Patterico's Pontifications


Obama’s Defiance of Congress Somehow Manages to Get Worse…

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:08 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

You might remember the post yesterday about the briefing before Congress and how much arrogant contempt Obama’s representatives showed for Congress?  Well, I guess I should correct the story.  The Obama Administration didn’t show as much arrogance and contempt as my sources implied.  They showed much, much more arrogance and contempt, if Talking Points Memo is correct:

The White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a classified briefing to House members Wednesday afternoon.

Clinton was responding to a question from Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) about the administration’s response to any effort by Congress to exercise its war powers, according to a senior Republican lawmaker who attended the briefing.

And it gets even worse.  You might remember how I wrote that Obama didn’t plan to seek an endorsement from Congress and that

indeed, this “pound sand” attitude toward Congress is not even consistent with the President’s asserted authority under the War Powers Act, because even if the initial start of hostilities was legal, the President can’t keep the war going for more than 62 days.

And I went on to speculate that maybe the President believes he can finish the war in less than 62 days, but in fact I was wrong.  Dead wrong.  He just doesn’t plan to obey the 60 day limitation at all:

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), who asked Clinton about the War Powers Act during a classified briefing, said Clinton and the administration are sidestepping the measure’s provisions giving Congress the ability to put a 60-day time limit on any military action.

“They are not committed to following the important part of the War Powers Act,” he told TPM in a phone interview. “She said they are certainly willing to send reports [to us] and if they issue a press release, they’ll send that to us too.”

Once again the stunning lawlessness of this administration is on display.

So to borrow a riff from Patrick, their response is this:

And as if that all wasn’t bad enough, it turns out that Ben Quayle didn’t even mean what we think he meant, either.

More seriously, on every front this story is getting worse.  For instance yesterday I mentioned a report that the rebels’ fighting strength was reduced to about 1,000 men.  And it turns out they are falling apart as a force.  Oh, and there was enough of a concern that they might start killing civilians that we had to warn them that if they did that, we would bomb them, too.  Indeed, Hot Air has much more on the issue.

But there is one encouraging sign, which will be a subject of a new post in a bit…


Previously I wrote on the legality of the war (hereherehereherehere and here).

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

40 Responses to “Obama’s Defiance of Congress Somehow Manages to Get Worse…”

  1. It’s all f*cking lies. ALL of it. Sixty days? [ya lied when ya said yur next April Fool’s related post, would be in one year (sarc)].


    1) No ‘Merican boots.

    Well we know they are already … on the ground. And the lie essentially continues (plenty of troops WILL be on the ground … whether they are ‘NATO,’ Fwench, ‘Tralian, Klingon …).

    2) No attacking Kuhdaffy.

    Most Americans will never know Kommandant Sitzpinkler’s tongue’s permanently forked (the secret go was given weeks ago).

    3) ‘No fly zone’ only [if one simply reverses the polarity, of all the administration’s yammering’s … 180 degrees. They then make sense/truth (just like MSM)].

    Bbbbut … I digress.

    Elmo (8919d5)

  2. and if they issue a press release, they’ll send that to us too.


    They are going to pretend they can go to war if they don’t call it a war. This is the most legalistically cynical thing a president has ever done. I realize how many other ploys administrations have attempted in American history, but sending in Marines and the Air Force, and refusing to call it a war, because you called it ‘kinetic action’, and then granting Congress a CC: on what they send Politico via email, is sufficient cause for impeachment.

    It may be the only way Hillary can ever be president, Senate! No takers? Oh well.

    I think part of Obama’s calculation is that we are headed for an additional government crisis. The democrats are not really making a secret that they expect to have a government shutdown. They are aggressively preparing for a ‘blame the Tea Party’ narrative, and hope to maximize the agitation. There’s a major effort to cause great screw ups at the state level, too. Obama will be able to skate through this foreign policy crisis because he’s making it extremely convoluted. After all, it’s a NATO operation!

