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September 09, 2014

GOP Congressmen Okay With Unilateral Presidential War-Making

I favor action against IS.

However, I also favor the Constitution.

In order to avoid a political debate on the right -- where some less hawkish or more pacifist-leaning libertarians might object to an AUMF, or want limitations written into it, while more hawkish people want no limitations -- and to avoid any news before an election, our political leadership is going along with Obama's plan to take the country to war without the actual consent of the governed.

Via the NYT:

Democratic leaders in the Senate and Republican leaders in the House want to avoid a public vote to authorize force, fearing the unknown political consequences eight weeks before the midterm elections on Nov. 4.

"A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say, 'Just bomb the place and tell us about it later,'" said Representative Jack Kingston, Republican of Georgia, who supports having an authorization vote. "It's an election year. A lot of Democrats don't know how it would play in their party, and Republicans don't want to change anything. We like the path were on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long."

Allah observes that Congress' plan is apparently to avoid responsibility and ultimate blame by simply ceding more and more power to the unchecked executive.

I really don't know what to say.

Many people remain engaged in political endeavors only out of a sense that the American system of government and way of life must be saved from menace.

Cowardice of a constitutional dimension like this tells us that fight is already lost.

So what is our motive here?

Democrats don't want to vote for the AUMF because it may be very unpopular with their anti-Iraq base, but voting against it might expose them to backlash from less ideological voters, who see IS as it is -- monstrous.

Republicans don't want any new factors complicating their plan to slump into the majority, and wish to avoid a major -- but necessary -- debate on what the party's basic sentiment on war-making is. So they see a vote as risky, too.

But here's the thing: Both sides are at risk, and it's unclear who is "hurt more" by a vote.

Given that, I've got a crazy idea: Why not just do the right and constitutional thing?

We've been shredding the Constitution when one party feels that abiding by it may hurt it politically.

But here's the new wrinkle: We're apparently now also going to be shredding it when it is entirely unclear which, if either, party will be slightly damaged politically by abiding by it.

So when when will we observe the Constitution? On trivial matters like naming segments of highway after one of the assemblage of heroes we call Congress?

You have a Republic, as long as it's not too inconvenient for you to keep it.

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posted by Ace at 12:23 PM

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