The Full Clinton

Via Alan Colmes this morning:

Republican Congressman Walter Jones wants to impeach President Obama over his actions in Libya. House Concurrent Resolution 107 is his bill, which begins:

Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.

And so it begins.  Perhaps the resolution should be called the Sad Attempt To Get Republican Turnout Act.  Obama Derangement Syndrome, America’s greatest untapped unnatural resource.

45 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    The comments at the first link…. OMG.

  2. 2
    dmsilev says:

    “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

    Though honestly, it really should be “History repeats itself, first as farce, second as barely believable farce.”

  3. 3
    Peregrinus says:

    Dammit. Walter Jones seemed always a jot saner than his colleagues. Maybe he heard some bad polling numbers were coming down the Pike?

  4. 4
    EconWatcher says:

    If memory serves, Walter Jones was the guy who wanted to rename French fries freedom fries because the French would not join in the Iraq fiasco, and then (much later) became a vocal opponent of the was he helped start. A flake.

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Peregrinus: He is one of the people involved in renaming french fries as Freedom Fries. I know he turned against the war, but there definitely is some crazy in there.

  6. 6
    MattF says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how the House Republicans deal with this. There’s also been some reports that they’re going to renege on the budget deal. How do you say “Congressional Republicans aren’t interested in solving America’s problems” in a pithy way?

  7. 7
    WyldPirate says:

    Jones was my rep for a long time. He is the epitome of a stick-your-finger-in-the-wind pol. To put it bluntly, he sucks dog balls.

  8. 8

    Well, this is interesting. It’s not surprising that someone is talking impeachment. We’ve expected it for some time. But I never thought the right wing would be calling for impeachment for something that was pretty much a success.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    Wasn’t there a congressman who wants to declare war against Iran and Syria? Are we at war with Libya? I slept through that part.

  10. 10
    Suffern ACE says:

    It will be fun to explain to my grand kids some day how we figured this would all stop simply when demographics shifted if we were patient and played the long game.

  11. 11
    Cat Lady says:

    I thought this post might be about the big balls on Hillary. Good on her.

  12. 12
    rikyrah says:

    bring it.

    bring it, mofos!!

  13. 13

    Jones isn’t my kind of dude, but then he did also have strong opposition to Bush’s war/torture/FISA court shenanigans and this doesn’t seem to be too far out of his established realm. Not saying I like it, but certainly not surprised.

  14. 14

    I should have said, he ultimately got to a point of strong opposition, although freedom fries is also part of his repertoire.

  15. 15
    The Tragically Flip says:

    This won’t go anywhere.

    Yes, they want to impeach Obama, but they want to do it over an issue they can howl with outrage over. They like it when Presidents start wars without permission of Congress. They like knocking over uncooperative non-white dictators with American-power-fuck-yeah. Yes, they’re shameless hypocrites and would still impeach over this if the politics were good, but I can’t see how they are. The public is (sadly, IMO) not outraged over the violation of the War Powers Act. And it’s hard to make Obama look weak on defence when you’re impeaching him for starting wars that Republicans didn’t want to authorize against a notorious and universally agreed “bad man” like Qadafi.

    No, they’ll want a much better culture wars issue to impeach over.

  16. 16
    Dr. Squid says:

    Walter Jones, the Dennis Kucinich of the GOP.

    Yaaaawn.

  17. 17
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @The Tragically Flip: Remember, they complained when he started it, and then complained he didn’t get involved fast enough. They congratulated the French for doing so well, just to avoid congratulating Obama. It will never be about whether a president is getting involved in a war, just whether they can end Obama’s presidency.

  18. 18
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.

    Except that under chapter VII of the UN Charter, the US was obliged by treaty to fulfil its duty under UN Resolution 1973 to “take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”.

    This is beside the fact that no declaration of war was made by either Libya or the US and hence a state of war did not exist between them.

    Going after Obama for one of the most successful military interventions in decades seems to me to be a hard row to hoe.

