Ben Johnson, The White House Watch
The moment would be surreal were it not so reminiscent: An arrogant Democratic president had committed an impeachable offense, lied to the American people, and dared Congress to do anything about it. Incensed congressmen of both parties asked, negotiated, and threatened until they realized they had no alternative but to take action. Then, the Republican leadership stepped in to save their party’s, and their country’s, worst enemy.
This is not a Clinton-era flashback but a rehearsal of this week’s actions in Congress.
Barack Obama’s indiscretion is more serious than a stained dress and a lie under oath during a civil trial. Obama sent an already overstretched American military to take sides in the Libyan civil war, as part of the NATO operation known as Operation Odyssey Dawn. Now, well over 60 days into the fight, the war proceeds with no sign of Congressional approval and a promise of “no let-up.”
By the most liberal reading of the War Powers Resolution, this is illegal. Yet when Congress decided to act, the Republican leadership came to the rescue.
Boehner Saves Barry’s Bacon
A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers opposed the war from the beginning. Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul suggested the war called for impeachment. Late last month Kucinich introduced House Concurrent Resolution 51, which would require Obama to remove all U.S. troops from combat in Libya within 15 days of passage.
Then he set out creating the toothless alternative that cleared the House Friday.
Boehner’s House Resolution 292 simply asks for the president to send Congress “a report describing in detail United States security interests and objectives.” It declares, “Congress has not provided authorization” for Libya and “has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding.”
And that’s it.
If it is ever produced, the report will create bad PR for Obama and further turn public opinion against the intervention. Cynics will undoubtedly accuse Boehner of playing politics with a war for requiring it.
At the least cynical, his actions could be interpreted as an attempt to build public sentiment for cutting off funds. But if Boehner cannot find the spine to follow the Constitution and the law now, how….