    His entire MO is to agitate onward. One month from now, I suspect we’re going to see a lot of elements combine.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  3. I’m shocked by the words of Hillary Von Ribbentrop Clinton. It appears that Congress must act to stop the war and remove the president.


    Rhymes With Right (8d63ec)

  4. Dustin

    by my count, you are now down to your legs and just enough hip to hold them together.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  5. Rhymes

    you are going to like my next post very, very much.

    Hell, Dustin might reassemble part of himself in joy.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  6. I saw you were playing New Vegas a few days ago, Aaron. I think the left must have gotten the bloody mess perk and I’m the rhetorical casualty.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  7. The silence from the Leftists is deafening.

    JÐ (6e25b4)

  8. Dustin

    funny, I said to my brother, “is it wrong to play Fallout New Vegas as I listen to reports from Japan?”

    [Corrected for reading comprehension fail. –Aaron]

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  9. why is this expensive war for european oil so important to bumble? Daddy Soros must want it really really bad. Poor bumble.

    He looks like a douche.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  10. The administration could go to Congress and get this approved, I ‘ll bet.

    They just don’t want to. They want to keep the precedent of Presidents doing anything they please, for any reason they please, going.

    Dave Surls (4b0d92)

  11. So, deafening in fact that if one actually reads the article from the liberal talking Points Memo (or even Aaron’s quotes of it), one learns that Brad Sherman is a Democrat! That Harry Reid asserted after Secretary Clinton’s testimony that the War Powers is indeed clear and controlling.

    Seems the only place leftists are “silent” is in your imagination.

    timb (449046)

  12. The administration could go to Congress and get this approved, I ‘ll bet.

    They just don’t want to. They want to keep the precedent of Presidents doing anything they please, for any reason they please, going.

    Comment by Dave Surls —

    Nice point, Dave. I’d ask where you on this issue from 2001-2008, but I don’t need to. It’s too bad it takes a Democratic President to remind you guys that the Executive branch is too powerful.

    Now, if you could just call your representatives and Senators and tell to stop screwing people in the budget and actually propose something which would help constrain the Executive, we might be able to get something done.

    timb (449046)

  13. They just don’t want to. They want to keep the precedent of Presidents doing anything they please, for any reason they please, going.

    Comment by Dave Surls

    Something like this is the truth.

    Obama either wants to avoid the GOP House making sure his plan can withstand oversight (the way Bush had to justify his Surge or his progress to the likes of Hillary), or Obama simply wants to be some kind of king with unlimited powers.

    It really is amazing that Obama went from bashing Bush to going so much farther in his extreme interpretation of his own power.

    In the long run, this is a bigger problem than Libya itself.

    Ace of Spades has a great story on Rand Paul asking the Senate to endorse Obama’s statement on the president’s limited war powers (said when Bush was president). Personally, I think this situation requires the congress to take the president to the Supreme Court to clarify his ability to wage war.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  14. I’d ask where you on this issue from 2001-2008, but I don’t need to. It’s too bad it takes a Democratic President to remind you guys that the Executive branch is too powerful.

    It’s predictable that when we see democrats being utter hypocrites that lefty shills will try to steer that to the contrary.

    Sometimes that’s true, but in this case, Bush did go to congress for his AUMF. You’re wrong, TIMB. People backing Bush’s war in Iraq or Afghanistan are not even slightly hypocritical on presidential powers.

    The main hypocrites in this case are those who claimed Bush didn’t have the power to go to war without Congressional approval, but don’t care if Obama does.

    Timb: take a stand. Did Bush have the power to bomb Iran without congressional approval, or should Obama be impeached?

