Obama on Executive Power

Yesterday LithiumCola wrote about the Boston Globe's questionnaire about Executive Power. S/he wrote about the strong answers Senator Obama gave. We'll I thought I'd focus a diary just on his answers and not just on the two questions LC highlighted. The questionnaire is quite informative and gives you a good look at were the canidates stand. All except Fred Thomson who was asleep and Rudy Giuliani who was day dreaming about 9/11.

Alright lets get right to the questions and his answers.

1. Does the president have inherent powers under the Constitution to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes?

The Supreme Court has never held that the president has such powers. As president, I will follow existing law, and when it comes to U.S. citizens and residents, I will only authorize surveillance for national security purposes consistent with FISA and other federal statutes.

He answers the question in a direct and good way, not just saying no but not evading the question. Contrast that to people like Mitt Romney who said this.

Intelligence and surveillance have proven to be some of the most effective national security tools we have to protect our nation. Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive and the President should not hesitate to use every legal tool at his disposal to keep America safe.

That guy scares the hell out of me.

2. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites -- a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.

As for the specific question about bombing suspected nuclear sites, I recently introduced S.J. Res. 23, which states in part that "any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress." The recent NIE tells us that Iran in 2003 halted its effort to design a nuclear weapon. While this does not mean that Iran is no longer a threat to the United States or its allies, it does give us time to conduct aggressive and principled personal diplomacy aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

I don't know if I'm the only one but when I read his answers he seems to have such deep knowledge of the issue. I have to turn off the radio when I hear Bush speak. Obama makes me listen in. And I really don't want to have to deal with this guy.

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3. Does the Constitution empower the president to disregard a congressional statute limiting the deployment of troops -- either by capping the number of troops that may be deployed to a particular country or by setting minimum home-stays between deployments? In other words, is that level of deployment management beyond the constitutional power of Congress to regulate?

No, the President does not have that power. To date, several Congresses have imposed limitations on the number of US troops deployed in a given situation. As President, I will not assert a constitutional authority to deploy troops in a manner contrary to an express limit imposed by Congress and adopted into law.

It's crazy that this kind of question is even being asked. How our country has fallen.

4. Under what circumstances, if any, would you sign a bill into law but also issue a signing statement reserving a constitutional right to bypass the law?

Signing statements have been used by presidents of both parties, dating back to Andrew Jackson. While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes and to explain his view of how he intends to faithfully execute the law, it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like or as an end-run around provisions designed to foster accountability.

I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law. The problem with this administration is that it has attached signing statements to legislation in an effort to change the meaning of the legislation, to avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like, and to raise implausible or dubious constitutional objections to the legislation. The fact that President Bush has issued signing statements to challenge over 1100 laws - more than any president in history - is a clear abuse of this prerogative. No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president's constitutional prerogatives; unfortunately, the Bush Administration has gone much further than that.

I had no idea that about the 1100 number. The criminality and abuses of this administration are so much it's hard to believe this isn't a cruel dream.

5. Does the Constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants?

No. I reject the Bush Administration's claim that the President has plenary authority under the Constitution to detain U.S. citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants.

This is one of the most standard international laws. It has been in practice for years but this President thinks he is above the law. What a relief it will be to finally not have to worry about being taken off without any charges. I have been reading Nelson Mandela's book and it's sad we have fallen to the level of the South African police state.

6. Does executive privilege cover testimony or documents about decision-making within the executive branch not involving confidential advice communicated to the president himself?

With respect to the "core" of executive privilege, the Supreme Court has not resolved this question, and reasonable people have debated it. My view is that executive privilege generally depends on the involvement of the President and the White House.

On one side we have people like Alan Keyes who deride the courts for "driving" God out of schools. On the other side we have people like Barack Obama who probably could have been a judge himself if he wanted to. That's a pretty clear choice to me.

7. If Congress defines a specific interrogation technique as prohibited under all circumstances, does the president's authority as commander in chief ever permit him to instruct his subordinates to employ that technique despite the statute?

No. The President is not above the law, and the Commander-in-Chief power does not entitle him to use techniques that Congress has specifically banned as torture. We must send a message to the world that America is a nation of laws, and a nation that stands against torture. As President I will abide by statutory prohibitions, and have the Army Field Manual govern interrogation techniques for all United States Government personnel and contractors.

