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Libya and Obama's Politics

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.
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Discussions - 4 Comments

I like "Odyssey Dawn"--"rose fingered dawn"--and most meet for Obama is the first line of Homer's epic poem: "Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns/ driven time and again off course once he had plundered/ the hallowed heights of Troy."

See the regs for how the military chooses the names of its operations: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/why-are-military-operations-in-libya-called-operation-odyssey-dawn/2011/03/22/ABBHMCEB_story.html

Vis-a-vis Libya, conservatives are divided about:

1) whether the intervention is justified/wise

2) whether the intervention constitutionally requires consultation with and a resolution from Congress.

This list could be much longer.

But all conservatives must agree that a MAJOR STINK should be made about these Biden videos. Even those conservatives who agree with what Biden says in them must not give him a pass/yawn on the stark hypocrisy of his not acting on those words now. Biden must be forced to hold press conference about the videos. Calls for his resignation if he refuses should be made. Every speech by every conservative politician and every commentary by every conservative pundit should, "Delenda est Carthago" style, conclude with "....and let us remember what Joe Biden irresponsibly said, that any president who attacks a nation without Congressional approval that hasn't attacked us, if he doesn't have proof of an imminent attack, ought to be impeached."

Why? Not because anyone will learn anything subtle or true about the separation of powers from Biden, in my judgment at least, but because THIS IS THE HYPOCRISY, one of tone and of constitutional stance, THAT EVERY SINGLE COTTON-PICKIN' DEMOCRAT NEEDS AND DESERVES TO HAVE SHOVED IN THEIR FACES. Dem/liberal opinion leaders went way overboard in 2004-2008 w/ their Bush-hate, and moderate Dems simply DID NOT HAVE THE COURAGE to DEMAND their fellow Dems use more civil, subtle, and non-hyperbolic language to criticize the Iraq war and the GWOT. We conservatives paid dearly for that, and payback time has arrived.

Dems: Call for Impeachment , or Admit You Were Wrong. (it's a bumpersticker waiting to be made)

I do not say this for the sake of cheap gloating. There is a desperately-needed teachable moment here that will only get through if conservatives hit this one hard. Hyperbolic perfectionist discourse has consequences. It means the presidency cannot logically function. It means slogans run rough-shod over actual constitutional thinking. The present generations of liberal Americans, particularly the younger ones who may yet become moderate, must be made to seen how they, led by older hopeless liberals, went too far in 2004-2008. Obama-romanced left from the Chomsky-ite one.

Here's Boehner's letter to the president asking 7 questions about intervention in Libya: http://www.speaker.gov/UploadedFiles/POTUSLetter_032311.pdf

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Libya vs. Iraq? from No Left Turns on March 25, 2011 8:01 PM

This now viral video comparing Obama the awesome and Bush on their war-making rationales raises some serious points.  It's clear that the President can wage war without declaring it--perfectly constitutional.  A constitutionally dubious law, ... Read More