Libya

Boehner Feels Excluded From Libya Discussions (But Does Not Really Want to Be Included)

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The other day, in response to complaints that President Obama did not bother to obtain congressional approval for the U.S. intervention in Libya's civil war, the White House said (as paraphrased by The Wall Street Journal) "the president met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers regarding Libya before any action took place." Yet in a letter (PDF) that he sent Obama on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) says, "It is regrettable that no opportunity was afforded to consult with Congressional leaders, as was the custom of your predecessors, before your decision as Commander-in-Chief to deploy into combat the men and women of our Armed Forces." Notice that Boehner does not claim such consultation was constitutionally required, let alone that Obama needed permission from Congress to launch this war, which is the clear implication of the position that the president himself took before he became president. Boehner merely says it would have been nice if Obama had talked to him and other congressional leaders before ordering U.S. forces into action, especially since he did talk to the Arab League and the U.N.

In contrast with the patently partisan reversals by the likes of Newt Gingrich and Joe Biden, Boehner's stance on the president's war powers seems consistent with his views during the Bush administration. He has two strong incentives to refrain from defending the legislative branch's prerogatives in this area:

1. He knows a Republican will be elected to the White House again, maybe as soon as next year. 

2. Insisting on congressional authority would make it harder to blame Obama for whatever bad consequences flow from his war of choice.

By whining about being left out of the pre-war discussions without calling the military assault on Libya illegal, Boehner shirks responsibility while reserving the right to criticize the war's execution, which he implicitly does in his letter with a series of questions that highlight Obama's ill-defined goals and poorly conceived strategy. At the same time, Boehner puts himself on record as supporting Obama's forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East—assuming everything works out well:

The United States has long stood with those who seek freedom from oppression and an underlying structure of basic human rights. The news yesterday that a U.S. fighter jet involved in this operation crashed is a reminder of the high stakes of any military action abroad and the high price our Nation has paid in blood and treasure to advance the cause of freedom through our history.

I respect your authority as Commander-in-Chief and support our troops as they carry out their mission.

How about supporting our troops by insisting that they be used to defend the United States—the mission for which they signed up—instead of pursuing whatever foreign adventure strikes the president's fancy?

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  1. How about supporting our troops by insisting that they be used to defend the United States?the mission for which they signed up?instead of pursuing whatever foreign adventure strikes the president’s fancy?

    Why? The Constitution (according to dyslexic Progressives) is a “breathing, living” document, which means nobody has to obey it at all.

    1. 1. He knows a Republican will be elected to the White House again, maybe as soon as next year.

      Probably not really a motivation for him. Bush was far more meticulous about seeking Congressional approval for Afghanistan and Iraq than Clinton ever was about his Kosovo adventure, yet the lamestream media attacked Bush endlessly and gave Clinton a free pass.

      Biden and all the other supposedly “anti-war” Dems are likewise currently getting a free pass from the lamestream media for hypocritically reversing themselves on everything they ever accused Bush of doing to praise their own beloved tyrant for doing those very things. Care to guess what the odds are that the lamestreamers will ever give Boehner & Co. a free pass if they scream bloody murder now and then praise some future Republican for doing something similar? (The answer, for anyone too dumb to grasp the obvious, is Diddly/Squat.)

      2. Insisting on congressional authority would make it harder to blame Obama for whatever bad consequences flow from his war of choice.

      May I remind you that a huge number of Dems voted to authorize military action in Afghanistan and Iraq and then promptly joined the lamestream media in smearing him for every little thing that went wrong? The Republicans would be stupid not to retaliate in just this fashion. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

      The best part is that they don’t even have to engage in the same duplicity to get the same results when this “kinetic military action” inevitably goes sour, since they never voted for it in the first place. Bush settled the Taliban’s hash and gave us Saddam’s head on a platter, scoring a further bonus by scaring the hell out of Gaddafi so that he gave up his nuclear program. The spineless coward currently occupying the White House isn’t even trying to take out Gaddafi, so this “kinetic military action” doesn’t really have any achievement that can be defined as victory. Its failure is certain. That dead skunk’s in the other guy’s back yard, and there it will stay. Why interfere with a political enemy when he’s busy destroying himself?

  2. For some reason no one wants anything to do with that tar baby.

    1. Are you talking about Obama? If so, RAAAAAACIST!!!!11!1!1!1ELEVEN!!

      1. Why blame Bonner?

  3. Wow, I never thought that anyone could look like they’re slurring their speech.

    1. It will forever irk me the way that Boehner cried when taking the gavel, like he’d won a fucking prize.

      1. Very few Speakers come out of the experience with good reputations. I’d cry if I got the job, but for a different reason.

