Someone Has To Make Decisions

You want to know why the Presidency keeps getting more and more powerful? Because someone has to make decisions.

The House just voted against authorizing the Libya mission, then voted against defunding operations in Libya. I’d ignore those idiots, too. If I were President, until these clowns get their shit together, I’d pretty much do whatever I wanted.






185 replies
  1. 1
    Trurl says:

    I see your point. Assassinating Gaddafi for his threat to nationalize Libya’s oil is too urgent a matter to wait for Congressional approval.

    Fuck the War Powers Act – also known as “the rule of law”. As Obama’s mentor in imperial presidenting taught him, it’s just a goddamned piece of paper.

  2. 2
    eemom says:

    I’d ignore those idiots, too. If I were President, until these clowns get their shit together, I’d pretty much do whatever I wanted, too.

    well said, John Cole.

    (Hell, if Barney Frank and Ron Paul can agree on something, I reckon you and I can too.)

  3. 3
    patroclus says:

    So, basically, it’s like saying they don’t like prostitution but here’s $300 anyway. They certainly don’t want to authorize it, but they definitely don’t want to cut off funds. What a bunch of wankers!

  4. 4
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    I think this fits in well with Yglesias’s reminder that “the only presidential democracy with a long history of constitutional continuity is the United States.”

    Presidential democracies become dictatorships because people begin to see the legislators as ineffectual fools and the president as the one who gets things done.

  5. 5
    General Stuck says:

    I’d pretty much do whatever I wanted, too.

    Then it’s a good thing we elected Obama instead of you, because he went through the UN, and is doing what they wanted, which is very little for us, in direct war fighting in Libya.

  6. 6
    eemom says:

    hark, I do believe I hear the thundering hooves of a fresh flame war galloping our way.

  7. 7

    I suspect some founders are rolling over in their graves atm.

  8. 8
    aisce says:

    Assassinating Gaddafi for his threat to nationalize Libya’s oil is too urgent a matter to wait for Congressional approval.

    you’re a dumbass. and a cartoon. congratulations.

  9. 9
    Captain Haddock says:

    I think it is time to revisit the term limit debate. I think fools continually positioning themselves for the next election is our problem. The fact the the president can only serve two terms might be one of the reasons they, you know, do stuff.

  10. 10
    lacp says:

    Hey, that decideralizing is hard work, what with peance and freeance and all that shit.

  11. 11
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @trurl

    Really? You’re bringing back the “No blood for oil!” argument?

  12. 12
    The Raven says:

    “I’d ignore those idiots, too. If I were President, until these clowns get their shit together, I’d pretty much do whatever I wanted.”

    The adult is in charge. Oh, wait…

  13. 13
    Ochotona princeps says:

    Its’ also a result of the effectiveness of the Defense Departments’ lobbying and prior republican demagogy about “supporting the troops”. What went on from 2001-2008 has made it politically toxic for Congress to use the one lever–funding– they do have.

    If the GOP could stop the Libyan war by cutting, say, food stamps, they would have done so months ago.

  14. 14
    cathyx says:

    If Obama ignores congress, then we should all call him King Obama.

  15. 15
    patroclus says:

    I don’t think it’s a matter of the public seeing them as ineffctual tools; I think it’s more a case of them actually being ineffectual fools. I simply cannot imagine Sam Rayburn ever putting up votes like this — knowing that they are going to make the House look foolish.

  16. 16
    aisce says:

    because he went through the UN, and is doing what they wanted

    i keep seeing this. where do idiots like you think un mandates come from? their secret council chambers on mars?

    like the un is some mystical force nobody understands or sees coming until they issue their dictates from on high?

    the us was one of the principle coalition authors of the libya resolution. it was one of the five security council votes that authorized the mission.

    we do what the un wants because the un does what we want. we’re entwined. we’re not canada or slovakia or chile.

  17. 17
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    What the hell needs to be funded? I’m reliably informed we aren’t doing anything over there.

  18. 18
    Mike Goetz says:

    Boy, are we on the same wavelength, Cole. I just posted a pretty much verbatim comment in the thread below, using the “get your shit together” formulation.

    Votes like this are why the Constitutional issues of the WPR are never fricking settled.

  19. 19
    boss bitch says:

    I’m reliably informed we aren’t doing anything over there.

    you’re lying. no one told you that.

  20. 20
    Alex S. says:

    This House is divided against itself, lol.

    While Obama’s interpretation of the War Powers Act is probably wrong I can’t muster up a lot of outrage with these clowns in the background. It’s all just posturing and games. However, I support the mission anyway.

  21. 21
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    you’re lying. no one told you that.

    We stopped weeks ago.

  22. 22
    Trurl says:

    You’re bringing back the “No blood for oil!” argument?

    It never went away. Partisan hacks like yourself just forgot about it once a Democrat was in the White House.

    But I’m playing the long game. Someday there will be another Republican president. And then you’ll rediscover your opposition to unitary executive warmongering.

  23. 23
    General Stuck says:

    then we should all call him King Obama.

    I guess this is Obama = Libya = Iraq = Bush day on Balloon Juice. Throw in a little more, ABL is the shedevil from Obotomania, and we got ourselves a Friday barn burner.

    I’ll check back later to see how it’s going

  24. 24
    Mike Goetz says:

    We need to get Trurl and Just Some Fuckhead in a room together with a tape recorder. Would the transcript make more or less sense than Finnegans Wake?

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    Presidential democracies become dictatorships because people begin to see the legislators as ineffectual fools and the president as the one who gets things done.

    Are parliamentary democracies any better? I lack the broad knowledge to say how often this has happened, but France switched from a parliamentary to a presidential democracy back around 1960, precisely because the legislators were seen as ineffectual fools and without a strong president, there was nobody in the system who could get things done.

    (Watched a movie about De Gaulle during that transition just yesterday night, as a matter of fact).

  26. 26
    Zagloba says:

    cathyx: If Obama ignores congress, then we should all call him King Obama.

    The whole point here is that Congress hasn’t done (let alone said) anything coherent. If your boss[1] gives you an instruction, and you do otherwise, expect to be disciplines. If your boss sends you a memo instructing you to purple monkey dishwasher, feel free to get to that other stuff in your inbox.

    The checks and balances between the branches of government only work if the members of those branches choose to exercise their power.

    [1] Yes, the analogy is highly imperfect.

  27. 27
    cathyx says:

    1/4 of UN Funding comes from the US. The rest is funded by every other country who is a member. The UN will do exactly as we tell them.

  28. 28
    Chris says:

    we do what the un wants because the un does what we want. we’re entwined. we’re not canada or slovakia or chile.

    Yeah, I wonder how many Americans grasp the notion that when they’re whining about the UN, they’re whining about the world governments, chiefly the five most powerful world governments, which since the end of the Cold War, means chiefly ourselves.

  29. 29
    lacp says:

    So…Congress was for the non-hostile war on Libya before it was against it – at the same time! Pretty neat trick.

  30. 30
    eemom says:

    hmm……has anyone ever seen this “Trurl” and the dearly departed Joe Beese in the same room at the same time?

  31. 31
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    It would make less sense than Finnegan’s Wake, but more sense than Gravity’s Rainbow.

  32. 32
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    If I were President, until these clowns get their shit together, I’d pretty much do whatever I wanted.

    I’m sure that’s exactly how President Cheney felt during most of his Presidency.

    No arguing that the House is full of clowns and that this little antic is just another in their full-court press against that nigra in the *white* house. But, there’s also some legit balance of power issues going on here.

    Ugh, after saying that and having it appear like I’m siding with the terra-ists, I need a shower.

  33. 33
    Trurl says:

    Someone does have to make decisions.

    Fortunately, we have a Decider running things.

  34. 34
    david mizner says:

    Agreed — that’s largely why the War Powers Resolution is dead, and why Presidents have King-like powers, because Congress members bitch from the sidelines but refuse to exercise their authority and assume responsibility. Cowards.

  35. 35
    Rick Taylor says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. But I do hope that Obama takes the same attitude and over-rules the congress citing plausible constitutional reasons it they decide the United States is going to default on its debts.

  36. 36
    Linnaeus says:

    Yeah, it looks to me like the vote was pointless, though the solution isn’t to further concentrate power in the hands of one branch of government.

  37. 37
    burnspbesq says:

    @eemom:

    No, but I don’t think they are the same person. Joe Beese could write grammatically correct sentences.

  38. 38
    Zagloba says:

    Chris: Yeah, I wonder how many Americans grasp the notion that when they’re whining about the UN, they’re whining about the world governments, chiefly the five most powerful world governments, which since the end of the Cold War, means chiefly ourselves.

    To your average American, power is depersonalized and devoid of agency. No one makes decisions, they are just made.

    It’s actually one of the driving forces behind how popular certain kinds of conspiracy theories are: if you can’t identify any actual person, company, or whatnot in whose interests [big event] was, it must have been planned and carried out by [giant!shadow government]

  39. 39
    boudicca says:

    None of this matters because Kasey Anthony is on trial. If it mattered, it would be on my teevee.

  40. 40
    Trurl says:

    has anyone ever seen this “Trurl” and the dearly departed Joe Beese in the same room at the same time?

    Better get ABL’s super-secret ISP sniffer on the case!

  41. 41
    patroclus says:

    I agree that there were some very legitimate separation of powers and War Powers Act issues.

    The wankers in the House have just obliterated those issues. They are gone. Sure, they can still bloviate about it, but there will be no litigation and no challenge to anything. It’s over. And they managed to look very foolish in the process.

  42. 42
    Chet says:

    If Obama ignores congress

    What’s to ignore? What exactly is Congress’ will in regards to Libya, since they voted against telling him to keep going, and voted against telling him to pull out?

