So Much For Principles

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on March 27, 2011

The changeability of the Obama Administration’s position on Presidential wartime powers is so pronounced as to make Administration pronouncements on the subject utterly laughable:

During his campaign for the Presidency, in December, 2007, Barack Obama told The Boston Globe that “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Earlier in 2007, then-Senator Hillary Clinton said in a speech on the Senate floor that, “If the administration believes that any — any — use of force against Iran is necessary, the President must come to Congress to seek that authority.”

[ABC News's Jake] Tapper asked Clinton, “Why not got to Congress?”

“Well, we would welcome congressional support,” the Secretary said, “but I don’t think that this kind of internationally authorized intervention where we are one of a number of countries participating to enforce a humanitarian mission is the kind of unilateral action that either I or President Obama was speaking of several years ago.”

“I think that this had a limited timeframe, a very clearly defined mission which we are in the process of fulfilling,” Clinton said.

Shorter Obama Administration: “It isn’t unilateral, and does not need Congressional authorization when we take the nation to war.” Raise your hands if you buy any of this nonsense.

  • http://twitter.com/phillydkidder Kevin McCarthy

    Obama and Clinton are in Impeaching territory! Communication like Keystone COPS!

  • VideoSavant

    You know, this position is just laughably stupid. They should proactively — and humbly (though we know that’s nigh on impossible) — seek the authorization of Congress for the action in Libya. I mean, it not like there’s a high probability that they wouldn’t get it by an overwhelming majority (though the longer they wait, the less votes they probably gain).

    In fact, the Obama administration NEEDS this authorization, for cover, because at some point, something is going to wrong in a significant way in terms of casualties. And if — as seems likely — this war drags on, the public will grow increasingly intolerant of more and more bad news. The fact that the initial push into military action was slapdash and high-handed will significantly lower the patience and understanding of all Americans not residing or working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Clearly, this is going to be a situation where what you sow is what you reap. Are these clowns really THAT clueless?

  • http://twitter.com/milkchaser milkchaser

    But, of course, President Bush’s military actions were by no measure unilateral, either. a) He went to Congress; b) he went to the UN; c) he assembled a multi-national force greater than that now in Libya.

    It’s hard to understand the distinction Sec’y Clinton is trying to make, unless she is referring to hypothetical invasion Pres. Bush might never have contemplated and certainly never tried. Arguing against this kind of hypothetical situation is what’s called a “straw man” argument.

    Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton: Making us safe against entire armies of straw men.

  • http://twitter.com/milkchaser milkchaser

    @VideoSavant – They would almost certainly win approval for the action in Libya. One wonders what calculation leads them to avoid it. It is almost certainly a political calculation.

    • VideoSavant

      I agree — it is definitely a political consideration. And it demonstrates the fecklessness of the administration yet again — this time in tiptoeing in fear around the far left and anti-war elements in the Democrat Party.

      I’d just add that this is another very clear demonstration that Barack Obama has virtually no management experience and more to the point, no capacity for leadership. The only thing he’s run his entire life is his mouth.

      And by all available accounts, he has run THAT his entire life.

    • VideoSavant

      I agree — it is definitely a political consideration. And it demonstrates the fecklessness of the administration yet again — this time in tiptoeing in fear around the far left and anti-war elements in the Democrat Party.

      I’d just add that this is another very clear demonstration that Barack Obama has virtually no management experience and more to the point, no capacity for leadership. The only thing he’s run his entire life is his mouth.

      And by all available accounts, he has run THAT his entire life.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think he could have gotten approval for Libya. if he could have he would have. Right now there is still a chance to pull the rug out from under him.

  • http://twitter.com/bsfootprint BS Footprint

    Hypocritical politicians. Now there’s a shocka!

  • Anonymous

    By not going to Congress for approval, Obama is leveraging the complacency of the mainstream media, while protecting Congressional Democrats. The media has already shown they are not going to question anything Obama does. And, by not going to Congress, its Democratic members are not forced to go on the record as being either for or against the US’s role in Libya.

    • VideoSavant

      That may be a plausible explanation, but it is a time bomb that eventually goes off, unless he really thinks he can get in and out in a month. But with lack of real NATO, European and Arab League assets, he either sees this through and it takes months and months (if not longer) or he cuts and run and gets stuck with a loser tag.

      Of course, he is a loser, but more of the public will see it for the first time.

      FWIW, I think one of the hidden agendas here is to stretch the military to the breaking point, both to discredit it as an institution (which indirectly bounds back on the right) and it also makes it a softer target when it comes time to talk seriously about spending and deficit reduction. To that end, I don’t Libya is by any means the end of the adventures we’ll see from Obama in the next 18 months.

  • http://twitter.com/Moose853 Dwain Boehl

    Typical Democrat Hypocrites….. what applies to them does not apply to us…or what applies to us does not apply to them..No wonder the Constitution constantly get’s trampled by those who seek power, money, and control. It’s time that type of hype comes to an end…The U.S. Constitution is the law of this country and it alone Applies to everybody…

    • VideoSavant

      There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the Constitution that couldn’t be fixed by leveling charges of treason and sedition with regularity. Most of the people who take an oath of office in Washington are traitors.

      Not just Dems, but definitely all of them.

  • Anonymous

    Y’all are just crying because he can do it and you get blasted for doing it. it’s all Bush’s fault anyway. Obama just proves over and over that he is a liar and has no morals or ethics. Needs to be impeached.

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