        1. And your understandable reaction is why I wouldn’t be 1/2 as worried as I am now if you did become speaker Pro L.

          1. If I did reluctantly take up the gavel, the apocalyptic wrath I’d unleash on the House would be remembered for centuries. I’d only have the gavel for a few sessions before they would successfully have me removed, but the pain and suffering of Congress during my reign of horror would make it all worth while.

            1. Alrighty then! Let me know when you form an exploratory committee.

              1. I explore nothing. I will simply seize power in my district, overthrowing my representative.

                1. Such men dare take what they want.

                  1. It’s true, I am from the 20th century.

                    1. Screw your courage to the sticking place, PL. We’re counting on you!

        2. I’d cry if I got the job, but for a different reason.

          Speaker Dean would adopt as his personal mission to make every member of the House of Representatives cry at least once during his tenure.

          1. There will be wailing and a great gnashing of teeth. And lo, did the Congresspersons lament.

            What is best in life?

            To crush the Congress, see them driven before you, and to hear their lamentation and their bitching.

    2. For real. I never thought I’d witness a SOTU address in which the President is flanked by Howdy Doody and Sam the Eagle.

  4. So wait, Speaker Butthurt wasn’t among the “Bipartisan policymakers” that Obama met with prior to this idiotic undertaking?

    Who the hell did he talk to then?

    1. Clintonites and Progressives.

    2. Either the Armed Services Committee or the Select Committee on Intelligence (or some reps from both)

    3. He has a toy box full of Congressperson dolls. He talks to them.

      1. I heard he likes to put Barbie outfits on them, and set up little law seminars.

        NTTAWWT.

        1. I won’t respect Obama unless he goes all Emperor Cartagia and has actual heads that he talks to.

          1. Caligula? (Or am I even farther behind on my scifi reading/viewing than I thought?)

            1. Babylon 5, Centauri Emporer Cartagia. He had a “shadow” cabinet that consisted of the heads of his former rivals on a desk. He would go and consult with them on important war matters. Go crazy? Don’t mind if I do…

    4. Who the hell did he talk to then?

      People carefully selected to not tell him this was a bad idea, and not tell him that Congress needed to vote on this.

  5. Mr. Sullum,

    How could you use that pic without using any alt text? I mean, really? If ever a pic cried out, “CAPTION CONTECT,” that’s the pic.

    And on that note…caption contest.

    “I thought I was gonna fart, but I just shit my pants.”

    1. Caption: “bwh…bwh… bwhwhoooo boo hoo!!! SOB!”

      1. Not a caption: simply replace the background blue with somebody littering.

      2. Better Caption: “Not Winning.”

        1. “He promised there’d be K.Y. this time!”

  6. How about supporting our troops by insisting that they be used to defend the United States?the mission for which they signed up?instead of pursuing whatever foreign adventure strikes the president’s fancy?

    I’m looking forward to the day when some of the recent veterans decide to start running for office on this platform.

    1. The problem is, a lot of vets (and I speak from experience), are of the “Fuck yeah, lets go, kill em all!” attitude. They don’t MIND being used in stupid foreign adventures, as long as they’re getting to blow shit up. They start getting pissed when they have to do “nation building”, and worrying about human rights, etc. I vividly remember an E-6 complaining to me once that, “Man I was trained to kill motherfuckers, not be some kind of fuckin’ police”. His anger was not at the concept of war in Iraq, or with anyone, regardless of whether they were a threat to the United States or not. He didn’t want to do an occupation.

      It pains me to say that, but after 6 yrs in the army, that is the prevalent attitude. It does NOT apply to everyone, so don’t think I’m making a 100% blanket statement, but it applies to a lot of them. If someone ran on a platform of war, but without the nation-building afterwards, a lot of vets would go for that.

      1. I vividly remember an E-6 complaining to me once that, “Man I was trained to kill motherfuckers, not be some kind of fuckin’ police”.

        Thereby demonstrating a deeper understanding of the nature and role of warfighters than any President in recent memory.

      2. His anger was not at the concept of war in Iraq, or with anyone, regardless of whether they were a threat to the United States or not.

        Not to channel Bill Hicks but when was the last time the US was in a war….WWII. You’re friend hasn’t been and isn’t likely to be in one.

        Remind him that it’s only a war is when two armies show up.

        “Man I was trained to kill motherfuckers, not be some kind of fuckin’ police”.

        Rest assured ….when he gets out….the first place he’ll make a beeline for will be a municipal personnel office…to be a cop.