    Like John says somebody has to make decisions. We’ve created a Congress where it’s literally impossible for them to do so. So what’s to ignore?

  43. 43
    cathyx says:

    We wouldn’t want a President who follows the law even though congress is letting him get away with breaking it. I mean, who wouldn’t steal a million dollars if the guard said he’d just look the other way so you could take it. Right?

  44. 44
    Sasha says:

    I’m sure that’s exactly how President Cheney felt during most of his Presidency.

    No, the GOP Congress under Bush 43 wasn’t contradictory at all. They all got their shit together to lockstep rubber-stamp everything the administration wanted.

  45. 45
    boss bitch says:

    We stopped weeks ago.

    stopped what?

  46. 46
    Ryan S says:

    The House just voted against authorizing the Libya mission,

    FFS, They didnt do that they just voted against a strange bill sort of like the McCain, Kerry bill. For the last time the President hasn’t even sought authorization.

    A bipartisan group of ten lawmakers filed a lawsuit in federal court that charges President Obama with violating the Constitution and the War Powers Act for failing to seek Congressional approval.

  47. 47

    Dear liberals, please stop annoying me today. I have one guy on my blog saying we all need to file BBB complaints against our corporate overlords and I have another guy on Twitter telling me we all just need to take to the streets and protest. As if in this modern day either action is effective.

    Just STFU already. I’m tired of being told what I need to do to save the country and that I’m doing it wrong. Especially when no one can even agree on what needs to be done to begin with.

  48. 48

    @aisce:

    we do what the un wants because the un does what we want

    That’s not quite true. The UN Security Council can’t do anything the US doesn’t want it to, but it doesn’t automatically do whatever we demand. We have to get agreement from the other 4 permanent members- which is challenging in the case of Russia and China- and at least half of the current rotating members. That’s not a trivial feat, which is why we weren’t able to get Security Council authorization for the invasion of Iraq or for stronger sanctions (or military action) against Iran.

  49. 49
    Pat says:

    Pretty much how the Romans got things done. Should work out great.

  50. 50
    Timothy Trollenschlongen (formerly Tim, Interrupted) says:

    If I were President, until these clowns get their shit together, I’d pretty much do whatever I wanted.

    Agreed. So it seems natural to judge Obama as a president and as a person by the actions he takes, by what he DOES.

    Which means he is a warmongering, corporatist, lying motherfucker.

  51. 51
    General Stuck says:

    i keep seeing this

    You keep seeig it because it’s true, and I didn’t say anything about congress not having authority at this stage, because they absolutely do, and could defund and stop it in a second, and I would simply say the Constitution worked like it was supposed too, regardless of what I personally thought of us Being in the UN action in Libya.

    Cole and others are right about that, and I fully support that notion, and the fact congress is incompetent and borderline insane, and no doubt why Obama is avoiding them as much as possible.

    My comment you illiterate moron, was specific to the thus far unquestioned fact that Obama has gone through the UN, and is following their mandate, and not one of his own. Which I highly suspect if he was following a mandate of his own, he would prefer to not do anything regarding Libya, at all, because involving the US in any more military action, is not a politically fruitful move for him as a dem, or any US president right now, being we are still in a couple of wars that are highly unpopular heading into Obama’s reelection. By all accounts it was the Arab League and Euros that pushed for this, and got a UN sec resolution to do it.

    So what is a president to do, when our allies and others around the world want to stop a certain massacre of civilians in Libya if Qhaddify isn’t collared to a degree? Just say fuck it, your on your own. What Obama did was take the responsible path, and say we will help some, but you are going to have to do the fighting, or nearly all of it, and we will help in the background, in other ways.

    He has an insane congress, but does have the good graces of the world we are helping them out, and doing it lawful in an international way, and debatable lawful in a US law way.

  52. 52
    Pat says:

    CNN’s saying the bill failed

  53. 53
    kay says:

    If Obama ignores congress, then we should all call him King Obama.

    Congress has to stop begging the President to give back their power. It’s theirs. Why don’t they take it back?

    The people who are most concerned about presidential power grabs never, ever look in the other direction, towards Congress. In an odd way, you’re contributing to this, by making it one-sided, and exclusively about the president.

    They’re called to put a check on him, and they have ample power to do so. Instead they’re just going to yell at him a lot?

  54. 54
    Rosalita says:

    I think it is time to revisit the term limit debate. I think fools continually positioning themselves for the next election is our problem. The fact the the president can only serve two terms might be one of the reasons they, you know, do stuff.

    We can talk about it all we want, but those bastards will never vote themselves out their cushy lifetime jobs. Fox, hen house…

  55. 55
    Pat says:

    Head of the Arab League having second thoughts and wants a cease fire. Where’s your cover now, war pigs?

  56. 56
    jheartney says:

    While it’s lots of fun to call the Congress names, if you really want to know why we have this sort of behavior, look to the founders and to the doctrine of separation of powers. This set up a system with so many internal veto points and independent power bases, such that no one has sufficient power to be held responsible for results other than the President.

    Then on top of that, we’ve allowed the growth of a money-driven electoral system that gives plutocrats plenty of both incentive and opportunity to meddle.

    As a result, the kinds of political figures who rise to power in the Congress will be the way these ones are; they can play to faux-populist ignorance (“All taxes are bad!”) knowing they will never be punished for being wrong, provided they do the bidding of their richest masters.

    Sure, call them idiots if you like, but you’re missing the point. Our system rewards this sort of idiocy, and places it into power. The specific individuals are simply doing what our politics requires them to do.

  57. 57
    Trurl says:

    Oh, and remember how Obama “ended” the war in Iraq?

    Iraq will ask the US to keep its troops in the country beyond the 2011 withdrawal deadline set by US President Barack Obama, Leon Panetta, the White House’s pick to lead the Pentagon, said. “It’s clear to me that Iraq is considering the possibility of making a request for some kind of (troop) presence to remain there,” Panetta said, adding that he had “every confidence” the request would be “forthcoming at some point.”

    http://english.aljazeera.net/n.....57677.html

    You can almost hear the relief in his voice.

  58. 58
    david mizner says:

    @53 kay

    Both things can be true, and are true. Congress is filled with cowards who refuse to exercise their authority, and Obama is, Bush-style, expanding presidential power, the law be damned. Which is to say: the cowardice of Congress doesn’t excuse the President’s law-breaking.

  59. 59

    Comrade Scott @32:
    I think there’s an important issue in what you’re saying, but I’m not quite sure what the final meaning is. You’re right, our system is built on the idea of checks and balances, and if congress isn’t willing to stand in the way a president can do anything and that’s not how the system’s supposed to work. It was a problem very much on display in the Bush administration, and I don’t think it’s right for us to be as corrupt as them even if we’re on the right side. Where is the line drawn, though? The President’s current policies wouldn’t cause an eye to be batted in any circumstances other than with the 2011 batshit GOP house. If the GOP is purely playing political games and STILL can’t actually get its game together and deny the president’s authorization, where do we stand?

    Windups, we are in very deep water. Philosophically speaking, of course.

  60. 60
    Pat says:

    @58 mizner

    This is what I don’t get about the Loyalists. Obama gets a pass for not doing the right thing simply because he can get away with it politically. Pure cynical opportunism, exact opposite of what Obama claims to stand for.

  61. 61
    General Stuck says:

    When it comes to UN Security council resolutions, they do not always, or even usually do what we want, especially when warfare or other sanctions are the topic at hand. The big 5 all have veto power, and use it often. Ask Bill Clinton, when Russia vetoed his request for a res on bombing in Bosnia/Kosovo, or George Bush, when the UN refused to do a one time vote for Iraq, insisting on giving inspectors a chance and requiring a second vote to authorize an Invasion of that country. Which never came before Bush said fuck it and invaded anyway.

  62. 62
    kay says:

    If Obama ignores congress, then we should all call him King Obama.

    I’m sincerely asking. If it’s out of balance, why are you only looking at one side?

    It’s out of balance, right? He’s not moving. What should the other side do? Stand still and demand he move? Or move?

  63. 63
    alwhite says:

    I don’t think there was ever a doubt they would vote to fund the dumbass thing. You know anyone that votes no will have ad run against them next fall saying they hate the troops & tried to get them all killed by voting down the money need to protect them. That and the sugar daddies in the defense industry would be displeased.

    They actually can create their own reality, in a way.

  64. 64
    burritoboy says:

    @43:

    Obama now IS following the law even under the strictest possible interpretation, because he must do as Congress has directed. Since Congress has essentially directed, as Zabloba argued above, “purple monkey dishwasher”, AND continued to fund the Libyan action, Obama continuing the action is now in compliance with the WPA even if all his administration’s earlier arguments (that the action did not fall within WPA purview and didn’t need Congressional approval) were completely invalid.

  65. 65
    MikeBoyScout says:

    When the legislative branch is incapable of checking there is effectively an imbalance between the executive branch and the other 2.

  66. 66
    shortstop says:

    You want to know why the Presidency keeps getting more and more powerful? Because someone has to make decisions.

    It gets more and more powerful for more than one reason. Notably, Bush was not dealing with a recalcitrant Congress — whose entire objective was to hobble him and force him to bear all responsibility for controversial policy/legislation — when he decided to help himself to as many powers as he could carry away in a pillowcase.

  67. 67
    Trurl says:

    the cowardice of Congress doesn’t excuse the President’s law-breaking

    Obama 2008: Change You Can Believe In

    Obama 2012: Stop Me If You Can

  68. 68
    someguy says:

    It really doesn’t matter what Congress thinks. The UN said to go in there so it’s kosher. You don’t like the UN, don’t sign the treaty establishing it saying you’re going to be bound by its votes. Last time I checked, treaties are the supreme law of the land. State trumps local, fed trumps state, international (where we’ve ratified a treaty and agreed to do something, e.g. UN) trumps fed. Pretty clear to me.

