Patterico's Pontifications


More Obama 2008 – Where Candidate Teh One Contradicts President Teh One

Filed under: General — JD @ 10:41 am

[guest post by JD]

I am sure the MFM will be all over this. Maybe Letterman will ask him about it next time he gives an interview.

For the moment, let’s set aside the issue of whether or not going to war in Libya or Syria is the right thing to do. Let’s focus on what Obama and Biden claimed to the their underlying principles that would inform their decisions.

First, constitutional scholar Obama …

[Candidate Obama] responded in writing to a series of questions regarding executive power from Charlie Savage, then of The Boston Globe:

Q. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

OBAMA: The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent.;

And then, resident dunce, Biden …

Vice President Joe Biden, who voted for the Iraq War, agreed with Obama.

“The president has no constitutional authority to take this country to war… unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked,” Biden said in 2007.

Biden, then a Democratic senator from Delaware, suggested presidential war-making was an impeachable offense.


UPDATE – Larger quote from Slow Joe

It is precisely because the consequences of war – intended or otherwise – can be so profound and complicated that our Founding Fathers vested in Congress, not the President, the power to initiate war, except to repel an imminent attack on the United States or its citizens. They reasoned that requiring the President to come to Congress first would slow things down… allow for more careful decision making before sending Americans to fight and die… and ensure broader public support.

The Founding Fathers were, as in most things, profoundly right. That’s why I want to be very clear: if the President takes us to war with Iran without Congressional approval, I will call for his impeachment.

I do not say this lightly or to be provocative. I am dead serious. I have chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. I still teach constitutional law. I’ve consulted with some of our leading constitutional scholars. The Constitution is clear. And so am I.

I’m saying this now to put the administration on notice and hopefully to deter the President from taking unilateral action in the last year of his administration. If war is warranted with a nation of 70 million people, it warrants coming to Congress and the American people first.


Obama 2008: We Need to Talk to Syria and Iran

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:19 am

A tipster sent me an 2008 article from the Ottowa Citizen (reprinted from the Daily Telegraph), not available online, in which Obama is quoted as saying: “One of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria.”

I researched a little further to look for the context of the quote, and found that it came from one of the debates in 2008. The immediate context has to do with fallout from the Iraq war, but the full context reminds one of Obama’s naivete in thinking he could simply sit down with leaders from Syria and Iran and work things out:

QUESTION: “[W]ould you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?”

OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this [the Bush] administration — is ridiculous.


Now, Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.

And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them. We’ve been talking about Iraq — one of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they’re going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses.

They have been acting irresponsibly up until this point. But if we tell them that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force, we are in a position to say that they are going to have to carry some weight, in terms of stabilizing the region.

So. Has President Peace Prize started the bombing yet?

Open thread!

Another Historic Speech

Filed under: General — JD @ 6:06 am

[guest post by JD]

Teh One will give yet another historic speech to commemorate MLK JR’s “I have a dream” speech’s 50th anniversary.

Yesterday, Obama cautioned about having elevated expectations, and in a moment of rare humility, suggested that his own historic speech won’t be as good as Dr King’s.

In Vegas, there should be a prop bet on the over/under of I/me/my and another for the number of I/me/my said prior to saying Dr King. Add in “Like Dr King, I …” and “let me be clear.”


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