I wrote recently
on President Obama's increasingly salient ability to antagonize all areas of the political spectrum. With the Libyan situation, his fortunes in Washington continue to shift downward-- though at a much faster pace. His initial inaction, followed by his too-late and potentially unconstitutional action
, accompanied with his seemingly detached mood about the issue while he was out of the country as this thing started, combined with the fact that no one knows who is in charge of the operation, what the goal is, or how long we'll be there, have raised nearly every type of politician, newspaper, and activist against the president. Indeed, an unusual expression of bipartisanship is coming out of Congress
is the week following the president's unilateral decision to attack another nation without even running it by them first.
His critics include Richard Lugar and Joe Liberman, John McCain and Jim Webb, Charles Rangel and John Boehner, Maxine Walters and Buck McKeon, Jon Stewart
and Stephen Colbert, Hippies and NeoCons-- "The President seems to have angered
almost every major group; he's either done too much or too little or he's done it too slowly," says former Clinton staffer and current Council on Foreign Relations member James Lindsay. "The politics of this are just bad," adds former State Department official Robert Danin. Dennis Kucinich has raised the specter
of impeachment in response to the president's conducting a war without the approval of Congress; Ron Paul agrees
with Mr. Kucinich. The fact that this operation has the word "Odyssey" in it is also not playing well with some people, though the military has said the naming was totally random and unintentional. For his part, President Obama realized it is probably poor politics to conduct a new war while on a trip and has cut short his Latin American travels to return to Washington and get a grasp on the situation.
Unless some sort of miracle happens in Libya, I fail to see how this can help the president at all. In the mean time, he should at least make sure things are done the best
way and set some clear and defined goals for this new military commitment of ours.
Update: In addition to the now-famous quote by Obama on war powers, it seems Joe Biden would side
with Kucinich and Paul in the "this is an impeachable offense" category. Of course I don't think the president ought to be impeached for this, but Congress should certainly do something to reassert control of their constitutional turf and to make sure that the president sets some clearly-defined goals for this operation.