This week the congress began putting pressure on the president over Libya. Traditionally presidents go to the congress for consultation when hostilities are involved. Bush consulted congress over the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
When the speaker of the house- John Boehner- lead the majority of congress in rejecting the tougher position of Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich’s bill- that would demand the president pull out of Libya- Boehner instead asked for an explanation of why the president simply is not following the war powers resolution [having to go to congress after 60-90 days of hostilities in a foreign land]. To the surprise of just about every legal analyst- including many Democrats- the president made a case that what was happening in Libya did not amount to ‘hostilities’.
Now- Boehner is a longtime insider- he knows the way Washington works. He could not believe that the office of legal counsel would have agreed to this. The president purposefully avoided answering that specific question.
Finally- some insiders- more than likely Democrats- could not believe the president did indeed reject the office of legal counsels advice- and instead claimed to make the call based on his own legal opinion [to just about every legal analyst- this is going rogue].
Finally the truth leaked out- and it was revealed that the president took the unprecedented step in trying to define air warfare as 'non hostile action’.
As I read the news stories- and listened to both sides- I could not understand why the president did this. While it is true that most presidents reject the war powers resolution [the act itself] yet they usually follow the advice of their office of legal counsel.
That is the executive branch’s legal arm that gets the advice of both the Pentagon lawyers as well as the Justice dept. It just seemed to be the decision of a man who tries to present himself in public as a reasonable man- but behind the scenes he is a very different person.
I also saw this in the president’s ‘pettiness’ with political enemies. As a retired Texas firefighter- when we have had bad wild land fires- we always- in every case I know of- got federal aid when meeting the criteria of a natural disaster. To my shock- this past year the president- for the first time ever [as long back as I remember] told Texas ‘screw you’ yes- our guys- the ones who got hurt- the ones who paid out of pocket to go to the scene- driving miles from home in their personal vehicles- for the first time ever were told ‘no’. The president told Texas Fire Fighters [and its Repub governor] no!
The majority of these firefighters are union guys whose dues go primarily to Democrat causes. I was shocked that a sitting U.S. president would do this.
Then came the school funding issue. My oldest daughter recently got a teaching job with the public schools. During last year’s political wars- Texas was the only state that the president withheld federal funding to. There were some political games begin played- but at the end of the day Texas was the only state that the president denied funding to. Eventually it got passed- against the president’s wishes- when it was slipped in under the Continuing Resolution to fund the govt.
I could go on and on about stuff like this- examples that I have never before seen- cases where this president has gone after political enemies to an extreme- where even other Democrats have said ‘you must be mad’. There have been ‘leakers’ during this administration- like all others. This president has been the only one [in recent memory] who has tried to raise the level of the leak to ‘treason’ and thus making it a federal crime punishable by death. It’s almost unbelievable that he has actually used his office like this.
As we as a nation try and move forward- there will always be 2 sides to these debates- what troubles me is it seems to me that for whatever reason- maybe the president did not realize the pressures involved with the job- but for whatever reason he really has done some really bad stuff- I mean the firefighter decision was a real eye opener to me- showing me that he is not mature in these decisions- too petty to have done these types of things to get back at a political enemy.
Hopefully we can get beyond these things as a country- but for my friends to have been turned down federal aid- while risking their lives- that’s being petty at the edge of danger- that’s like going after the leakers- and seeking their death- that’s real bad.
NOTE- Over the last few years I heard reports that Senator Obama did indeed do politics this way in Chicago- that Rham Emanuel and other political cronies threatened people- with physical harm. I never really believed these stories- but after seeing all these examples above- I began thinking that these stories were probably true [putting a dead fish in an opponent’s bed/ room- just like the mafia movie!]. These examples are bad- I could have given the story of a Texas political blogger- yikes! - Who was just interviewed on national TV. He was stalked- the F.B.I. went thru his trash- videotaped his family from a secret camera planted across the street- and it was revealed that the administration contacted the I.R.S to go after him. This U.S. citizen was targeted- and his family- because he was on the other side of the political isle. Stuff like this would have never passed under other administrations- never.