Kari Chisholm and I missed a chance last weekend to plug our late planned appearance on Outlook Portland with Nick Fish. That was a shame. It was a great episode, if I do say so myself, where we discussed a broad range of local politics and (especially Kari) technology.
Next week’s show, which always has high-caliber guests is already getting good press, well the special guest on the show is, at least.
Phil Cooper, Professor of Public Administration at my alma mater, the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University, is the guest this week. Oregonians often overlook the extensive expertise on national issues that exists in our town. In the government realm, it often comes from the Hatfield School of Government. Phil Cooper is exceptional amongst the exceptional.
This morning, Oregonian columnist Steve Duin wrote about Cooper:
For 20 years, Cooper has studied executive orders, national security directives and other policy tools that presidents use to assert their will, without permission or apology. "How we do things," Cooper said, "is sometimes just as important as what we do."
Along the way, Cooper has become an authority on the use and abuse of presidential signing statements, seemingly benign but incredibly powerful -- at least when cowards control Congress -- presumptions of executive authority.
President Bush has never employed the veto, Cooper wrote in 2005, because the signing statements are "a very effective and substantive line-item veto," allowing Bush to "effectively nullify a wide range of statutory provisions even as he signed . . . them into law."
The message Bush delivers time and again when he signs these legislative postscripts is clear: He will ignore any statute passed by Congress that is inconsistent with the Constitution. And Bush -- not the court -- is the final judge of that consistency.
Cooper and these signing statements generated national headlines in January when the administration first agreed with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to prohibit torture of detainees under U.S. control, then promptly issued a statement saying the White House reserved the right to decide when and if torture was necessary.
Stay tuned for more discussion on this subject. Outlook Portland with Nick Fish airs on KWBP, Channel 3 (cable) or 32 (broadcast) from 6:30-7:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 4th. Set your alarms and tune in or set your DVR, VCR, or TIVO. Then, come back and comment on Sunday.