  69. 69
    Ryan S says:

    I don’t think there was ever a doubt they would vote to fund the dumbass thing. You know anyone that votes no will have ad run against them next fall saying they hate the troops & tried to get them all killed by voting down the money need to protect them. That and the sugar daddies in the defense industry would be displeased.

    Except there are no troops in Libya.

    If the Congress doesnt like what the President did then they need to sue him.

    The constitution clearly states the President is the only one that can seek authorization from Congress for a war.
    If the president starts a war and refuses to seek authorization the recourse is a lawsuit. Then the Judicial branch decides. THE THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT BEEEAAATTTCH!

  70. 70
    Martin says:

    Oh look, Congress can do stuff! If they have responsibility for authorizing/rejecting military action, maybe they could actually do something with that responsibility. If they oppose Libya, then fucking oppose it. None of the rest of us get to go Galt on things we’re responsible for and then blame some other party.

  71. 71
    kay says:

    the law be damned. Which is to say: the cowardice of Congress doesn’t excuse the President’s law-breaking.

    I think a court decides what the law is. That other branch. Or, if Congress doesn’t like this one, they can write another one.

    Again, it is just amazing to me who there’s this HUGE and singular focus on the executive by those worried about executive power grabs. It’s baffling to me. What’s the thinking here? Like an honor system? It’s checks and balances. It’s not “everyone just do what they feel is right“.

    If you’re telling me Congress is a victim of President Obama, I don’t buy it. I didn’t buy it w/Democrats in Congress and Bush, either.

  72. 72

    I think fools continually positioning themselves for the next election is our problem.

    Meh, we had a whole rash of Blue Dogs who decided not to run for re-election the last time, in effect term-limiting themselves. And they STILL couldn’t find their spine on a whole mess of stuff.

  73. 73
    alwhite says:

    @36 – Linnaeus
    No, the vote wasn’t pointless. It will allow the Confederate Party to rightfully state that evil black President ignores the rule of law & should be removed from office while protecting them from charges that they don’t support the troops. It is another case where the Dems (since we are not allowed to point out when the WH fails without including the weak-kneed and the Blew Dogs) got out-maneuvered by the Confederates. Had they gone at the time this started and asked for approval to bomb the hell out of Libya they would have gotten approval. Now they have handed yet another PR victory to the right.

  74. 74
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    Kay– ummm… well, the president is pretty near, y’knowhuttameen? Ergo, it must be his fault.

  75. 75
    Pat says:

    I doubt if we’ll ever see anything like the Arab Spring in the US to counterbalance a neutered Congress. That’s the sad part because Americans are largely insulated from reality, like over-medicated bipolar patients. Now if they confiscated all of our flat screen TVs…that’d be another thing.

  76. 76
    Ryan S says:

    So far the President hasn’t sought authorization and claims its not a war. The Congress hasn’t filed suit yet. So pretty much its a defacto authorization if they refuse to take action.

  77. 77
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    Over Dubya’s 8 years in office, 3 of them were with a Congress not entirely controlled by the Repups. One year the Senate flipped when Sen whatshisname changed parties. And then obviously after the 06 elections.

    Cheney and crew even then, ignored Congress whenever possible. And when they “worked” with members of the opposite party, think Another Child Left Behind, once they got what they wanted, they ignored spirit and intent of much of whatever brought any Dems into cooperation in the first place.

    Admitedly, even Nancy Smash didn’t exactly hobble the Bushies in the same manner this Congress is attempting to do. That being said, she had enough sense to not go down the same path of “compromise” that Dems the previous 6 years had done only to get shit flung in their collective faces.

  78. 78
    Chyron HR says:

    Better get ABL’s super-secret ISP sniffer on the case!

    Ha ha, it’s funny because Balloon Juice is run by a paranoid halfwit who demands that people with opposing views submit their names, addresses and SSNs for “identity hardening”.

    Oh, wait.

  79. 79
    Chris says:

    When the legislative branch is incapable of checking there is effectively an imbalance between the executive branch and the other 2.

    People just naturally identify with the one guy in the executive branch more naturally than the amorphous bloc of 535 constantly bickering people that’re supposed to be the most powerful branch of the government. People want one leader to follow, one face to put on the government, one guy to blame or credit for everything that’s going on in their world.

    It’s one of the reasons running a democracy’s no easy task.

  80. 80
    Martin says:

    The constitution clearly states the President is the only one that can seek authorization from Congress for a war.

    Where does it say that?

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
    __
    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
    __
    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
    __
    To provide and maintain a Navy;
    __
    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
    __
    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
    __
    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
    __
    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
    __
    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

    Where does it say that only the President can seek authorization?

  81. 81
    kay says:

    Kay—ummm… well, the president is pretty near, y’knowhuttameen? Ergo, it must be his fault.

    I feel as if this approach is conceptually wrong, like they’re never going to get where they want to go looking exclusively in the direction of the President.
    I don’t think that’s going to work.
    Congress: “Give it back”
    President: “Hell, no”.
    Okay. Now what?
    Louder, Congress to President: “give it back!”
    Is there a possibility it should go in the other direction? Like a….check? Could we try that? Or do we just wish and hope the President doesn’t over-step, because he’s a great guy?

  82. 82
    Lol says:

    Even the “defunding” resolution wouldn’t have done anything since Obama pulled the mission back to the role outlined in it *months* ago.

  83. 83
    Trurl says:

    So pretty much its a defacto authorization if they refuse to take action.

    Point taken.

    But “If elected, I pledge to have the most de facto legal administration ever” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  84. 84
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Congress could repeal the War Powers Act and reassert its constitutional authority to be the sole body to declare war if it chose to. It passed the War Powers Act so that it could shirk one of its most solemn duties with the added advantage of being able to kibitz and bellyache from the sidelines. One of the results is that while we’re never at war, we’re always fighting somewhere.

  85. 85
    Pat says:

    @67 someguy

    Correct that treaties become law of the land, but certain govt. actions taken pursuant to a treaty can still be forbidden by the Constitution. We couldn’t force citizens to quarter Israeli commandos in homes along the Texas border just because we have a treaty with Israel and President Rick Perry kinda likes the idea. Congress’ endorsement of treaties wasn’t intended to be a blank check to supersede Constitutional protections.

  86. 86
    MomSense says:

    People here sure love to argue, but it isn’t clear to me that we are actually learning anything from this debate.

    I would love to hear from the folks that do not support involvement in the Libyan action if they would have preferred that Gaddafi kill 150-200,000 civilians.

    Do you believe that the international community has a role to play in preventing atrocities like this? Should we act to prevent atrocities even if there is no economic benefit? What exactly constitutes an action that is in our interest?

    If you had been the “decider” and heard the things that Gaddafi was saying, saw the attacks, what would you have done? Would you have tried to work with the UNSC to prevent it? Issued a condemnation statement on your own? Would you have asked the UN to issue a statement of condemnation?

  87. 87
    Sloegin says:

    We may not have troopers “on the ground” but we have uniformed service members killing people in Libya (via air-force drone drivers in easy chairs).

    US forces are actively engaged. Everything else is a bullshit distinction.

  88. 88
    Timothy Trollenschlongen (formerly Tim, Interrupted) says:

    @ Pat # 60

    This is what I don’t get about the Loyalists. Obama gets a pass for not doing the right thing simply because he can get away with it politically. Pure cynical opportunism, exact opposite of what Obama claims to stand for.

    In the name of all that is holy, THIS.

  89. 89
    moonbat says:

    @Lol: That’s just it. If you wanted to let Qaddafi crush his Arab Spring in happy despot fashion, the time to speak up was a few months ago when we were actually militarily involved. We are not dropping our bombs, there are no “boots on the ground.” It’s sort of a horse/barn door situation. And if you ask me it is being cooked up and touted by the MSM because the Repubs want to divert attention from the fact that they are playing chicken with the economy because they don’t want a single billionaire paying an extra penny in taxes and the Weiner-gate thing was running out of steam.

  90. 90

    someguy @67:
    As you may have noticed, it’s already taken as assumed by some parties that Obama’s action was illegal and he didn’t have the right to do it without specific authorization from congress. So they’ve moved the argument to whether he’s defying the constitution in spirit or letter. It’s all ‘Have you stopped beating your wife?’ stuff with ODS.

  91. 91
    Trurl says:

    Even FDL is calling this de facto authorization – “given the President a pass to do what he likes”.

    So be it then. Hail Caesar, I guess.

  92. 92
    Chris says:

    @ Pat –

    Correct that treaties become law of the land, but certain govt. actions taken pursuant to a treaty can still be forbidden by the Constitution. We couldn’t force citizens to quarter Israeli commandos in homes along the Texas border just because we have a treaty with Israel and President Rick Perry kinda likes the idea. Congress’ endorsement of treaties wasn’t intended to be a blank check to supersede Constitutional protections.

    Correct.

    As I recall from my very limited studying of the law, treaties trump everything except constitutional law.

  93. 93
    MikeBoyScout says:

    And let’s not kid ourselves here.
    While the pomp and circumstance of constitutional authority may be a song for the teapartying or glennzilla crowd, the congress shall play the song their Galtian Overlords call.

    Only low networth folks are up-in-arms about our Freedom Bomb campaign in Libya. It is going just fine in Libya for our congressional representatives.

  94. 94
    kay says:

    In the name of all that is holy, THIS.

