America’s Founders intended that the presidency was to be a weak office, with the office of the president to be a largely ceremonial position. Our Founders signed a compact among the states providing for powerful states’ rights and a limited central government.
At the Albany Congress in 1754, Benjamin Franklin proposed the formation of a union of the colonies “under one government as far as might be necessary for defense and other general important purposes.” The Albany Plan of Union established in concise terms the limited form of central government intended by the Founders, and even this limited form of states’ involvement was rejected by the colonies when the plan went to a vote. The colonial assemblies and most of the citizens were narrowly provincial, mutually jealous, and suspicious of any taxing authority.
In this spirit, our Founders finally ratified the Constitution, which was intended to be a compact to protect states’ rights with limited and enumerated powers of Congress expressed in Article I Section 8, and a weak president whose powers were enumerated in Article II Section 2. Here is the mini list of specific enumerated powers of the president: (1) Shall be Commander and Chief; (2) Shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardons; (3) Shall have the power… to make treaties; (4) Shall have the power to appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme court, and all other officers of the United States… (5) Shall have the power to fill up all vacancies. (6) Shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; (7) Shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed; (8) Shall Commission all the Officers of the United States. Basically the net, net of what the Founders had in mind was for the president to be seen and not heard; a shaking hands, kissing babies, non-policy-making presidency.
There is no mention of war declaration or a health-care extravaganza. The Founders, who intended that a president would stay in the background, would be aghast that candidates for president today actually have platforms of proposals for action. All would have been unconstitutional in their minds. The actions of the president were strictly limited to those enumerated, and that was that.
William Kristol writes at WeeklyStandard.com, “We are at war.” And he continues, “We need to succeed in that war… If we prevail in Libya-and in Afghanistan and Iraq, the victory will be America’s.” In a related Weekly Standard piece, Mr. Kristol tells Americans, “The president seems to understand we have to win in Libya… I think we will.”
America was not and is not under any imminent threat. As such, the president had no power to act under the War Powers Act. The act allows presidential action in times of an imminent threat to America. Pat Buchanan asks, “Did President Obama commit an impeachable act?” And Pat answers, “So it would seem.” It indeed seems so. Mr. Kristol and his neocon chums (see Project For A New American Century) are fanning the intervention fires with delusional comments like “we need to succeed” and “we have to win.” This is first-rate insanity. Libya is a wasteland of terrorists and lunatics.
A couple of Navy Seal teams could turn the dismal place into a junk heap and, over a long weekend, wipe Col. Qaddafi from the face of the earth. Instead, we have NATO and the watered-down U.N. Security Council in the loop. We also have our deeply conflicted president phoning minor league Security Council players looking for their approval. The French are all puffed up. The neocons, fired up as usual by Mr. Kristol, are going bonkers. And, oh nuts, President Obama has, as the U.S. Constitution demands, failed to run his (yup, it’s his now) little intervention goat rope past Congress.
Mr. Kristol, going out on a limb, tells Americans that he thinks we will win. Win what? Just what is the prize here? The killing of Col. Qaddafi? If so, it is a Cracker Jack prize. The Col. has been pretty silent since the days, many decades ago, when President Reagan nearly blew him into oblivion. Today thanks to President Obama, with a big supporting thanks to the outgoing Hillary Clinton, and to the high-school cheerleading from the William Kristol-led tub thumpers, America has kicked yet another hornet’s nest. The words impeachable act come quickly to mind here. All this interventionist adventurism is going to come to a bad end for America and for President Obama. And with an election coming in 2012, Americans know whom to blame.