    And timb, you can claim an isolated democrat comment here or there proves democrats aren’t silent on this issue, but relatively, they are very silent. Reid adjourned the Senate today. Why? Because they were about to vote on endorsing Obama’s 2007 comment on presidential power. Reid fought hard to be silent on this issue.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  15. Timb

    > I’d ask where you on this issue from 2001-2008,

    WTF are you talking about? Bush got congressional approval for his wars.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  16. btw, the new post is up, a salve to this outrage.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  17. The question isn’t why there are so few rebel fighters. The question is why anyone in Libya who has life, limb, or property at risk would step up to liberate his country when the president of the United States — the leader of the free world, in theory — has said Kadafi has to go, and has committed not just American prestige but American military might to fighting Kadafi’s forces.

    Talk about your no-win situations: If America backs out, you’re sure to be killed by Kadafi. If America forces Kadafi out, you’ve won without exposing yourself to any risk, and no one’s likely to press too hard on the “what did you do in the great patriotic war against Kadafi, papa?” questions anyway.

    But this shouldn’t affect our decision-making. When we get a chance to take out a proven mass murderer, a dictator who’s actively pursued WMDs using his country’s vast oil wealth and who’s exported terrorism directed at Americans for decades, you do it. Helping these particular rebels win, it’s true, isn’t really part of the goal, and there are certainly bad men who bid to follow Kadafi, as there are to follow Mubarak in Egypt, and we must make plans for that and prevent it if we can. But the fact that the future is uncertain isn’t a reason not to act now, for the future is always uncertain.

    You’re right, Aaron, that Kadafi needs to get right with Congress on this. I’m one who seriously doubts the constitutionality of the War Powers Act, and I expect any POTUS, Democrat or Republican, to play an active part in the checks and balances process even with respect to asserting the POTUS’ commander-in-chief powers when there’s tension between them and the Congress’ war-declaring and -funding powers. If Obama had stayed in Washington to work the Hill for votes, he could have gotten a resolution that would have covered all he’s done or suggested doing, and more, from Congress. He ought to have, as a matter of prudence and simple good politics, legalities aside.

    But we need more Teddy Roosevelt from him, and less Teddy Ruxpin. We need more “Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead,” only since Perdicaris and Rasuli both died in 1925, we’ll have to settle for Kadafi dead or captured — no exile for this tin-pot dictator in Nicaragua! That this mad dog be put down — for he’s violated his parole and can never be “put in his box” again — is beyond dispute. That we have vital strategic national interests in preventing radicals (who would likely pursue WMDs again, export terrorism again, and harbor terrorists again) from gaining power over Libya’s oil revenues is equally obvious.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  18. WTF are you talking about?

    He’s just following the playbook. If a lefty was on both sides of an issue, presumably in some way, someone was arguing against him both times, so it should be possible to convolute the entire discussion by describing that as conservative hypocrisy.

    I think the paradigmatic example of this is when we talk about Court appointments disclosing their views.

    In this case, Bush was the constitutional scholar and Obama/Biden/Kucinich were extreme liars. Obama has been on both sides of this issue with absolutely no gray area. In at least one case he was actively lying about what the constitution said about war powers.

    A lot of people have cynically realized they can get away with a lot of BS because the American people won’t notice or won’t remember. Obama has played that card to its greatest extreme. It’s no coincidence that the government is poised for a shutdown, and many states are seeing increased union agitation right now.

    It’s going to be hard for the most careful student of current events to keep up, let alone the MTV audience.

    So that’s why timb thinks his sleight of hand, as stupid it is, is a winning argument.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  19. “Seems the only place leftists are “silent” is in your imagination.”

    In our imaginations, and, in the streets of America and Europe where hordes of “anti-war” protestors are curiously absent, and silence reigns golden.

    “The February 15, 2003 anti-war protest was a coordinated day of protests across the world expressing opposition to the then-imminent Iraq War. It was part of a series of protests and political events that had begun in 2002 and continued as the war took place.”