    If they were serious they would have gone after him for the extrajudicial killing of US citizens, but obviously they aren’t serious.

  19. 19
    cervantes says:

    Jones is correct. The constitution gives to congress the sole power to declare war, and bombing Libya is clearly an act of war. The UN Charter does not supersede the constitution.

    However, congress gave up this power a long time ago.

  20. 20
    El Kabong says:

    Name a Republican congressman who WOULDN’T vote in favor of this (or any other) impeachment bill?

  21. 21
    liberal says:

    @El Kabong:
    Since Jones is most likely acting on principle, the answer is “very few”.

  22. 22
    fuzed says:

    If the course of action would include an post impeachment of Bush 2, redaction of the Patriot Act, a firmer restriction oversight on any military action (pseudo wars) and just action on Guatanomo detainees, I’d support it.

    But as we know, IOKIYAR.

  23. 23
    PaulW says:

    Just to clarify, did Reagan get a Congressional vote to invade Grenada, did Bush the Elder get one to invade Panama, where was Congress when Clinton signed off on bombing Serbia during the Kosovo crisis?

    There may be a War Powers Act, but rare has been the times when Congress actually pushed its use.

  24. 24
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    Except that under chapter VII of the UN Charter, the US was obliged by treaty to fulfil its duty under UN Resolution 1973 to “take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory”.

    I could almost buy this, as a legal matter, if there was a widespread understanding that the UN Charter, duly ratified by the US Senate, constituted “supreme law of the land” as specified in the Constitution, and that Treaty Obligation thus included Congress delegating the power to compel the US to engage in warfare by a vote of the Security Council under Chapter VII.

    It seems superficially plausible at least, though it doesn’t seem that anyone really views the UN Charter as including the power to compel warfare by member states, whatever the language of Security Council resolutions, I think the UN can order states to stop aggressive action, and authorize other UN members to use war to stop them, but it can’t compel member states to engage in war if they don’t choose to.

    After all, dozens of UN member states have no military, or have one with absolutely no force projection capabilities with which to ever engage in a war abroad somewhere. In theory, the Security Council’s authorization to use force somewhere under Ch 7 is addressed to say, Costa Rica (without an army) as much as the US. No one has ever argued that Costa Rica is in violation of its UN charter obligations by not having a military.

  25. 25
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @PaulW:

    Did either of Panama or Grenada go past the time limit of unilateral presidential action?

    As for Kosovo, some members of Congress did file a lawsuit against Clinton over this (dismissed on standing grounds) and Clinton’s OLC published a memo arguing that since Congress passed an “emergency supplemental” of funding for the Kosovo war, that constituted authorization.

    It is true that it’s hard to argue Congress didn’t authorize a war that they explicitly provided funding for.

  26. 26
    kay says:

    This really says it all for me:

    The House refused to vote President Barack Obama the authority for U.S. military operations against Libya on Friday but stopped short of cutting off funds for the mission, a mixed message reminiscent of congressional unease on Vietnam and more recent wars.

    The congressional “unease” is on using their enormous power.

    How long are they going to run this scam?

    “Here’s all our power Mr. President. Give it back, you fiend!”

    Power works two ways. Balance can be achieved two ways. It is ridiculous for Congress to continually cede all foreign policy decisions to the President, while complaining about it.

    Why would any president ever, ever make this deal? They will take no responsibility for the decision, yet they insist they want control over the decision. You know how Congress can limit executive power? They can take it back, but along with it will come responsibility for outcomes. Which is why they’ll never do it. If the president has moved into their realm, it’s ONLY because they weren’t there. They’re going to yell at him to move back? Why don’t they move forward, instead? Problem solved. Balance achieved.

    Instead we’ll get “sense of Congress” resolutions like this, which I’m sure will go out in a fundraising email as “fighting back”.