    But, Tim, you’re giving Congress a pass while complaining that the president has too much power.

    Two things could happen. The president could give it back, or congress could take it back. Isn’t it playing into the broader idea of the all-powerful executive when you absolve Congress of all responsibility? In a sense you’re saying, “well, sadly, they’re ‘neutered’ (whatever that means). We’ll just have to hope the president knows what’s right here!”

    Who neutered them? The president? How’d he do that?

  95. 95
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @MikeBoyScout

    This is one of those instances when Congress has achieved its ultimate goal; if Libya goes well then they’ll take the credit. If Libya goes badly then the president will take the blame. America; I hardly knew ya’.

  96. 96
    Ochotona princeps says:

    @Kay #80/Ryan #68

    Actually, if the Congress sued the president, the courts would almost certainly punt under the “political question” doctrine…the courts are extremely leery of issuing a direct command to the executive, because of the likelihood they’ll get ignored a la Jackson. There’s no way the SCOTUS would ever tell a president “pull out the troops or else”, because of the risk the president would call their bluff.

    There is a good book about judicial review in emerging democracies (whose name I forget) that discussed how the strongest high courts in foreign countries were those which avoided direct confrontation with the executive. It weakens your authority pretty badly to be ignored by the branch with the guns.

  97. 97
    Trurl says:

    This is what I don’t get about the Loyalists. Obama gets a pass for not doing the right thing simply because he can get away with it politically. Pure cynical opportunism, exact opposite of what Obama claims to stand for.

    That’s because what they call principles are actually just fashion accessories in the service of their tribal identification. If opposition to an imperial presidency falls out of fashion with the tribe – as Obama’s actions have now forced it to do – they will simply adopt a new look.

    It’s OK. I also once believed that Democrats had a fundamental ethical superiority to Republicans.

  98. 98
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Someday there’ll be something, some body, some international agency, with the power to provide receivers-in-possession for countries that are badly screwed up, saddled with regimes that are lethal, on a large scale, to their own subjects. Or at least send in a fire brigade to put the fires out.

    We could call it “The United Nations” or something.

    But until then, I can’t see any problems with an unthinking, reflexive support of the Westphalian nation-state.

  99. 99
    sparky says:

    i see the blog is living up to its motto this afternoon.

    the two actions by congress actually make perfect sense and are easily reconciled. it is possible to refuse to authorize (that is, legitimate) an action that is already underway and at the same time refuse to pull the plug on it by defunding it. i suspect a number of people here are forgetting(?) that this was pretty much the democratic strategy (to the extent anything could be called such) in congress in 2006-8 with respect to Iraq.

    as for increasing executive authority, that it is occurring does not ipso facto make it a good thing. nor is it a function of this particular congress in any meaningful sense. if you want to blame someone, blame the 80th congress, which started down this road. interestingly, the party setup was similar to what you see now (R cong, D WH).

    one last note: these counterfactuals of what “could” have happened with people tossing around numbers of people who “could have been killed” are pretty tiresome, as they have exactly zero factual basis. the only facts on the ground so to speak are the people who are actually killed and wounded, some of them by the US. if you want to argue that the US should intervene in Libya, go ahead, but fantasy arguments in support do nothing but raise the temperature of the blog. oh, wait.

    edit: re # 97. i once did as well. no doubt i am still naive about something else. hmmm….

  100. 100
    david mizner says:

    @70kay

    “I think a court decides what the law is. That other branch.”

    So we’re not allowed to point out that Obama is breaking the law because a court hasn’t ruled on it. Just like we weren’t allowed to say Bush broke the law when he tortured because a court never determined that he did?

    Incredible, the contortions that smart-seeming people perform just to give the President a break. You should really just stick to principle: it’d be less painful for all us.

  101. 101
    Poopyman says:

    @Kay:

    Who neutered them? The president? How’d he do that?

    Not this President. A President. Remember Bush’s signing statements and how he basically told Congress he was going to do whatever he wanted despite what the laws actually said? Remember how both houses howled and pushed back on him? Yeah, me neither.

    My take is that the Bush presidency trained Congress to deal with the White House in a certain way, and in some ways — this instance, at least — they haven’t broken out of their old habit.

  102. 102
    Midnight Marauder says:

    cathyx

    If Obama ignores congress, then we should all call him King Obama. Congress should do their fucking job.

    I think this reflects reality just a touch more.

  103. 103
    El Cid says:

    Thank god.

    The State Department is letting those American troublemakers (like Alice Walker) who are planning another flotilla to bring stuff to Gazans despite an Israeli blockade know that they’re subject to criminal charges by the US for supporting a terrorist organization.

    Since we’re going to view providing aid directly to Gazans to fight a blockade, rather than going through Israeli-approved steps, as assistance to Hamas, and since the US identifies Hamas as a terrorist organization

    …Well, we hope those troublemakers keep in mind at least potential future prison prospects before they let themselves get shot repeatedly in the back of the head by Israeli forces.

  104. 104
    Trurl says:

    it’s already taken as assumed by some parties that Obama’s action was illegal and he didn’t have the right to do it without specific authorization from congress

    “Some parties” being DFHs like Obama’s own Chief of Office of Legal Counsel, his own Attorney General, and his own Department of Defense General Counsel.

    I still await the Obot explanation of how these three top leaders of their respective fields, whose competence has never been called into question before, all failed to see the clear legal standing for this regime change operation against an oil-exporting Muslim country that was so clear to the general counsel of Obama’s successful election campaign.

  105. 105
    Midnight Marauder says:

    david mizner

    Both things can be true, and are true. Congress is filled with cowards who refuse to exercise their authority, and Obama is, Bush-style, expanding presidential power, the law be damned. Which is to say: the cowardice of Congress doesn’t excuse the President’s law-breaking.

    This is unfailingly moronic. Both things cannot be true. A primary job of Congress is to serve as a check on presidential power. If they are slacking on the fucking job, of course the president is going to walk over them. Because they belong to an entirely separate branch of government with its own agenda, remember?

    Kay is exactly right:

    Congress has to stop begging the President to give back their power. It’s theirs. Why don’t they take it back?
    __
    The people who are most concerned about presidential power grabs never, ever look in the other direction, towards Congress. In an odd way, you’re contributing to this, by making it one-sided, and exclusively about the president.
    __
    They’re called to put a check on him, and they have ample power to do so. Instead they’re just going to yell at him a lot?

  106. 106
    Georgia Pig says:

    The failure of the authorization bill means that the particular authorization language in that bill did not pass; it doesn’t necessarily mean that Obama may be otherwise authorized. The continued appropriation of funds would seem to be a de facto authorization or waiver. Congress looks like a bunch of passive aggressive jackasses here, but what else is new?

    Obama is not going to Congress to ask for authorization under the WPR because (1) he doesn’t think it applies and (2) he knows there is a risk that the particular authorization language he seeks might not pass, which puts him in a bind and could cause operational problems that he thinks he simply cannot risk as commander and chief (see, e.g., debt ceiling negotiations — you don’t think the Republicans won’t do that here?). This is more a design flaw of the WPR than any particular fault of Obama, particularly if you believe that he had no real choice as to the initial involvement when Qaddafi was threatening to bombard Benghazi.

  107. 107
    Martin says:

    This is what I don’t get about the Loyalists. Obama gets a pass for not doing the right thing simply because he can get away with it politically.

    Wait, what’s the right thing here?

    It sounds like you’re saying that some legal grey area, something that Congress could resolve under their own initiative, should take precedence over a humanitarian crisis.

    Let me put it a different way: A Republican-led House is unlikely to approve of this for purely partisan reasons. We know this. The GOP has admitted to this. Is seeking that approval more important than however many people would die in Libya?

    I’m not saying this to draw a stark black/white line, rather to suggest that there isn’t as stark a black/white line around ‘right thing’ as you are suggesting. It seems like those opposing the Libya action should be perfectly comfortable with all of the procedural bullshit that goes in on in Congress. After all, who cares if abortions become effectively illegal or millions of people die due to lack of health care, so long as the rules are followed regarding some Senator’s secret hold on legislation. I seem to recall a very different attitude toward what was ‘the right thing’ back then, or on criminal charges against bankers who technically, may not have violated any laws, or on whether BP should be run out on a rail, or on Citizens United Not Timid etc.

    Everyone seems perfectly content with demanding Obama or Congress or SCOTUS bend whatever rule, clear or unclear as they may be, to suit their own particular moral agenda.

  108. 108
    cathyx says:

    101.Midnight Marauder
    See my #43.

    I want my President to subscribe to the principle of doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.

  109. 109
    jheartney says:

    Congress could repeal the War Powers Act and reassert its constitutional authority to be the sole body to declare war if it chose to.

    The reason the War Powers act was passed was because the Congress really really didn’t want to be in the war-declaring business. And given the political realities, that makes perfect sense for them; they aren’t in the chain of command, so any declaration of war puts their entire political fates into the hands of an executive branch over which they have zero operational control.

    You can call them cowards, but a better name for the sorts of people who would stick their noses into warmaking in the way you seem to want them to would be ex-congressmember. So natural selection will give us a Congress full of people you can self-righteously call cowards.

    The eventual conclusion I think you have to come to is that a government built with a true separation of powers is incapable of administering military conflict (or much else, for that matter). The Commander-in-Chief will end up usurping any war-making powers the Congress supposedly has because it doesn’t make sense for such powers to be separated.

  110. 110
    srv says:

    bleh, wrong thread

  111. 111
    Martin says:

    Who neutered them? The president? How’d he do that?

    Precisely. This is an important lesson to any young people out there:

    When you refuse to do your job, someone will eventually come along and do it for you. Don’t expect to keep getting paid.