        1. Ummm, if they are shooting back at you, and they’re wearing military uniforms, it’s a war, regardless of what the politicians call it.

          1. I don’t care what costumes they show up in….we haven’t fought anyone in our weight class in years.

            1. The man in the black pajamas, dude. Worthy fucking adversary.

              1. Still not an army…..under the DODs own language, an irregular. No air cover, no naval support, no photorecon…..

                But yes your statement stands.

      3. “Man I was trained to kill motherfuckers, not be some kind of fuckin’ police”

        At least he has reached the epiphany that motherfuckers =/= family pets.

        1. Ah yes….Balko Syndrome.

  7. Alt-text fail.

    “What’s a boner?”

  8. Over the course of history, primarily the 20th century, the Congress has not had its Constitutional authority usurped; it willingly gave it away.

    John Boehner is Exhibit D37. He hedges his bets to make sure no shit could possibly land his lap from this Libya adventure. God forbid he should call oBomBa on the carpet for what is as much of an unncessary foreign adventure as W in Iraq and Afghanistan, Clinton in Serbia, Sudan, Afghanistan (wherever else he bombed), and GHW in Kuwait.

  9. Give that man a shot of testosterone-It will make his wife happy

    1. Do you speak out of personal experience?

  10. Boehner will be a footnote in the history books, like forgotten ante-bellum politicians. A man who had an historic opportunity to turn the course of the country, but was simply the wrong man at the right time.

  11. As if we needed any more proof that Boehner is a pussy. It’s hard to believe that this is the best Team Red could come up with to lead the House to propose fiscally responsible legislation and sound foreign policy, or basically the platform they ran on.

    $60B in budget cuts? Laughable.
    Giving up Constitutionally-mandated responsibility? Pathetic.

  12. If you’re against the president committing ground troops in Libya, then I don’t understand why you would want him to seek an authorization for what he’s doing in Libya.

    …when the Republican leadership is still controlled by the same bunch who rubber stamped everything Bush the Lesser did?

    …do you imagine the Democrats will cut the knees out from under their own president when they’ll probably need whatever coat-tails he has in this election cycle?

    If you’re against the president bogging us down in Libya, the last thing you should want to see is the president asking for a congressional authorization to bog us down in Libya.

    Because if he went to Congress for an authorization? I think he’d get it.

    1. Probably would pass, but at least we’d get a list of the good guys and the bad guys based on what they do rather than what they say.

  13. Insert SLD, I’m not FOR the Libyan adventure or imperial presidents. Now, what are the viable alternatives? I guess Boehner could introduce a resolution prohibiting any DOD operating funds from being used to support the Libyan adventure. Then what? He could work with Senators to make sure no confirmations are made, but nobody’s getting confirmed now. Impeachment is a dead letter. You can’t impeach 2 Democratic presidents in a row.

    1. You can’t impeach 2 Democratic presidents in a row.

      Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

      1. Why don’t we just go ahead and pre-impeach the next 5 presidents (at least half will be repubs) just to keep things fair.

        1. Impeachment should be something we do every year. If you don’t get convicted, you get another year! Unless you’re impeached for a specific “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

    2. As much as a glad-handing sack of shit Clinton was, he didn’t deserve impeachment. And now that we have a president that does deserve it, we can’t do it. Not that this Congress would ever draw up Articles of Impeachment on the nation’s first black president.

      re Libya, isn’t it going to go down one of the following three ways? (Apologies if this has already been stated in one of many threads.)

      1) We bomb shit out of MG’s guys, and he takes Benghazi anyway. Gives UN the finger, decimates the rebels a la Rome, and we look ridiculous. Probably tries to restart his terror links to give the US some back. He did after his kid got snuffed in El Dorado Canyon after all.

      2) We blast MG’s army and they can’t take Benghazi, but the rebels are such sacks of incompetent shit, that they can’t march the 600 miles or so to Tripoli and we get an uneasy stalemate that we/UN are responsible for enforcing. Overflights continue, staging out of, Egypt? The 6th fleet? Sicily? Basically a smaller version of the Iraq no-fly zone, for probably about as long, and about what, a quarter/half billion a year to maintain?

      3) Rebels kick ass with US overhead support, invest and take Tripoli, and being tribal sots, proceed to massacre/ethnically cleanse every man, woman, child and goat of MG’s tribe. (Or, what happened to many of the Serbs left in Kosovo when it was all over) While we sit back and do…what exactly? I guess, per what I see as Ken’s point of view, we can then do business with the lead rebel, provided they don’t have an immediate falling out…e.g., what happened in Afghanistan post-Afghan Communist party.

