War Dog House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is frothing at the mouth. He’s pushing his white paper on “The Imperial Presidency”. But when it comes to expanded presidential powers and the appropriate role for government, Cantor and the establishment GOP should look in the mirror. Cato’s Gene Healy points this out in his weekly Washington Examiner column:
In his imperial parade of horribles, Cantor finds room for “withholding critical information about counterfeit goods”–but says nothing about major executive power abuses like illegal wars and dragnet domestic surveillance.
There’s a reason for that. Rep. Cantor, truth be told, is rather sweet on the Imperial Presidency. As he sees it, the problem with Obama’s Libyan war wasn’t its lack of congressional authorization–it was that the president wasn’t aggressive enough. Cantor’s for a more aggressive approach to Syria, a more aggressive approach to Iran–a more aggressive approach to aggression. He’s even given to quoting President Lyndon Baines Johnson‘s foreign policy wisdom.
And when Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., moved to defund the National Security Agency‘s bulk collection of innocent Americans’ calling records, Cantor threatened to kill the bill on a procedural technicality.
Ninety-four House Republicans later voted to end the program; Cantor wasn’t among them. On these core Imperial Presidency concerns, the GOP rank-and-file are better than their leadership. They could use a better standard bearer.