  112. 112
    Timothy Trollenschlongen (formerly Tim, Interrupted) says:

    @ Kay # 93

    But, Tim, you’re giving Congress a pass while complaining that the president has too much power.

    I am not giving Congress a pass. They are collectively a humongous douche bag.

    But how the hell does that excuse Obama from simply doing the right thing which is to NOT involve the U.S. in yet another undeclared war on top of the three or four OTHER ones we already have going? How is this change we can believe in?

    Just because congress says “go ahead, be an ass, we’re not going to stop you,” how does that excuse Obama from being an ass? It’s his choice. God, the guy is a tool and a pig and all the more hatefully so because of all the well-meaning/gullible voters he deceived on his way to absolute war power.

  113. 113
    Mike Kay (The Base) says:

    You know how some people got hysterical this weekend because Obama ignored the legal opinion of the OLC. There were endless ramblings about how “the rule of law” should always be followed.
    Turns out it’s not the first time the administration ignored the OLC.

    Back in April 2009, the administration ignored the OLC on DC voting rights.

    Justice Department lawyers concluded in an unpublished opinion earlier this year that the historic D.C. voting rights bill pending in Congress is unconstitutional, according to sources briefed on the issue. But Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who supports the measure, ordered up a second opinion from other lawyers in his department and determined that the legislation would pass muster. http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..04426.html

    Now why didn’t the usual suspect complain then? You didn’t hear a peep from them. Why wasn’t following “the rule of law” important when the OLC opposed voting rights?
    The poutragers are hypocritical. Because they support voting rights, they didn’t whine when OLC was ignored. Now they scream bloody murder. This is why it’s so easy to mock the poutragers.

  114. 114
    Gabriel Bellatrix says:

    @Trurl

    all failed to see the clear legal standing for this regime change operation

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

    It’s not “clear legal standing.” That’s the issue–there is legitimate disagreement as to whether our involvement in Libya are hostilities that are subject to the WPA.

    Some people said that our action in Libya is subject to the WPA, others said that it isn’t. The President went with the folks whose positions agreed with his own.

    This isn’t a naked Presidential power grab–the President is doing what he believes is right and he believes he’s fully within the law. If that’s not the case, it’s up to Congress to put him in check. If they don’t do that then they’re essentially agreeing with the President since there is no other arbiter (as someone else said, SCOTUS would likely punt on this as a “political question”).

    But hey, I guess that’s too nuanced of an argument for you, so clearly I must be a warmongering oil-thirsty Obot.

    Who are you voting for in 2012 again?

  115. 115
    Midnight Marauder says:

    cathyx

    I want my President to subscribe to the principle of doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.

    Then you are completely unserious about actually improving the political landscape in this country. You know how you make sure the president “subscribes to the principle of doing the right thing”? YOU GET CONGRESS TO SERVE AS A CHECK ON THEIR RAMPANT POWER!

    This is really not that hard. I mean, this is literally one of the main reasons Congress exists, is to serve as a check and balance against the presidency. And instead of demanding that they actually step up to the plate and do their jobs like mature adults, you are setting up shop in Narnia with delusional fantasies about presidents “subscribing to the principle of doing the right thing.”

    People like you are exactly the reason why the presidency in this country is the way it is. Because you keep giving a pass to the people who aren’t doing their jobs and placing unreal expectations on a person holding an office that hasn’t seen a serious challenge to its power in about two decades.

    It’s fucking Clown City in here today.

  116. 116
    Midnight Marauder says:

    The reason the War Powers act was passed was because the Congress really really didn’t want to be in the war-declaring business. And given the political realities, that makes perfect sense for them; they aren’t in the chain of command, so any declaration of war puts their entire political fates into the hands of an executive branch over which they have zero operational control.
    __
    You can call them cowards, but a better name for the sorts of people who would stick their noses into warmaking in the way you seem to want them to would be ex-congressmember. So natural selection will give us a Congress full of people you can self-righteously call cowards.

    Actually, that is not a better name for it at all. A better name would “abdication of explicitly declared responsibilities.”

  117. 117
    cat48 says:

    Senators McCain & Kerry have been working on an Authorization since the end of March 2011. They plan to start debating it in the Senate after July 4th recess.

    I know Obama didn’t handle this correctly, but neither have they! They’ve puttered around with wording so all 100 Senators would be happy. They should all be forced to retire now.

  118. 118
    jheartney says:

    Actually, that is not a better name for it at all. A better name would “abdication of explicitly declared responsibilities.”

    Missing my point of course. The ones who didn’t abdicate would be out of office, if not immediately, then eventually.

    It’s not about a character flaw – it’s about a system whose internal incentive structure doesn’t make sense. You can face this fact or you can retreat into fantasies of nefarious bad guys who for inexplicable reasons never seem to want to do the right thing.

  119. 119
    cathyx says:

    114. Midnight Marauder-
    And you are giving a pass to the president who isn’t doing his job and you have zero expectations for that person holding the office of president.

  120. 120
    Mike Kay (The Base) says:

    @cathyx:

    I want my President to subscribe to the principle of doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.

    First, that’s a republican talking point invented to bash Clinton. I have no idea why leftys are so lazy that they can’t come up with their own talking points.

    2nd, You were one of the ones defending Weiner, a guy who couldn’t do the right thing when the public was looking. And not just the sexting while married and the unsolicted nude exhibitionism that would have got him arrested on a subway, but his week long cover-up(no pun intended) and lies about being hacked.

    leftys incapable of consistent and cohesive thought.

  121. 121
    jheartney says:

    This is really not that hard. I mean, this is literally one of the main reasons Congress exists, is to serve as a check and balance against the presidency.

    OK, let’s see how this works in practice. The president has committed forces in some theater or other because the situation was evolving to quickly for Congress to act. Now with hostilities ongoing, the Congress can either:

    A. Give the president a blank check, committing their political lives to whatever the executive chooses to do, with no control over what that is, and knowing they will be held responsible if things go south.

    B. Get into a constitutional dogfight by attempting to defund the military action in progress, knowing this will lead to talk of “abandoning troops under fire.” etc.

    Any mystery that they don’t feel like taking either choice?

  122. 122
    Trurl says:

    Some people said that our action in Libya is subject to the WPA, others said that it isn’t. The President went with the folks whose positions agreed with his own.

    This would be amusingly self-indicting even the disagreeing parties had equivalent standing.

    But as the Obots still refuse to address, the one saying “You’re not allowed to wage this war” is the Chief of the Office of Legal Counsel and the one saying “War? What war?” is the general counsel of his election campaign. It’s the difference between a Federal Appeals Court decision and the opinion of Lionel Hutz.

    So the fact that Obama picked the latter only emphasizes how bloodthirsty he was for this war.

  123. 123
    ABL says:

    the two actions by congress actually make perfect sense and are easily reconciled. it is possible to refuse to authorize (that is, legitimate) an action that is already underway and at the same time refuse to pull the plug on it by defunding it. i suspect a number of people here are forgetting(?) that this was pretty much the democratic strategy (to the extent anything could be called such) in congress in 2006-8 with respect to Iraq.

    i don’t understand why sparky isn’t dead on here.

    (INORITE?)

    ETA: Assuming that the action was illegitimate from the get-go which I am not convinced it was. But I really don’t see the problem with what Congress has done, in a technical sense, although I agree with what Kay has said in a general sense.

  124. 124
    ABL says:

    But as the Obots still refuse to address, the one saying “You’re not allowed to wage this war” is the Chief of the Office of Legal Counsel and the one saying “War? What war?” is the general counsel of his election campaign. It’s the difference between a Federal Appeals Court decision and the opinion of Lionel Hutz.

    This, I believe, is the Obot explanation you are looking for.

  125. 125
    ABL says:

    It’s fucking Clown City in here today.

    fix’d. :)

  126. 126
    Pat says:

    Congress isn’t the only check on Presidential power. A disillusioned base that plans to vote with its feet is very much in play during the first term. Obama may have nothing to fear from the former, but ignores the latter at his own peril. (fixed)

  127. 127
    Corner Stone says:

    What an edifying thread for future reference.

  128. 128
    cathyx says:

    #119Mike Kay (The Base) –
    Don’t know about it being a right wing talking point, it’s something I have always demanded on myself and my daughter.
    Show me where I ever defended Weiner, in fact, I made pronouncements to the contrary.

  129. 129
    eemom says:

    the two actions by congress actually make perfect sense and are easily reconciled.

    even if that’s technically true, it still makes them look like a bunch of ineffectual clowns who couldn’t find their own asses with two hands, a searchlight and a GPS unit.

  130. 130
    cat48 says:

    Kucinich is out bragging about what he did (NOTHING)! He said in 2 wks he really is going to Defund Libya! HA!
    Whatever……he has to get the Senate’s permission, too.

  131. 131
    myiq2xu says:

    If I were President, until these clowns get their shit together, I’d pretty much do whatever I wanted.

    Showing your true colors at last

  132. 132
    ABL says:

    i agree with eemom, per the yoozsh.

  133. 133
    Midnight Marauder says:

    jheartney

    Missing my point of course. The ones who didn’t abdicate would be out of office, if not immediately, then eventually.
    __
    It’s not about a character flaw – it’s about a system whose internal incentive structure doesn’t make sense. You can face this fact or you can retreat into fantasies of nefarious bad guys who for inexplicable reasons never seem to want to do the right thing.

    The system you are describing is flawed because a large part of this citizenry allows it to be. This thread is a perfect example. Look at how many people are shifting all focus away from Congress as though it has no substantial power in its own right.

    This doesn’t have a fucking thing to do with nefarious bad guys and everything to do with a voting populace that routinely and repeatedly condones Congressional abdication.