    “Sources vary in their estimations of the number of participants involved. According to BBC News, between six and ten million people took part in protests in up to sixty countries over the weekend of the 15th and 16th; other estimates range from eight million to thirty million.[1][2]”

    “Some of the largest protests took place in Europe. The protest in Rome involved around three million people, and is listed in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the largest anti-war rally in history.”–wiki

    Just a few years back, the leftscum were screaming their heads off even BEFORE we invaded Iraq…now, that one of their own (an America-hating, left wing piece of crap) is running the United States government, there’s barely a peep out of them.

    Dave Surls (4b0d92)

  20. congressdouche Dana Rohrabacher wants to go all in for to free Libya while cutting our losses in Afghanistan. This sort of manic approach to bombing muslims adds a lot to the impression that America hasn’t the slightest clue wtf it’s doing.

    Is America too broke, too stupid, too manic, and too cowardly to reliably see any of these sorts of missions through anymore?

    Dana and Barack’s America is sure looking that way.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  21. Beldar

    I think this is a fruedian slip:

    You’re right, Aaron, that Kadafi needs to get right with Congress on this.

    and to your point, wholly apart from the legality of this war, politically he needs congress’ support.

    But for myself, i don’t think i can support this war if it is just us fighting it. we are fighting two already, and if we take on a third, will we have enough left if we need to take on a 4th issue? i didn’t mind a light no fly zone back when gaddafi was on the ropes. But now? when the rebels are on the ropes? when you are right to say that the rebels don’t have good incentives, now?

    also one other thing. you said gdaffy was pursuing WMDs. he did agree to give them up. do you think he has been violating that agreement?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  22. In our imaginations, and, in the streets of America and Europe where hordes of “anti-war” protestors are curiously absent, and silence reigns golden.

    Yup yup yup yup yup.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  23. timb, why are you such an incompetent troll? Its not like there are not self-help guides to improve your game.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  24. there are some liberals very troubled by all of this, including jon stewart, keith olbermann, andrew sullivan and others. in fact olbermann had a pretty good statement on this, which i would have posted but frankly i want him to suffer in obscurity.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  25. Wow, pikachu, that’s just dialing the stupid straight to 11, he is;

    narciso (b545d5)

  26. speaking of wars for European oil, Norway is bravely finding more and more oils while poor frightened America is too scared to drill for theirs.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  27. Aaron (#22): OMG, you’re right about the Freudian slip. Yeah, I meant Obama needs to get right with Congress.

    There’s no “overstretch” problem with taking Kadafi out. With American air assets, one Stryker brigade could do that in ten days or less. We took down Saddam’s army in two-three weeks in 2003, and it was vastly larger and more competent than the mercenaries Kadafi has. We wouldn’t have to hand out anything more potent by way of weaponry to the rebels than the latest assortment of Nerf weapons, which is about all I would trust them with, and all I would want pointed back at our people in six weeks, when Kadafi’s dead or imprisoned.

    The overstretch problem wouldn’t arise until Kadafi was out. I don’t mean to minimize the challenge. But there are actually some pretty good reasons to think that a fairly light, fairly multi-national coalition could be put together for the “occupation” — some of them geographical (almost all of Libya’s population and infrastructure is on the coast, where even the Italians and the French can project formidable sea and air power from home bases and ports, and Libya doesn’t share a troublesome border with Iran or Syria), some of them religious (Libya doesn’t have nearly the history of Sunni/Shiite strife that Iraq had), and some of them historical (Libya’s been someone’s colony or protectorate virtually its entire history before Kadafi).

    Of course, participating in any kind of occupation or peace-keeping force after Kadafi’s gone would certainly mean a trip to Congress for sure (for funding, at a minimum) and probably, knowing Obama, back to the U.N. for a further resolution, since U.N.S.C. 1973 does pretty clearly rule out an “occupation force of any kind.” But so long as we don’t open a chow hall on Libyan dirt, it doesn’t prohibit any and all “boots on the ground,” it just prohibits how long they can stay and for what purpose.

