Rolling Back Bush.

There are a lot of things the Bush administration has wrought that need to be done. This is an encouraging start:

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.

A lot of the initiatives the new administration is likely to undo were some of Bush’s nakedly political, like limits on stem cell research, which was a carrot to religious conservatives.

But we could finally see an end to the draconian global gag rule — a Reagan-era policy (later rescinded by Clinton, and reinstated on the first day of the latter Bush’s presidency) which prevents foreign NGOs receiving USAID dollars for family planning from using their own, non-American money to perform abortions or to counsel women on it. (Again, making abortion illegal doesn’t stop women from having abortions, it just means they have unsafe ones.) Organizations that don’t comply with the U.S. ban don’t just get their American money cut off, but they also lose access to badly needed American-supplied condoms and contraceptives — which, one assumes, leads to more “back-alley” abortions in those countries.



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • dp

    The global gag rule was instituted by Reagan and then *rescinded* by Clinton after just a few days in office in 1993 (later to be reinstated just after W’s inauguration). I’m looking forward to it possibly ending next year.

  • Actually, the global gag rule is a Reagan era policy, known as the Mexico City policy. Clinton repealed it; Bush restored it.

  • Thanks to you, DP, redstar. I wrote this while I was half-awake and sorting laundry. Corrected.

  • Cool. That is one of many policies I’m hoping ends ASAP!!!

  • scott

    Dems hated the exec orders when Bush used them but now are happy to use them when it suits them. Next Obama will be doing his own signing statements.

  • Wow, I feel like a jerk doing this, but I just wrote a long post essentially saying that when it comes to issues of executive power, we shouldn’t count on Obama to change the status quo too much.

    Here it is.

  • J: I was just reading your post. will brb with a response.

  • scott

    Already the Dems seem to be getting drunk with power. On Fox News Sunday, John Podesta said,
    “Mr. Obama is a transformational figure and that the support he received among voters in some Republican states and conservative counties gives him a mandate to pursue his agenda aggressively (with executive orders).” So Obama has a mandate now? John, don’t believe you own hype.

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