Patterico's Pontifications


Sen. Ben Sasse: Congress Doesn’t Vote To Go To War Based On The President’s Latest Rant

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:05 am

[guest post by Dana]

When in front of an audience, it’s no secret that President Trump is compelled to go off-script, and go more bigly and bolder at the opportunity. So knowing that, in a week of incendiary rhetoric being lobbed at North Korea, it only makes sense he would also target Venezuela. Because “fire and fury” in North Korea just isn’t enough when there is yet another country currently imploding at the hands of its lunatic leader. In a week of tit-for-tat ratcheting up of threats with third-world thugs, we should remember that, in spite of public comments made by any previous president being of consequence and taken seriously, you will be ridiculed and mocked for attempting to hold this president to the same standard. Only his tweets are “official statements”. And while you see these “threats” as bold and courageous and a long time in coming, your neighbor sees them as yet another demonstration of unwise and reckless foolishness.

Obviously, Sen. Ben Sasse, a member of the Armed Services Committee and a Trump critic, falls into the latter group :

No. Congress obviously isn’t authorizing war in Venezuela. Nicolas Maduro is a horrible human being, but Congress doesn’t vote to spill Nebraskans’ blood based on who the executive lashes out at today.

Note: President Trump made his comments to the media after refusing to take a call from Maduro, and after the White House released a sound statement:

“The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of their continued oppression by the Maduro regime. President Trump will gladly speak with the leader of Venezuela as soon as democracy is restored in that country,” the White House said.

But in front of the cameras, such a reasonable statement won’t do. Trump’s rule of thumb seems to be to always up the ante and be more provocative than the other guy because he thinks it looks tough, ballsy, and speaks to power. And if that means drawing his own red line in the sand, then so be it. But just don’t think that double-standard metric will hold water:

When President Obama drew a red line in Syria and then refused to enforce it, the rest of the world took notice; Russia and China quickly became aggressive. Trump making empty threats may sound good to him on the morning shows when played back, but if he doesn’t fulfill those threats, then he becomes another paper tiger. Trump can’t just say stuff. What he says matters, even if he doesn’t think it should. He can’t afford to blow his foreign policy credibility.

And for those pointing out that Sen. Sasse’s votes have lined up with President Trump, that does not mean that he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


15 Responses to “Sen. Ben Sasse: Congress Doesn’t Vote To Go To War Based On The President’s Latest Rant”

  1. Good morning.

    Dana (023079)

  2. I must have missed his previous statement about the slaughter in caracas, this last
    month and a half

    narciso (d1f714)

  3. This is how democracy dies (well it was already on life support)

    narciso (d1f714)

  4. Stay on vacation sen.

    mg (31009b)

  5. Caracas the other burgs is one of those stories that the press has covered with a pillow, if ‘you dial down the ambient noise you might notice that fmr presidents pastrana and urine have plead their case at mara logo, that Rubin has been working with trump officials like rosillo, and through them to

    narciso (d1f714)

  6. Because Afghanistan has lasted so long, and becasue we didn’t find the expected WMDs in Iraq, and because of the mismanagement of the occupation after Saddam’s government was deposed, people have largely forgotten how George W. Bush went about building the requisite consensus in Congress for the military actions in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. Dubya doesn’t get enough credit for that.

    By spectacular contrast, Obama made virtually no efforts to build a consensus in either Congress or the public to support new — and in my view, extra-constitutional — wars in Libya and Syria.

    Trump approaches this as if he’s trying to boost the ratings for a WWE wrestling event featuring Tomahawks Trump versus Uncool Kim Jong-un. He’s an amateur, and Dana’s point about the double-standard — yes, Trump draws red lines with his magic marker, like a four-year-old set loose in a room with white walls and white leather furniture — is well made.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  7. Would we have gone into Afghanistan, if nit for 9/11, Shirley, we are focused on this grishekp garbage fir the last eight months, for reasons passing understanding.

    narciso (d1f714)

  8. Life continues to imitate art.

    Next up?

    “Kiss your ethanol subsidies good-bye … Nebraska sucks … prepare to go to war!”

    Dave (445e97)

  9. Beldar,

    While Obama flagrantly ignored Congress and did whatever he wanted, I believe he did so with full knowledge of how he was circumventing a mandated process. But he didn’t care because he knew he could get away with it. But with Trump, he simply doesn’t know how government runs, what the Constitution requires, and the role of Congress. It’s funny, though, that the one president who made efforts to go about things correctly, was mercilessly mocked.

    Dana (023079)

  10. How does congress work, dana, there is little evidence they are anything but woodenbindiams

    you see head kangaroo Cabello a slightly less pockmarked Noriega type does seem to call the shots, even though he wasn’t in the favor of the Castro regim, but you go to war with the army you havem

    narciso (e3c768)

  11. Of course, there might be some Americans in Caracas that need rescuing.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  12. That might be branded a war crime in this climate, it struck how sasse seemed immoderare not even acknowledging the travails of the opposition

    narciso (d1f714)

  13. @ narciso,

    How does congress work, dana, there is little evidence they are anything but woodenbindiams

    Unfortunately, you have a point.

    Dana (023079)

  14. It’s not a,coincidence that Sanders and Corbyn are supporters of the Venezuelan junta

    narciso (d1f714)

  15. It’s been an issue I’ve been following forvmoths even years

    narciso (d1f714)

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