Saturday, June 04, 2011

Republicans Provide Cover for Obama, and Themselves, On Libya

So do we have a real opposition on foreign policy, or are the insiders who run both parties faking the fight over it?


What just happened in Congress in regards to our latest foreign intervention in Libya is a perfect example of everything that is wrong in Washington D.C. Resident Obama committed our military to war without bothering to get a declaration of war, or any authorization whatsoever, from Congress.

A prior Congress voted in something called "The War Powers Act" which allowed a President to unilaterally commit American forces to war so long as he got approval from Congress for the action up to 60 days afterward. Some Constitutional scholars question if even the War Powers act doesn't give too much leeway to the executive branch. But so contemptuous was Obama of both Congress and the Constitution that he did not even bother asking for their permission, even after the fact. The 60 days have expired.

Dennis Kucinich is a liberal Democrat, but he also posses an idealism that has become both rare and quaint within the beltway when it is no threat, and hated and detested when it is. Have you ever noticed how insiders from the two dominant political parties get along with each other a lot better than they do with the outsiders from their own parties? Kucinich is an outsider in the Democratic party.

Kucinich introduced a strongly worded resolution which would inform Obama that he was in violation of the War Powers Act, and that he had 15 days to withdraw U.S. forces from the Libyan war. The measure was getting a lot of support. People are tired of borrowing money from the Chinese to stick our nose in more and more foreign wars where there are no good guys to back. The folks back home were demanding that their representatives stand up to Obama.

If things were left on course, the measure might have passed. That was when Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner stepped in. He pulled the Kucinich measure from consideration until the establishment could craft a weaker, purely symbolic, competitor bill.

Once that bill was crafted, Boehner allowed a vote on them both. Here is the game they play. They vote against the Kucinich measure, which actually had teeth and would have really changed policy, and vote for the Republican measure which was just symbolic and let Obama completely off the hook for violating the law (and the Constitution) with his actions in Libya. But the symbolic measure gives them the cover they need to go home and beat their chests to voters about how they "voted to condemn the President's actions in Libya." It's a show. It's pro wrestling. The ones that really wanted to rebuke Obama are the ones who voted for the Kucinich measure, and not just Boehner's face-saving substitute.

All four Arkansas Representatives were among those who voted for the empty symbolism of the establishment measure that will allow Obama to continue to violate the law, while at the same time voting against the substantive measure backed by Kucinich. This shows that they don't really want to hold Obama accountable. They don't really want to do their duty to restrain the Executive branch. At the same time, they really want you to think that they do, hence they vote for the empty gesture and against substantive action.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

They will continue to play their "game" until they are held accountable by their constituants at the home level.

7:19 AM, June 05, 2011  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

The difficulty is in organizing a method or strategy by which their constituents are able to hold them accountable. Primary challenges? Sure, but Party people are disproportionately represented in primary elections and the establishment incumbent will have money, endorsements, and support from the party. A good back up plan is to have a TP backed independent for the general election to challenge wayward incumbents.

12:05 PM, June 05, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One expects the neocon Republicans to support another pointless war in the ME. Like Sen. Rand Paul said, the Republicans don't know what to do: Support the war while supporting Obama? Oppose the war so that they can oppose Obama. End the end, they side with their love for the military industrial complex, as one would expect.

The ones with the phoniest stage performance here are the Democrats, specifically the Obama administration, who get elected on a platform of peace and negotiations, but-- just like the Republicans they claim to disagree with-- bomb the cr@p out of anyone at the soonest sign of disagreement.

3:45 PM, June 05, 2011  
Blogger Jim Bulgier said...

... and they (Congress) don't want the burden of responsibility to do their jobs and make decisions about war. It's so much easier to delegate that responsibility so they don't have to be directly accountable for the decision.

There should never be an 'Obama' war or a 'Bush' war, only wars declared by Congress and carried out by the executive branch.

6:02 AM, June 07, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is the like button for that last one?

2:52 PM, June 07, 2011  

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