    I’ve never seen anything like it. “We need balance! Move back!” Year after year after year. There’s another way to get there, and it makes more sense, because then they wouldn’t be ineffectually screaming at the president to back off, or hoping he’ll back off, which is even more pathetic. They can move forward, into their proper place.

  27. 27
    SteveM says:

    Wait — this is just the opposite of the usual right-wing craziness, because it’s a threat to impeach Obama if he kills brown people rather than if he doesn’t. And it’s from a Repub who turned against the war while Bush was still in office, a heresy that somehow didn’t destroy his career. (If there’d been a tea party back then, the ‘baggers would have made short work of him.)

    So I think it’s safe to ignore this.

  28. 28
    kay says:

    If they’re going to bring impeachment resolutions every six months, they’re going to cheapen and make irrelevant that process or charge.
    It’s probably already ruined, because conservatives used it for purely political purposes with Clinton, but what we’re going to end up with is politicians using what’s supposed to be a mechanism to remove the president as a fundraising tool, and no one in the general public is going to know the difference, between this “sense of Congress” stuff and when they really, really mean it.
    It’s as if they’re trying to make the legislative branch completely irrelevant, and for all I know, they are doing that, because that’s less risky.

  29. 29
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    It is true that it’s hard to argue Congress didn’t authorize a war that they explicitly provided funding for.

    Then Congress may have a similar problem with Libya since they expressed verbal disapproval but deliberately continued funding it, which sounds like Dad telling you to “turn off that noise!” but still paying the allowance you’re using to buy records.

  30. 30
    Carl Nyberg says:

    Did Congress vote against the Libya action? To prohibit funds from being used?

    I support a strict interpretation of the War Powers clause, but it’s a little weird for the U.S. House to offer the theory that Congress can ignore the War Powers clause and it’s an impeachable offense for the POTUS not to comply with it.

    Did Rep. Jones go to the federal courts to raise his issue? What stopped him?

  31. 31
    Carl Nyberg says:

    @cervantes:

    The UN Charter does not supersede the constitution.

    The UN Charter is a treaty ratified by the U.S. Senate.

    The Supremacy Clause makes a ratified treaty the “supreme law of the land”.

    The U.S. government cannot ignore the obligations imposed by the UN Charter just because in the absence of the UN Charter the action would be permissible under the U.S. Constitution.

  32. 32
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Then Congress may have a similar problem with Libya since they expressed verbal disapproval but deliberately continued funding it, which sounds like Dad telling you to “turn off that noise!” but still paying the allowance you’re using to buy records.

    Hmm, this is perhaps too far. In Kosovo, Congress passed explicit special funding for that campaign within the 60 day limit of the WPA. In Libya, they whiffed on trying to pass a bill denying funding.

    Is failing to go out of their way to deny authority and pull funding the same as “authorization”? I think this principle applied broadly could lead to a lot of absurd results. Besides, it reverses the onus – Congress now has the obligation to forbid and block specific wars, or they’re considered authorized.

    And pulling funding, as the 2007 Democrats discovered, is not a trivial matter to undertake. Presidents get to veto bills that pull funding or set timetables and so forth. Senators can filibuster them. If the only limit on Presidents waging wars is when 2/3rd of each house of congress opposes that war, we’re going to have a lot of wars of choice.

  33. 33
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @Carl Nyberg:

    The U.S. government cannot ignore the obligations imposed by the UN Charter just because in the absence of the UN Charter the action would be permissible under the U.S. Constitution.

    I raised this point above, and I’m not persuaded that the ratification of the UN Charter truly imposes a legal obligation on the US to wage war when directed to do so by the UN Security Council. Both by the weak way in which Treaty law is understood to apply to US domestic law (whatever the Constitution says) and by the language of the UN Charter itself.

    I’m also not clear that the language of resolution 1970 actually directs member states to use force. Typically, as I understand and remember this, the UN authorizes the use of force under Collective Security enforcement actions, but I don’t think this is the same as a positive obligation on each member state to participate in hostilities.

