Mountain Sun

Mountain Sun

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Constitutional Process Matters, Except When Digby Knows Better

People keep asking me if I support Dennis Kucinich's call to impeach Obama for failing to get congressional authorization for the operation in Libya. Actually no, and not because Obama swears [sic] my team jersey. It's because I know that if he had gone to the congress to get authorization he would have gotten it, so the whole question seems a little bit irrelevant. They always do. Sometimes it's by acclamation as it was with Afghanistan or it's a little bit tougher as it was in Gulf War I. But the congress is not going to deny the president his prerogative to make war. Certainly, the Senate isn't going to do it --- they all look in the mirror every morning and see a future president and they want to be able to make their own wars when the time comes.

All this talk about process obscures the real question of whether or not we should have intervened in Libya and I have little doubt that if the great debate everyone thinks should have happened had happened, it wouldn't have changed the outcome one bit except to give the imprimatur of congress to the administration's decision. So, that's a big whatever. Process matters, but in this case, it's only barely relevant to the real question before us.

Regardless of Digby's prophetic powers,  I would have preferred that my congressman have his say on the floor.  I think he might well have spoken against it.  And I'd like to have given any senator a chance to do a "Bernie Sanders" for a few hours on CSPAN.   Who knows?   Some grandstanding Senator might have pushed the hour late enough that France Sarkozy would have jumped into Libya without us.  In spite of Digby's impressive claim to be able to foretell the future, I'd rather have played that particular game out.   You just never know.  A little time in debate might make a big difference.

And even if her prophetic powers were spot-on and the war was indeed inevitable, the result of that congressional debate is not the point.  The outcome of the vote is--to use her term--irrelevant.  The important thing and the entire point is that our representatives in the House and Senate get to have their say, and the debate happens.  Especially about war, and especially now. 

Ah, well.  I need to get accustomed to people who find some constitutional process or other to be outmoded, quaint, unimportant, or as described above, "irrelevant".  And I guess I pretty much am used to it.  But sometimes, when that sentiment comes out of some unexpected direction, it still surprises, saddens me.

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