36 (nine Democrats joined) and in the House 266-153 (28 Democrats joined; although there will have to be another vote in the House within the next few days to align the two bills, it is expected to go similarly).
From The Hill:
Still, if Obama vetoes too many bills, especially ones with Democratic support, Republicans could have success portraying him as partisan and unwilling to negotiate.
“One veto doesn’t make him obstructionist,” said James Thurber, a professor of government at American University. “Now maybe after 3, 4, 5 vetoes, then they could start painting him that way.”
Portraying him. Painting him. Not, of course, that he is that way.
Here’s a statistic: since January, Obama has issued eight veto threats. That’s “the most ever for the start of a new Congress.”
Obama thinks this projects strength, and to his supporters it most definitely does. When the Republicans—even when in the majority in the House, and even with Democratic support—tried to block something Obama was attempting, their actions were painted as unreasonable and stubborn obstructionism. Now, when Obama plans to block what a Republican-majority Congress has done, even when those Republicans have a significant amount of support from moderate Democrats, it’s a show of strength and resolve.
At the moment, Republicans don’t appear to have the votes to override Obama’s veto of Keystone, although it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility that they might obtain them. But it’s not easy to get to a two-thirds majority, and if a president is bound and determined to veto a bill it often dies.
Historically, most presidents save their vetoes for the issues that matter most to them, afraid to challenge too many times what appears to be the will of the people. But Obama has no such hesitations. The last time he cared about the will of the people was on November 6, 2012.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]
[NOTE: By saying “most presidents save their vetoes for the issues that matter most to them,” I didn’t mean to imply that some presidents haven’t vetoed a great deal of legislation. Often those vetoes have been pocket vetoes, and some have been vetoes of legislation on fairly small matters, but it is certainly not the case that previous presidents have all been reluctant to use their veto power, and even to sometimes use it on larger issues. It’s the second half of the sentence, about challenging the will of the people, that is the point and connects up to the first half. Never has a president come out of the box and immediately threatened a new Congress with this many vetoes on significant legislation that the public favors, and in many cases strongly favors. Keystone, for example, has bipartisan support, and has been consistently popular with voters (see this). ]DONATE
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