Of course, if he'd simply vetoed the Defense appropriations bill again that he vetoed a month ago, he could have accomplished the same thing. After all, the primary justification for that first veto was the language in it prohibiting the closing of Camp X-Ray, and the first version of that bill didn't pass by veto-proof margins. Then Senate Democrats were, for a time at least, successfully filibustering it until Senate Republicans removed the Gitmo language. Then for some undisclosed reason Senate Democrats relented and the second version of the bill passed almost unanimously, providing Obama with a ready-made excuse to concede defeat and sign the bill. But everybody knows that he isn't a REAL lame duck and could, if he chose to demand it, have commanded enough loyalty in his own party to get enough Democrats in both Houses of Congress to close ranks behind him to sustain another veto and ratchet up the pressure on congressional Republicans to cave to his demands that they pull their close-Gitmo language.
That's how an anti-American dick of a POTUS would get what he wanted constitutionally. But then that would be an awfully lame way for an anti-American dick of POTUS, who by clear and present implication also hates the U.S. Constitution, sees it as an obstacle and impediment to what he wants to do
So why not be passive-aggressive about it it, sign the damn bill, and then close Gitmo anyway on the legal authority he doesn't have but he knows congressional Republicans are too chicken to ever challenge because (this just in) he's (half-)black?:
Barack Obama said on Wednesday that he may ignore fresh congressional restrictions on transferring detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, setting up another confrontation with Republicans over the limits of his power.
Which means Republicans will cave and his power will expand. Again.
Or will they? (See below)
“The executive branch must have the flexibility, with regard to the detainees who remain at Guantanamo, to determine when and where to prosecute them,” Obama said in a statement Wednesday after signing a national defense policy bill that includes the restrictions.
Which he could have best expressed and exercised by vetoing the defense bill again. Because closing Gitmo is vastly more important than defending the United States of America from its enemies. Which he's not doing anyway, but whatever, he's got his own dictatorship to defend.
He called restrictions on prisoner transfers a potentially unconstitutional violation of presidential authority.
Who says this guy doesn't have a set of brass ones when the occasion calls for it (i.e. when someone is trying to take usurped power back from him)?
The president, he said, must have flexibility to decide “when and where to transfer" detainees at the prison, "consistent with our national security and our humane treatment policy.”
None of which is consistent with national security, because the treatment our enemies, most particularly those who were and are resident at Camp X-Ray, have intended for all of us is not remotely humane, which renders how they're treated universally irrelevant. And yet it's their welfare with which The One is borderline obsessed. Which is why Congress has resolutely kept Gitmo open. And their antagonist signed that into law.
House Speaker Paul Ryan sounds like he's almost daring O to cross that line:
House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Bloomberg’s With All Due Respect on November 10th that Obama doesn’t have the authority to close the prison via executive action.
"It’s just that clear," Ryan said.
Asked about Obama’s statement on Wednesday, a Ryan spokesman, Doug Andres, said in an e-mail: "The law is the law."
Is it? Hasn't been for the past seven years. Is Ryan willing to do what it's going to take to change that? We shall see.
But post-Paris, there will never be a better time for that constitutional crisis.