      Whatever happens in all 3, ground forces deployed or not, the U.S. will end paying for most of us, and will end up being blamed for all of it.

      1. You left out

        4) The rebels win, and strew roses in our path and thank us gratefully.

        You need to include that, since that seems to be the consensus Congress operates off.

        1. Also missing reference to how the rebels establish a Jeffersonian republic complete with constitution enshrining the rights of religious minorities, females, and teh geyz.

          1. And purple thumbs. Can’t forget the purple thumbs.

            I was going to include a Rainbow Puppy Island option, but didn’t think it possible, given stereotypical Arab attitudes towards dogs and gays.

  14. Boehner is a beautiful man, I like the way he smokes and defends that beautiful tobacco habit, how he rejected Obama’s dinner date with the Communist Chinese dictator, er, “President,” how he talked about chicken crap.

    Is he somewhat of a manipulator? Perhaps, but at least he’s not a Marxist like bad ol’ Barry.

    Right now with Obama in the not so White House we have the rebirth of Krushev.

    “Gee, my popularity is going south, let’s invade Libya, yay!”

    Sure, right now he’s following the Clinton playbook of bombing other places when the media is bombing you, but let’s face it, people, if we don’t stand up against the Marxist-in-chief today, we’ll all be sent to a gulag tomorrow.

    Earth Hour: Hating Humanity’s Progress.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..gress.html

    1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    2. Piss off, blogwhore.

      1. This is bullshit.

        I am no fan of libertarians4freedom blog but Urkobold is pretty awesome.

        I would prefer more bloggers peddling their wares here.

        1. [Sends bag of cookies to Mr. corning]

          1. Knowing Urkobold you probably ate them first.

            Speaking of blogwhore, mine was mentioned in a paper. 🙂

            1. The shemale escorts section of the L.A. Weekly doesn’t count.

    3. Boehner is a beautiful man,

      This reveals at least three things:

      1) Gregory Smith has poor vision;

      2) Gregory Smith is teh gay (NTTAWWT)

      3) Gregory Smith is totally blogwhoring at the wrong site. Try the log cabin republicans. They’ll lick that crap right up.

    4. “Boehner is a beautiful man, I like the way he…”

      …fought tooth and nail to adopt the TARP program?

      …fought tooth and nail to expand the Great Society and Medicare to cover prescription drugs?

      John Boehner is a traitor to conservatism and a disgrace to the legacies of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan…

      I can’t wait for the day when fake conservatives like John Boehner are all thrown on the ash heap of history.

  15. 1. He knows a Republican will be elected to the White House again, maybe as soon as next year.

    2. Insisting on congressional authority would make it harder to blame Obama for whatever bad consequences flow from his war of choice.

    It should be noted that if Boehner attacked the President on constitutional ground and passed a house resolution barring Obama from conducting war activities in Libya it would virtually guarantee that Obama would lose the White House in 2012.

    His idiotic statism is not only intented to give republicans power if they get the White house….but it is the worse choice politically as it gives republicans a lesser chance of actually getting the White House.

    The result being that he may as well be a Democrat.

    Boehner: Worse opposition leader ever.

    Also a week or two ago I was bitching about Libertarians not being Machiavellian enough. My mistake, apparently Republicans are even more naively stupid.

    1. Yup. But most of his behavior can be explained as cowardice. The worst part is he thinks he’s doing a good job and winning the future (WTF) for Republicans.

    2. The GOP has, for the first time in forever, a mandate. A mandate to stop business as usual and clean up the mess. Naturally, they’ll do no such thing.

      1. I am going to make a t-shirt:

        “I had a man-date and all I got from it was this stupid Boehner”

      2. They have a mandate for exactly one thing: create jobs. The economy was the only reason for their gains. And yes, they will fail, because they don’t know how to create jobs or care all that much.

    3. Obama will get another term

    4. It should be noted that if Boehner attacked the President on constitutional ground [sic] and passed a house resolution barring Obama from conducting war activities in Libya it would virtually guarantee that Obama would lose the White House in 2012.

      No, it would not. Republicans won’t net themselves any votes by pandering to the infinitesimal fraction of (perpetually dissatisfied) voters who really do believe in pacifism and isolationism and all that nonsense. In contrast, they do stand to gain plenty politically by standing back and letting their opponents anger and alienate whichever part of their constituency isn’t already angry and alienated.

      Republicans are smarter than you think; for one thing, some of them have actually managed to win elections–unlike Libertarians. As they’d probably say if you started comparing the intelligence of each party, if you’re so smart, why aren’t you in office?

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