News radio plays the pathetic bleating of Congress begging the president to consult them before resuming the war in Iraq. Republican senators promise a speedy approval of whatever the president wants. The public wants war, and Congress doesn’t want to be left out. Never mind that pesky War Powers Act. The president will give the plebs what they want, and Congress must beg to come along.
Regardless of party or ideological label, they share the same goal — to protect the executive branch from being constrained by … congressional approval before waging war.
Next, the president will enact immigration reform, by fiat, finishing the job he started two years ago with the Dream Act. The term “act,” here, used to mean “act of Congress,” but – who cares? Congress is irrelevant. This is not to single out President Obama. The imperial presidency has been shaping up since FDR. Someone was bound to cross the Rubicon, so to speak, sooner or later.
The Imperial government … may be defined as an absolute monarchy disguised by the forms of a commonwealth.
After Julius Caesar’s power grab, the first few emperors maintained the appearance of working with the Senate. Caesar controlled the legions, though, and the Praetorian Guard, so everyone knew where the real power was. This is the part of the analogy that resonates with Ron Paul’s editorial on the “warfare state.”
Presidents Clinton and Bush kept up the pretense of working with Congress. Obama is the first to openly disregard it, which places him historically in the position of Nero. The fall of empire began in earnest shortly thereafter.
Empires fall in predictable ways. The Roman Empire is the archetype, because its fall was so well analyzed by Gibbon. Did you learn that in your government controlled school? No? We can’t imagine why not.
It is refreshing, at last, to find bipartisan support for not having a strategy. Last week, pundits pounced on the president’s confession that “we don’t have a strategy” regarding the terror group known as Islamic State.
This week, the press is mocking Rand Paul for saying the same. Sen. Paul said that, if he were president, he would confer with Congress to develop a strategy.
I think the strategy has to be that you have an open debate in the country over whether or not ISIS is a threat to our national security.
This is actually the correct answer, as prescribed by common sense and the War Powers Act. The president should seek the advice and consent of Congress before going to war. We recall a similar response from Gov. Romney, during the 2012 campaign. He began, “I would assemble a team and define an objective,” or words to that effect. Cue the laugh track.
The American public expects the president – and those who might someday be president – to have a glib answer for any crisis, anywhere, at all times. Granted, the Islamic State has been brewing for months, and the president has had plenty of time to develop a strategy. What he meant in the taupe jacket briefing was, in fact, that his strategy is not the same as Gen. Dempsey’s.
It often seems that American foreign policy is drafted by the guy sitting next to you at the bar. Bombing them back to the Stone Age never seems to lose its appeal (by the way, apart from American made weapons and al-Baghdadi’s Rolex, Islamic State is the Stone Age). If we took “advice and consent” seriously, we might end up with more durable policy.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has proposed a Constitutional amendment that Congress must be bound by its own laws. Critics say this is all about Obamacare, and their exemption therefrom. Opinions are divided on that, but – this is not the only special privilege Congress has.
Critics also say that the language of Paul’s amendment is vague and could backfire. That’s probably true, in its rough draft – but we hope that our nation’s lawmakers can clean that up. The only reason this language is not already in the Constitution is that no one ever imagined Congress would be handing down laws for the rest of us to obey.
No one ever imagined Congress would be handing down laws for the rest of us to obey.
Finally, critics say Paul’s idea is quixotic, because Congress will never vote to curtail its own privilege. Can this be true? Are we serfs now? A better question is – who are these critics? The logic of Paul’s proposal, if not the details, is unassailable. So, why assail it?
As usual, it’s the partisan charade. Because Sen. Paul is a Republican, the left reads this as an insult to Obamacare. If he were a Democrat, it would somehow be a threat to national security – or baseball, or some damned thing. Like domestic surveillance (which Sen. Paul also opposes) this is another case of partisans willing to be ruled.
See also: No One Is Above The Law But Congress
The Daily Kos describes Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) as a “selective libertarian.” Chris Christie warns his party against “libertarian populism.” Jeremiah wonders, what is this “L” word that has riled up a leftie blog and a Republican governor? It must be good, if critics are saddling it with descriptions like these – selective, populist, phony. The first thing you learn, when reading the news, is to question the adjectives.
The idea is clever political gamesmanship that enables the libertarians to walk on both sides of the fence at once.
Not to be outdone, The Huffington Post adds “extremist” and – their vilest insult – “tea party.” The proximate cause of all this attention is the debate over government surveillance. Jeremiah has previously anatomized the anti-privacy establishment. It’s funny to see pundits on both sides warning against the libertarians.
Pundit Sanghoee’s remark, above, echoes the complaint of Jon Huntsman (R-UT) who said that Ron Paul “appeals to the extremes of both parties.” You can see how this reveals a red versus blue mentality. The privacy debate has people standing on principle – thinking for themselves, without party whips and talking points. Clearly, a dangerous trend.
See also: Free Minds and Free Markets
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has split with leading Republicans over the legal status of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. This marks him as a man of principle, and a contender for Jeremiah’s Centrist Hall of Fame. Like his father, Senator Paul defies classification because his opinions come from a place of consistency – not the situational morality of our traditional right and left.
Think about it. If you were studying to be a senator for either party, you would have to learn the positions by rote – this kind of freedom is good, but that other freedom is bad. They just don’t make sense. The Paul family has developed a framework that is logically consistent. Jeremiah imagines them sitting around the dining table, figuring it out – or, maybe they have read the Constitution.
See also: The Upper-Right Wing