  34. 34

    @The Tragically Flip:

    Is failing to go out of their way to deny authority and pull funding the same as “authorization”?

    I think it is when meeting a treaty obligation (with its own constitutional directive of legality) is in play, as a trump card congress ultimately holds with purse strings. As opposed to a president just deciding to attack some country or peoples on his her own impulse and authority. But even such a denial of funds denying the president ability to meet already authorized treaty obligations, is fraught with murkiness and constitutional contradictions and possible usurpation of presidential powers. but I think the plenary power of the purse is pretty much the controlling power congress has.

    And the senate, at least, passed a sense of senate resolution calling on Obama to deal with Libya through the UN that we are signatory member of.

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    Is failing to go out of their way to deny authority and pull funding the same as “authorization”?

    It’s not so much the failure to pull funding as the failure to manage to even pass a resolution of disapproval. Congress wanted to have it both ways — to be able to censure the president if Libya was a failure but also to be able to claim victory if it was a success.

    But, then, I’m one of the people who feels that Congress is pretty much hopelessly broken at this point since they can’t even manage to pass a freakin’ highway bill, so I think any Libya authorization bill would still be sitting in committee to this day.

  36. 36
    chopper says:

    @dmsilev:

    hey history: repeat yourself once, shame on you. repeat yourself twice…farce…won’t get repeated again. aw, fuck it, i’m going to Moe’s.

  37. 37
    D. Mason says:

    This needs to be front page news. Everywhere.

  38. 38
    Catsy says:

    I wish a motherfucker would.

    They have already forgotten just how much the Clinton impeachment and its politically-motivated crotch-sniffing damaged them in the 90’s, or how popular Clinton remained with Americans up to the day he left office.

    Normally I’d express reluctance to see it happen because it would bring the work of Congress to a screeching halt, but considering this Congress, I’m not sure that wouldn’t be a net positive.

  39. 39
    Michael says:

    @PaulW: Pop Quiz: who was the first President to exercise military force without Congressional approval?

    Answer: George Washington, to put down the Whiskey Rebellion.

  40. 40
    Carl Nyberg says:

    @The Tragically Flip:

    I’m not persuaded that the ratification of the UN Charter truly imposes a legal obligation on the US to wage war when directed to do so by the UN Security Council.

    OK. I don’t think the UN Charter is written to obligate countries to fight war.

    The UN Security Council passes a resolution and then countries commit their armed forces at a level they choose.

    This point was discussed at some length when the UN Charter was ratified as I understand it.

    What’s made the United Nations worthy of scorn is it’s fecklessness in prevent the US/UK coalition from invading Iraq.

    The United Nations has simply become a body to ratify the hegemony of the West (Neo Liberal economies).

  41. 41
    Mr_Gravity says:

    I didn’t read all the posts so sorry if this is redundant but aren’t these the same bunch that are p*ssing themselves because Obama’s not sending troops to Syria?

    Just Sayin’.

  42. 42
    b-psycho says:

    @Michael: Which should just about be Case Closed for how much this gov’t has ever given a flying fuck about its own stated “rules”.

  43. 43
    David Koch says:

    Meh.

    When Kuinich was the first to scream about impeachment I didn’t hear you say anything.

  44. 44
    Matt Love says:

    I favor ending the criminal Obama regime through impeachment. I favor putting the criminals of the previous regime on trial for their crimes as well. It is sad that the only mainstream political figures who are interested in this are Republicans. Anybody who cares about democracy and the rule of law should support this.

  45. 45
    Karen says:

    @Matt Love:

    Good PUMA. Go vote for your buddy Ron Paul because he’s just dreamy. Of course he’s not a pacifist, he just doesn’t think that any money should be spent overseas at all. Who cares if he loves Ayn Rand so much he named his child after him? Who cares if he’s a Jim Bircher.

    And I say that because of your word choice. You called Obama a criminal. Once you use that word, you lose all credibility.

Comments are closed.