    That doesn’t change until the citizenry demands that it changes, and then follows through in make those changes a reality.

    Since, you know, they have a vote and all.

    cathyx

    And you are giving a pass to the president who isn’t doing his job and you have zero expectations for that person holding the office of president.

    You could not be more wrong in one sentence. The president is doing his job. If Congress disagrees with how he’s doing his job, then it’s their job to correct that.

    My expectations for the office of the presidency are entirely based on the fact that Congress has allowed that office to run unfettered for decades now. The only thing I have zero expectations about is that the dynamic will change anytime soon.

    Again, Kay said it best:

    It’s out of balance, right? He’s not moving. What should the other side do? Stand still and demand he move? Or move?

  134. 134
    neil says:

    It seems totally obvious that today’s Libya votes were a mandate for the President to keep doing what he’s doing right now. Congress has cast two votes which show explicitly that they will neither authorize-with-stipulations, nor prevent what he’s doing. So why on earth would he change what he’s doing? This is as close to a rubber-stamp as I can imagine. They said you’re not specifically authorized to fight but we’re not going to stop you. This is exactly what Obama’s not-quite-hostilities argument calls for.

  135. 135
    neil says:

    i don’t understand why sparky isn’t dead on here.

    ABL, it’s because the Democratic Congress voted repeatedly to fund the ongoing war in Iraq.

  136. 136
    David in NYC says:

    @50.Timothy Trollenschlongen (formerly Tim, Interrupted)

    Which means he is a warmongering, corporatist, lying motherfucker.

    Yes, but he’s OUR warmongering, corporatist, lying motherfucker, so that makes it OK. As a much wiser man that I put it:

    Alvy Singer: Right, I’m a bigot, I know, but for the left.

  137. 137
    Trurl says:

    Congress isn’t the only check on Presidential power. A disillusioned base that plans to vote with its feet is very much in play during the first term. Obama may have nothing to fear from the former, but ignores the latter at his own peril.

    Nonsense. Look around you. Obama knowingly violates the War Powers Act to wage a regime change operation againt an oil-exporting Muslim country and the bots here can only say that it’s Congress’ fault for not impeaching him. You think Obama is worried about their vote? They’ll shut up and vote when the Party tells them because ooga booga President Republican. They’re as easily frightened as Glenn Beck’s rubes cowering before the menace of sharia law.

    No, the group that will hand Obama’s ass to him are the independents who are going to be asked “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Because they know damned well they ain’t.

  138. 138
    General Stuck says:

    I think what happened today in the House was congress doing it’s job, albeit voting on some convoluted proposals to exert their will, it still was them exerting their will. Which was to grant tacit but unmistakable permission for Obama to keep doing what he is doing. Congresses power is limited by the fact they have to reach certain thresholds with their votes, for what they are voting on to mean something. And this is how it should be, because with the power of the purse, they hold, by far, the most power of all the branches. And in the ebb and flow of power between the branches, the required consensus of congress is self regulating to not use the purse they control as a partisan club per the passions of the day. Or some nonsense like that.

    The fact they did it with these dubious proposals was simply for them, a way to avoid taking either side, and taking all sides at once. Plausible deniability, and in this case resulting in a resounding thumbs up to the Executive branch to soldier on in Libya, for lack of a better term. Because the Executive branch with it’s Commander in Chief of the military, and a treaty to live up to our promises we made to that treaty when ratified – is co equal, not in a negative action way, but in a positive action way. Congress failing a consensus on Libya, is actually a consensus of sorts, under that equation. Deal with it progs, before you give yerselves an an you rizm.

  139. 139
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    Captain Haddock:

    I think it is time to revisit the term limit debate

    I don’t. Term limits are all about getting the other guy’s duly elected representative out of office. Back in the early ’90s everyone in Central TX was bitching about either Ted Kennedy or Jesse Helms needing to be term limited, but nobody said a goddamned thing about Jake Pickle serving 16 consecutive terms. He was doing just fine as far as his constituents were concerned.

    You don’t have the right to tell me I can’t vote for the guy I want just because he’s been there for 8 years already. If he’s doing a good job, I should be able to elect him as often as he’s willing to run. By that same token, it’s my responsibility to vote the bastard out when he stops doing a good job, not yours, not anyone else’s. You don’t think I’m doing my job to your satsifaction? Tough shit.

    We already have term limits: they’re called elections. Our problem isn’t corrupt or useless politicians, it’s that most of the electorate is shirking its responsibility to the community. Get voter turnout about 60% in any election – local, state, national – so that elections aren’t determined by a gullible minority with an ideological axe to grind.

    “But my vote won’t make a difference” – in an ideal world, any one individual vote shouldn’t make a difference; that’s the point. It’s when individual votes do start having visible effects that we have problems.

    We get exactly the government we deserve. The electorate has been lazy and uninvolved for the last 40 years, so we shouldn’t be surprised by the level of dysfunction in Congress.

    To a degree, Congress is supposed to be a slow, unwieldy, ineffecient body; that’s a feature, not a bug. The problem is that we have a Congress that isn’t willing to do its goddamned job anymore. The fault for that lies with us, because we’re not willing to do our job anymore.

  140. 140

    Trurl:

    About the OLC thing. Let me try and explain this to you. The current OLC says that they think this counts as ‘hostilities’ under the WPA. Other lawyers say they don’t. Previous Democratic OLCs defined ‘hostilities’ in a way that certainly wouldn’t count what’s going on. The OLC did not deliver an official ruling as to whether the action was legal or illegal. They made a suggestion about what they personally thought counted as ‘hostilities’. This is called a ‘grey’ area. The law is packed to the gills with them.

    It is also called ‘moot’, because that only answers the question of whether Obama could run this action entirely under his own wherewithal. He isn’t. He’s fulfilling American obligations to treaties to both the UN and NATO. But he did get some legal opinions – not official rulings – about whether he could.

    Let’s muddy the waters further. Does anyone think that the Libyan action would have been in any way controversial in Washington if the GOP weren’t playing hyperpartisan games right now? But congress does have final authority here. But they’re not using it.

    You have jumped from point ‘A’, which was ‘Obama picked one non-binding legal opinion over another non-binding legal opinion’ to point ‘Gamma’, which is ‘Obama has broken the law in an executive power grab and it’s sad to be discussing whether congress will stop him’. There is no alphabet in-between.

  141. 141
    cat48 says:

    Obama 2012: Stop Me If You Can

    I like this one since everyone is always calling him a wuss or a pushover. Frankly with all the repubs. focusing solely on him & already buying ads against him, it’s quite apt. Run, Obama, run.

  142. 142
    Trurl says:

    But congress does have final authority here. But they’re not using it.

    They’re afraid to force the issue for the same reason the courts are. What happens when the President tells them to Cheney themselves? Won’t be much use pretending after that about whether we have an executive or an emperor.

  143. 143
    General Stuck says:

    They’re afraid to force the issue for the same reason the courts are. What happens when the President tells them to Cheney themselves? Won’t be much use pretending after that about whether we have an executive or an emperor.

    Yes, of course Obama would respond just like Cheney. Are you really this stupid, or is it simple mendacity. Give it up, the House has spoken, and we can put to bed this “illegal war” > Obama = Cheney/Bush shit once and for all.

    Or, you can keep flailing about foolishly, like a beached lung fish, wanking for every breath.

  144. 144
    neil says:

    Of course, we don’t know what Cheney would have done if Congress had stopped rubber-stamping the war, because, of course, they didn’t.

  145. 145
    les says:

    Trurl:

    What happens when the President tells them to Cheney themselves?

    Why, then you’d have something real to bitch about. A new experience for you.

  146. 146
    myiq2xu says:

    But congress does have final authority here. But they’re not using it.

    That’s kind of a novel constitutional concept – the President can do whatever the fuck he wants unless Congress stops him.

    Of course it would require 2/3 of Congress to stop him because he could veto any bill they pass.

  147. 147
    OzoneR says:

    Assassinating Gaddafi for his threat to nationalize Libya’s oil is too urgent a matter to wait for Congressional approval.

    Are we just making shit up now? Is that what we’re doing?

  148. 148
    Mike M says:

    Congress had plenty of time to act before the UN Security Council vote. In the month or so run up to the UN vote, Obama was widely accused as “dithering” and “indecisive” for not acting immediately to institute a no-fly zone in Libya (Just do a Google search, there are plenty of articles). In fact the Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution urging the president to work in concert with the UN and our allies to institute the NFZ and take other “necessary actions.”

    Before the commencement of operations over Libya, the president stated quite clearly in a public address his goal for joining with the UN and the fact that he planned to pull the US back to a supporting role “within days”. The Libyan actions has taken longer than many people hoped, but the US involvement has not changed from what the president and his administration had said it would be.

    Congress would prefer that everything happen automatically without any of the members ever having to take a stand. The UN and NATO treaties, under cirumstances like these, authorize the president to take action without getting further approval from Congress. Then the WPA is supposed to kick-in and automatically cause the president to withdraw forces after 90 days unless Congress says otherwise.

    As others have pointed out, including the federal courts, Congress has plenty of power in these matters if it chooses to exercise it. It can withdraw from treaties, stop or ban funding for certain military actions, or even impeach the president. These are political questions.

    Today the House chose to do nothing and let the president’s actions stand.

  149. 149
    Trurl says:

    Are we just making shit up now? Is that what we’re doing?

    “Western oil companies operating in Libya have privately warned that their operations in the country may be nationalised if Colonel Muammer Gaddafi’s regime remains in power, reports the Financial Times.”

    http://www.ftadviser.com/Inves.....crises.jsp

  150. 150
    Trurl says:

    Today the House chose to do nothing and let the president’s actions stand.

