Oliver Willis

Autopen! Today’s Republican Exercise In Making Things Up

President Obama signed the PATRIOT Act reauthorization into law by authorizing the use of an autopen because the final legislation would have to be transmitted to him as he travels in Europe. This is not controversial at all to anyone with a brain.

But conservatives, instead of debating the merits of the PATRIOT Act (I think the law should have been allowed to expire) instead decided to attack Obama over it. The practice is legal:

In 2005, the then Deputy Assistant Attorney General Howard C. Neilson, Jr., (who is getting a significant amount of Google play today no doubt) released an opinion that deemed the use of an autopen to sign a bill constitutional:

“We conclude that neither past practice nor previous opinions relating to the signing requirement of Article I, Section 7 foreclose reading that requirement in a manner that is consistent with the traditional common law understanding of ‘sign,’ with attorney general and Department of Justice opinions applying that understanding to statutory signing requirements, and with the settled interpretation of the related presentment and return provisions.”

But what this really speaks to is the conservative inability or unwillingness to oppose Obama based on real things. It wasn’t opposition to health care reform, no it was tyranny and socialism and death panels. Obama speaking to students was about indoctrination. The census was about stripping civil liberties. Czars had never been controversial, then Obama had the nerve to do what all modern presidents have done.

It is absurd. You can’t take conservative/Republican critiques of Obama seriously because they’re simply unserious in any manner.