Sunday, September 1, 2013
Green Shoots of a Constitution Comeback
Obama's aboutface yesterday on seeking Congressional approval for an attack on Syria was a victory for the Constitution. Never mind for a moment Obama's anti-Constitutional caveat that he might attack even if they say no.
One poll shows that America is pretty evenly divided on whether we should take military action against Syria (42% yes vs 50% no), but are overwhelmingly (80%) in support of Congress making that decision rather than our authoritarian President. (The notion that Obama would attack despite a Congressional no vote is outrageous.) This poll gives me hope that Americans across the political spectrum at the very least agree that our government should act within the confines of our Constitution, even in times of a popular President and a very unpopular Congress. As examples of extra-Constitutional power grabs by previous administrations, this administration, and future administrations pile up, I hope more and more people will gradually come to the conclusion that order needs to be restored - I highly recommend Mark Levin's new book detailing how the Constitution provides for its framework to one day be reaffirmed: The Libery Amendments. Like Obama, Mark Levin is a Constitutional scholar, but he looks for ways to restore our liberties that are enshrined in it rather than ways to sidestep checks and balances to the various branches and effect "fundamental transformation".
The only reason the Constitutional limits of the President's power with regards to military action on other countries are controversial and ambiguous today is not that the Constitution is unclear, but that legal precedents over time have eroded how the Constitution is interpreted. The Constitution basically says that only Congress has the power to declare war and then it's the President's job to orchestrate it. The President is only authorized without Congressional approval when national security is at stake. It is obvious that the Founders intended for Congress to decide matters of war except in situations where America was under attack and waiting for Congress to decide would put the nation or our national interests in danger. That includes situations where our allies are under attack. To see a time when Obama failed in his role as President, just look at Benghazi. In that situation, our sovereignty was literally attacked when our consulate was stormed and our ambassador was killed. The lack of any military response to defend against the attack or retaliate against the perpetrators is hard to reconcile.
Instead, you'll hear the official interpretation of Obama's authority as basically being whatever he wants to do for 60 days plus another 30 days to pull out. Well, you know what gives him that authority? It's not the Constitution - it's the War Powers Resolution of 1973! Just because a law has 40 years of legal precedence does not make it Constitutional. You frequently hear about how the Bill of Rights is under attack - same thing. Anyway, these same people will say that raining cruise missiles on Syria is not a declaration of war even though it's abundantly clear that if anyone rained cruise missiles on us, it most certainly would be.
And through all this, during this sideshow, Obama continues to unilaterally dictate fundamental policy. He just released a new executive order giving legal amnesty to the parents, or primary caregivers, of U.S. citizen children, e.g. anchor babies. I'm sure the burden of proof is on us to prove that someone claiming to be a "caregiver" isn't. Talk about a loophole. I don't see why "undocumented" nannies who are caregivers for the kids of US citizens wouldn't apply, too. The Constitution does not give him the power to unilaterally define and preferentially enforce laws! Obama flaunts the authoritarian powers he has assumed, Congress and the judiciary stand idly by, and the people who re-elected him apparently are onboard - for now. I think a big reason is because the "reputable" mainstream media is, too. If an intellectual on NPR with a British accent says it's the right thing to do, then it's more or less accepted as fact. You've gotta read the Liberty Amendments. Don't worry, it doesn't make you a Tea Party extremist - after all, it's #1 among Non-Fiction books on the New York Time's Bestsellers list.