    No argument from me. But let’s be clear on what this means.

    Barring as-yet-unseen levels of domestic opposition to the Libyan adventure, Congress will not exercise veto power over the President waging drone warfare at his sole discretion.

    That means that President [Republican bogeyperson of choice] can wage drone warfare against Iraq at their sole discretion. And they can call truthfully call it “the Obama Doctrine”.

    Since drone warfare is the future of warfare in the 21st century, this means that the President can wage warfare – period – at their sole discretion.

    Are the bots expecting that there will be only Democratic Presidents after Obama? Or are they so desperate to defend their tribe that they can’t plan for two fucking years into the future?

  151. 151
    jheartney says:

    This doesn’t have a fucking thing to do with nefarious bad guys and everything to do with a voting populace that routinely and repeatedly condones Congressional abdication.

    So we agree on it being misguided to blame the Congresscritters. And I’d agree that the voting citizenry deserves some blame for not making said Congresscritters fulfill their supposed responsibilities. But I also think it’s unrealistic to expect the distracted and under-informed electorate to vote their representatives out for ducking a tough vote; voters don’t pay enough attention to understand these things.

    A better approach would be to tie the legislative and executive together politically, i.e. in some sort of parliamentary setup. Such a setup would make all members of the ruling party automatically answerable for the executive’s war decisions. That way voters would have a better idea of who and what they were voting for, and thus could function to discipline overzealous warmaking.

    Since (as you say above) it’s ultimately the voters’ responsibility to rein the politicians in, why not skip the rigamarole of a non-functional separation of powers structure, and just let the electorate do its job directly?

  152. 152
    CaliCat says:

    Cole is correct. The chuckle-heads in Congress are completely useless. In this case, they’re just pissed because the President didn’t “consult” them/stroke their egos before making his decision on Libya.

    Thank god we have an alpha male in the Oval Office. He makes the real decisions while the beta fools in Congress run their circle jerk.

  153. 153
    neil says:

    You’re right! We’ve all got to start posting comments to blogs insulting Obama and his supporters! It’s the only way to save the republic!

  154. 154
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @eemom:

    Thanks for mentioning that, I have been thinking the same thing. My guess is “Nope”.

  155. 155
    General Stuck says:

    and thus could function to discipline overzealous warmaking.

    Seriously, do you really consider what Obama has the US currently doing in Libya, as “overzealous”. Or are you confusing what Obama has done in Libya with what Bush did in Iraq?

  156. 156
    neil says:

    ITYM “conflating”

  157. 157
    General Stuck says:

    ITYM “conflating”

    Started to use that term, but didn’t cause it seems a little worn, and I wanted to give it a rest with a relief word.

  158. 158
    Trurl says:

    Thank god we have an alpha male in the Oval Office.

    What size codpiece does your man use in his flightsuit?

  159. 159
    General Stuck says:

    Are the bots expecting that there will be only Democratic Presidents after Obama? Or are they so desperate to defend their tribe that they can’t plan for two fucking years into the future?

    We will have more wingnut presidents, and likely worse than Bush, and they will warmonger to varying degrees, and we will have this debate again and again. But what is also the legacy as a framework for doing these things in an international way, instead of by ourselves out of actual warmongering like Bush, will leave an alternative example of the Libyan action, and the US taking a background role for once. Doesn’t mean the future wingnut president will still not cowboy it like Bush having the US act alone, but it creates a political reference point they will have to over ride at their political peril.

  160. 160
    MikeMc says:

    It’s a UN run operation, yeah? The UN nations approved this action. I’m not familiar with how Nato works, but as a UN member, don’t we have certain obligations once a resolution is passed? For the congress to have any effect wouldn’t they have to, either, vote to defund the UN, or vote to pull the U.S. from the UN?

  161. 161
    MikeMc says:

    @Trurl

    “What size codpiece does your man use in his flightsuit?”

    Good question! Also, what size tampon do you use in yours?

  162. 162
    neil says:

    MikeMC: The UN Security Council resolution is an authorization for don’t-call-it-hostilities, not a mandate.

  163. 163
    General Stuck says:

    For the congress to have any effect wouldn’t they have to, either, vote to defund the UN, or vote to pull the U.S. from the UN

    I personally don’t think so, as their power of the purse would stop the Libyan action, and takes precedent over whatever treaty obligations we may have. It would, or could well trigger a constitutional crisis, but I think Obama or any president would not push that on a legal basis.

    I was actually for the House bill that would have approved Obama for doing pretty much what we are doing now in a background role, but prohibit things like ground troops, and other more overt military actions in Libya. That would have relieved or prevented the possibility of Obama getting pressured later on to escalate. Though I don’t think he would or will, as it would be a pol maybe death blow to his reelection. Fucking congress couldn’t even get that done.

  164. 164
    Trurl says:

    it creates a political reference point they will have to over ride at their political peril

    What peril are you imagining?

    Obama is waging a war of aggression to achieve regime change in Libya, exceeding the UN mandate, against the express legal advice of the OLC and the AG, and while being sued in federal court by members of his own party. And despite all that, even a Tea Party-influenced Republican majority House of Representatives isn’t willing to defund his war.

    You think President Republican is going to give a shit about UN mandates?

  165. 165
    General Stuck says:

    Obama is waging a war of aggression to achieve regime change in Libya, exceeding the UN mandate, against the express legal advice of the OLC and the AG, and while being sued in federal court by members of his own party. And despite all that, even a Tea Party-influenced Republican majority House of Representatives isn’t willing to defund his war.

    WoW, that is quite a fantastical take on the Libyan situation. And of course total polemic horseshit. Where do you get such notions? Wonders out loud.

    As far as misbegotten wars, lies and videotape, just look at George Bush’s three year approval rating in near every poll at cemented on 30 percent give or take. No WMD, and a bloody mess in Iraq tracks along with those numbers. That is the pol peril I was speaking about.

    you ought to take a break dood. And give your ass a rest from talking out of it at staccato levels.

  166. 166
    Martin says:

    Don’t we have certain obligations once a resolution is passed?

    Not legally. Morally or politically is a different matter. There’s a subtle conflict here that I think too many people are quick to overlook.

    The right has been trying to delegitimize the UN for ages, with Bolton being the most brazen effort. They can do that formally, by officially rejecting UN decisions vetoing everything in the security council, etc. or informally by simply neutering it, refusing to pay our bills, that kind of shit. NATO isn’t as big a target, but the right really hates any supernational agency, so NATO will inevitably become one. Ultimately, they don’t want us to be global cop, so much as they want there to be no global cop to stop us from doing whatever the fuck we want. That’s the position that Bush was fighting from – we should be able to invade whoever we want for whatever reason and the UN or anyone else has no right to say no. Bush even ignored the UN weapons inspectors, made up his own WMD narrative, and sold it back to the UN.

    The left largely wants something different. We also don’t want to be global cop, but we do want a global cop – being the UN, with the US being the largest contributor to that effort. It’s one of those with great power comes great responsibility things. We want the UN to have a strong US influence, and the cost of the UN having a strong US influence is that US has to provide legitimacy to the UN. If the UN says that we need to cap carbon emissions, then the US, in the interests of providing legitimacy to the UN, needs to make a solid effort in doing that. Same goes for security council decisions.

    The right’s attitude toward the UN is the same as their attitude toward Obama – simply do the opposite, no matter how irrational. The left’s attitude toward the UN ought to be to support UN decisions either in full or at least in spirit, and to recognize that as the leading superpower and leading economic power, we’re going to have to play a leading role.

    We have no obligation to do what the UN asks or even what NATO asks. But we do have treaties with both organizations that are assumed to be bilateral – that if we give, they’ll give, etc. Libya wasn’t a case of the US advancing a particular agenda. It was France and then Britain making the big push, along with a few other nations in the region. We started with a softer stance, and as more supernational support developed – Arab League first – and as the situation grew more urgent, we joined up with these other nations to make a UN case, but it wasn’t the US making the primary case at any point here. The big push by the US came when everyone wanted to dump this on our shoulders and we said no. We said we’d participate, but we aren’t going to run this show any longer than we need and pushed to put it on someone else, ultimately convincing NATO to do it. Again, this isn’t an effort we were eager to get involved in or eager to stay involved in. We had stopped all activities over Libya until NATO came and asked us to keep running drones because it’s a unique US capability and one they felt could reduce risk to NATO and to civilians, and to this we agreed. Our participation here is as a member of the UN and as a member of NATO mainly with the intent of making the UN look like a valuable agency and NATO as a competent agency.

    There aren’t any parallels between this and Iraq, at all. We somewhat reluctantly got involved, but got involved because we had more assets next to Libya than everyone else combined by a mile so if it was going to happen at all, it needed to happen by us, we quickly asked to divest ourselves of responsibility for Libya which we did, we then asked to divest ourselves of any participation in Libya which we briefly did, but accepted a limited role at the request of NATO.

    This is how the left should want these things to work.

    Was it a good or bad decision? It was the UNs decision. We voted for it, so did a lot of other countries. Democracy.
    Should we get congress’s approval? Of course, but that holds for almost everything and it’s not always realistic. Republicans will oppose this solely to hurt Obama and to weaken the UN. This is a much bigger opportunity for them to undermine the UN than people are willing to admit.

    But this is also much bigger opportunity (for very little cost, I might add) for Obama to boost both the credibility of the UN after Iraq, and the credibility of NATO, but also the credibility of the US. Those are big things that the left should be supporting, but some people are getting all wound up in procedural bullshit instead – again noting that it’s the same kind of procedural bullshit that the very same people have been railing against for years when other policy issues were held in the balance.