    Finally, re overstretch: Those who thought there would be a permanent “peace dividend” from the end of the Cold War have been proven wrong. The world is, if anything, more dangerous now than it’s been since roughly October 1962. We no longer need conventional forces sufficient to bottle up the Soviets at the Fulda Gap while we also stop the Chinese and Norks from streaming over the Korean DMZ, but we almost certainly need all of what we’ve currently got in naval and air assets, and considerably more than what we’ve currently got in special forces, infantry, and light/mixed armor (like the Strykers). So this may become a timely warning as Dems try to force spending cuts on national defense and national security.

    I don’t have any reason to think that Kadafi has put his WMD program back on track yet, but if we leave him in power and with access to oil revenues he certainly will, as quickly as he can. He’s a past offender who’s broken parole — not (yet) by returning to WMDs, but by firing heavy weapons indiscriminately on his own civilian population. It’s inconceivable now that we can leave him in power.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  28. It’s a fine mess you’ve gotten us into, Ollie Obamie

    elissa (8a5f44)

  29. Those who argue this will be “another Iraq” are also ignoring the huge difference in the Iraqi Army under Saddam and the mercenaries who make up Kadafi’s forces. When we rolled them up, all the hard-core Baathist (and mostly minority Sunni) loyalists, including those who were related to Saddam, threw off their uniforms but kept their light weapons. They were certainly joined by other jihadis from other countries (including Libya), but they lived in Iraq and weren’t going to leave it. Kadafi’s mercenaries, by contrast, are from elsewhere, and when the snake’s head is cut off this time, they won’t melt into the Libyan countryside, they’ll just go home (unless they can find another mercenary gig they can get to more easily).

    Beldar (cd529f)

  30. The TPM story contains at least one serious falsehood:

    In doing so, he would follow a long line of Presidents who have ignored the act since its passage, deeming it an unconstitutional encroachment on executive power.

    Every president since 1973 has refused to recognise the act as valid, but every president since 1973 has also voluntarily complied with it, as a courtesy to Congress. Obama would be first to ignore it.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  31. But we need more Teddy Roosevelt from him, and less Teddy Ruxpin.

    Beldar, that was a waste of a good line. You should have saved it for your blog and not spent it on a comment.

    On the more serious point of leftist hypocrisy.
    Compare what Obama is doing to the theory of the unitary executive. Then notice what all those people who denounced Yoo and the unitary executive are saying now.

    Beyond Sullivan (who is now in the full hysterical mode he usually reserves for Sarah Palin speeches), Jon Steward and a very few others….the silence is deafening.

    But the comparison works the other way, too. This is the ultimate–and very logical–extension of the unitary executive theory, and whoever was defending that idea during the Bush administration should be rather circumspect about now. (Said in a very general way. I wasn’t around here for much of that period, so I don’t know if anyone here did defend it.)

    the leftscum were screaming their heads off even BEFORE we invaded Iraq…

    To make the comparison accurate, one should note that Bush told everyone, including Congress, what he was doing a good deal of time beforehand, whereas Obama gave less than a day’s notice.

    kishnevi (2d88a8)

  32. He did, Kish, he just carried it over here, if you the link on his name,Sullivan and now Kevin Drum,
    throw in Gleen Gleenwald, LMAO

    narciso (b545d5)

  33. I’m being unfair to Teddy Ruxpin.

    Beldar (cd529f)

  34. Got the cease and desist already, Beldar?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  35. Maybe the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, but David Brooks still sees the crease in the pants.

    narciso (b545d5)

  36. Why does Obama have to bow down to the MAN?


    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  37. EXCUSE ME!

    DohBiden (984d23)

  38. I say leave the man alone. He’s digging a right fine hole by himself, no help needed. He keeps going like this and he’ll impeach himself.

    Kevin M (298030)

  39. Obama has no problem bowing down to The man who pulls his strings.

    DohBiden (984d23)

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