  167. 167
    General Stuck says:

    If this is a “war of aggression” then someone should inform the UN of that. France is the big pusher of this, from what I can gather, and for not much more reason than they are scared stiff of a reempowered Quaddafy, across the Med pond. Blowing shit up in France and in the skies in that region of the world, out of spite and pure madness. I have no doubt they are trying to kill his crazy ass dead, I don’t know if we are using the drones for that purpose. I oppose drones, but do not oppose the untimely demise of mr. Quaddafy, from natural or un natural causes.

  168. 168
    Corner Stone says:

    Slurp…slurp…slurp…

  169. 169
    General Stuck says:

    Slurp…slurp…slurp…

    You can’t live off Spaghetti O’s and not end up a moron, CS. How many times do I have to tell you that?

  170. 170

    You can’t live off Spaghetti O’s and not end up a moron, CS. How many times do I have to tell you that?

    That ship sailed a long time ago, General.

  171. 171
    mclaren says:

    Well, this is where we are in 2011, isn’t it? Barack Obama is a muddleheaded inexperienced inept bumbler whose foreign policy is a farrago of mistakes and miscues, counterproductive blunders and chaos-inducting quagmires…

    And everyone would be justified in criticizing Obama, if it weren’t for the fact that the incompetents and fools and lunatics in congress and especially the Republican party are a 1,000 times worse.

    So everyone praises Obama’s fumbling bumbling stumbling bungling missteps, because he looks brilliant by comparison with the Republicans.

  172. 172
    Uriel says:

    @trurl

    That’s because what they call principles are actually just fashion accessories in the service of their tribal identification

    Nice turn of phrase.

    You’re still a political half-wit with the acumen of Bill Kristol on an anti-freeze bender- but credit where credit is due.

  173. 173
    Midnight Marauder says:

    So we agree on it being misguided to blame the Congresscritters.

    No. We do not.

    Both parties are culpable.

  174. 174
    Midnight Marauder says:

    But I also think it’s unrealistic to expect the distracted and under-informed electorate to vote their representatives out for ducking a tough vote; voters don’t pay enough attention to understand these things.

    Here’s a suggestion:

    Stop letting voters off the hook for being blithely unaware of what’s happening in the country they live in.

    They live in a representative democracy. They make a choice to not appropriately inform themselves. For fucks sake, this is the information age!

    The citizenry of this country ran out of excuses quite some time ago.

  175. 175
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ Trurl

    I really have to admire how you made sure to snip your quote of the article to make it look like it had been written before NATO started bombing when the article was actually written afterwards.

    The very next paragraph after what you quoted:

    Petrol prices reached a record high over the weekend as a coalition of US, UK and French forces led air strikes on targets in Libya, reports the Daily Telegraph. This morning, Brent Crude was up $2 at £116 per barrel.

  176. 176
    bob h says:

    Got my fingers crossed that Qaddafi gives a shout-out to his Republican buddies from wherever he is hiding. I’m guessing that this foolery has made him determined to ride things out a bit longer, and our allies must be appalled.

  177. 177
    Pat says:

    It is amazing how all this country spends money on is war and it is amazing still that some people think it is absolutely the right right right THING to do.

    Obama/Clinton/Gates = Bush/Cheney/Gates. Absolutely no difference whatsoever.

    In the meantime, I will wait for my call from the local welfare office for when they want to interview me to see if I’m poor enough yet to be entitled to receive a few food stamps.

    I didn’t need food stamps in 2009. That was then, this is now.

  178. 178
    kay says:

    david mizner – June 24, 2011 | 4:26 pm · Link

    So we’re not allowed to point out that Obama is breaking the law because a court hasn’t ruled on it. Just like we weren’t allowed to say Bush broke the law when he tortured because a court never determined that he did? Incredible, the contortions that smart-seeming people perform just to give the President a break. You should really just stick to principle: it’d be less painful for all us.

    Where did I write you’re “allowed” or “not allowed” to say anything? I don’t do that, and I don’t do it for a reason, because I’m a practitioner and I like to keep a bright line between advocacy and pronouncements of legality. I can (and do, all the time) say that conservatives are passing law to suppress disfavored groups from voting. That’s advocacy, and I absolutely believe it, based on 6 years of looking at the facts. What I don’t do (again, I don’t do) is say that what they’re doing is unlawful under the VRA or HAVA. I don’t say the AG of Ohio or Florida or the US are not prosecuting an actual violation of either of those statutes, because that’s outside the lines, to me. I think you or anyone else can point to the OLC determination or any other legal authority or opinion you want and express that you agree with it. I like a bright line, for my own purposes, because it keeps me honest. I don’t want to fall in love w/my own argument. That gets me into trouble.

    Because I really do think differently about separation of powers than you (apparently) do, I’ll use an example of how I think about this.

    When Pelosi announced she was taking impeachment off the table, she was doing two things. She was acknowledging and buttressing the power she has. She accepts it. Further, she was making an unpopular decision to not use it. She didn’t say “Glory be, I don’t have this power, where has it got off to, I wonder?”. She didn’t say “someone or something is preventing me from using it”. She said “I decided to not use it”. That’s a decision, and it’s taking responsibility as a Congressional leader, and because it acknowledges that we DON’T have an Imperial Presidency, that we have tools and methods to prevent that, it’s HONEST, and it furthers a separation of powers argument. I don’t agree with her decision, but she’s not bullshitting me. I appreciate that.
    On the substance, interpretation of the WPA is (apparently, or has been) non-justiciable. Courts won’t take it because they acknowledge that Congress has power to determine the breadth and scope and they have the MASSIVE power to write law. So, it’s a “political question” (or has been, things can change). So, you got a political determination yesterday to a political question and you won’t accept that. You go right back to assertions of illegality. To me, that’s a dodge because we probably WON’T get a judicial determination of legality. While I understand (and heartily endorse) using that tactic in advocacy (go crazy, push like hell, I’m rooting for you) I don’t neccessarily accept it substantively.
    Finally, I never bought that Democrats were babes in the woods on Iraq, or torture or anything else. Never. I think many of them were either complicit or willfully, deliberately ignorant. It’s one of the reasons I don’t jump on Bush voters for backing Bush. Democrats were in this. Their hands aren’t clean. And I never bought that Congress (R or D) was powerless to stop any of it. I still don’t.

  179. 179
    LittlePig says:

    Obama/Clinton/Gates = Bush/Cheney/Gates. Absolutely no difference whatsoever.

    Best get some food for the unicorn, too, since from the vantage point of that comment there has to be unicorns (probably rainbow-farting ones at that).

    Killing a couple of hundred thousand Iraqis to show how tough your country is does not remotely equal this Libyan crap. The real world has shades of gray.

    By cathyx and thurl’s standards we would never have gone to the moon and the Civil Rights Act would not have been passed. Why? Because both JFK and LBJ would never have been President under the rules they propose. Vietnam was a horrible tragic mistake of epic proportions, but I’m still glad Lyndon Baines Johnson was President (hell, I miss seeing him, in black and white, on the TV. Yeah, I’m that old). These people are not going to be perfect. They can’t be, a) because saintly people are very damn rare in real life, and b) no such saintly person would be ever be elected because most folks couldn’t identify with him/her. Let’s not forget how that turned out in Palestine a couple thousand years ago.

    I voted for Obama (and actually worked in the campaign, a thing I hadn’t done since Dale Bumpers ran for Governor) with the expectation of one thing: Not to go to war with Iran. He has fulfilled that expectation. I hoped for more, but I did not expect it. That’s real life. Sucks? You bet. But that’s the hand that’s dealt.

    And as for “no difference?”. Please. I’m going to hold my nose and vote for Obama in 2012. Why? Because Michelle Bachmann’s administration would be hideous beyond the power of mind to imagine. There’s loads of worse left; we’re not even close to the bottom.

    When I vote for Obama in 2012 I will have an additional expectation: In addition to not going to war with Iran, I hope to avoid being sent to the gulag for not being an Evangelical. That’s motivation enough for me.

  180. 180
    MomSense says:

    Bravo Martin at #166!

  181. 181
    MomSense says:

    I am new to this balloon-juice business but I know this much for certain.

    Trurl=NObot. Every time. Without fail.

  182. 182

    […] The John Cole Theory of Separation of Powers Posted on June 25, 2011 by myiq2xu Yesterday at Buffoon Juice former GOPer John Cole posted this: Someone Has To Make Decisions […]

  183. 183
    manual says:

    I think Glenn Greenwald just made a fool of your entiere line of argumentation over at Salon. It seems very few people have a grasp of legislative detail or the authorization process: the “defunding” legislation would serve as a defacto authorization of the Libyan intervention. By appropriating some funds within the bill it would provide – at least – implicit acceptance of the president’s authority. In short, it was a sneaky bill that was not meant to truly end the war: that’s why, in addition to the progressives, anti-war Republican’s like Ron Paul and Walter B Jones voted against it.

    While I dont expect people to know everything about the legislative process, it’s best to wait and learn before presumptuously shooting from the hip. Just sayin.

  184. 184
    myiq2xu says:

    Glenzilla:

    The significance of yesterday’s vote is substantial and should not be minimized. Congress does not need to de-fund a war to render it illegal. Under the law (and the Constitution), military actions are illegal if Congress does not affirmatively authorize them (either within 60 days or at the start, depending on one’s view). The fact that the President has failed to obtain that authorization renders his ongoing war-waging illegal — period.

  185. 185
    Corner Stone says:

    @MomSense

    Trurl=NObot. Every time. Without fail.

    Pathetic. Why don’t you try harder?

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