Again, the fact we even debate torture is throughly depressing. Even more depressing is that one of the two largest political parties is largely pro-torture. Just as a example a leading Senate Republican, Kit Bond thinks waterboarding is like swimming. This will sound awfully violent but there is nothing more I would like to do then give him swimming lessons.

8. Under what circumstances, if any, is the president, when operating overseas as commander-in-chief, free to disregard international human rights treaties that the US Senate has ratified?

It is illegal and unwise for the President to disregard international human rights treaties that have been ratified by the United States Senate, including and especially the Geneva Conventions. The Commander-in-Chief power does not allow the President to defy those treaties.

This is like saying when do you think it's OK to break the law. Here's a hint, you can't. It's illegal.

9. Do you agree or disagree with the statement made by former Attorney General Gonzales in January 2007 that nothing in the Constitution confers an affirmative right to habeas corpus, separate from any statutory habeas rights Congress might grant or take away?

Disagree strongly.

I "don't recall" who that guy even is. Please don't remind me.

10. Is there any executive power the Bush administration has claimed or exercised that you think is unconstitutional? Anything you think is simply a bad idea?

First and foremost, I agree with the Supreme Court's several decisions rejecting the extreme arguments of the Bush Administration, most importantly in the Hamdi and Hamdan cases. I also reject the view, suggested in memoranda by the Department of Justice, that the President may do whatever he deems necessary to protect national security, and that he may torture people in defiance of congressional enactments. In my view, torture is unconstitutional, and certain enhanced interrogation techniques like "waterboarding" clearly constitute torture. And as noted, I reject the use of signing statements to make extreme and implausible claims of presidential authority.

Some further points:

The detention of American citizens, without access to counsel, fair procedure, or pursuant to judicial authorization, as enemy combatants is unconstitutional.

Warrantless surveillance of American citizens, in defiance of FISA, is unlawful and unconstitutional.

The violation of international treaties that have been ratified by the Senate, specifically the Geneva Conventions, was illegal (as the Supreme Court held) and a bad idea.

The creation of military commissions, without congressional authorization, was unlawful (as the Supreme Court held) and a bad idea.

I believe the Administration's use of executive authority to over-classify information is a bad idea. We need to restore the balance between the necessarily secret and the necessity of openness in our democracy - which is why I have called for a National Declassification Center.

Obama has a answer about 10 times as long as any of the other canidates. He knows his stuff and we have to have someone better then this guy:

The Bush Administration has kept the American people safe since 9/11. The Administration's strong view on executive power may well have contributed to that fact.

That was Mitt Romney's insane answer by the way.

11. Who are your campaign's advisers for legal issues?

Laurence Tribe, Professor of Law, Harvard University

Cass Sunstein, Professor of Law, University of Chicago

Jeh C. Johnson, former General Counsel of Department of the Air Force (1998-2001)

Gregory Craig, former Assistant to the President and Special Counsel (1998-1999), former Director of Policy Planning for U.S. Department of State (1997-1998)

Tribe and Sunstien are probably the two smartest and foremost progressive legal scholars. And not only has he talked to them once or twice he is in fact good friends with both. Tribe was a teacher of his at Harvard law and he called Obama "one of the best students I ever had," Sunstein was a colleague of Obama's at Chicago Law School. If there is one canidate who knows the constitution it's Obama and those two men are a big reason for that.


12. Do you think it is important for all would-be presidents to answer questions like these before voters decide which one to entrust with the powers of the presidency? What would you say about any rival candidate who refuses to answer such questions?

Yes, these are essential questions that all the candidates should answer. Any President takes an oath to, "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." The American people need to know where we stand on these issues before they entrust us with this responsibility - particularly at a time when our laws, our traditions, and our Constitution have been repeatedly challenged by this Administration.

Contrast this to Fred Thomson's answer:

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

However Rudy Giuliani delivered a thoughtful and detailed answer.

Bush has destroyed our constitution more then any other president ever. He has set back the national debate so far that we are debating things like whether we should follow the law. To really shift the debate to the other side and restore our fundamental rights and liberties we need someone who really gets it. Someone who has spent years studying and teaching people about the constitution.

Wouldn't it be refreshing to have someone who made a living teaching people about the constitution instead of someone who made a living destroying it? In a little more then a week Iowa will start to decide our next president. Their will be other votes cast after that and we will need a national movement for change to capture the presidency. Please take time and think about where you want this country to go and join this movement for change. This is the defining moment of our generation, probably our century and maybe even our country. So get involved. Together we can change the world.

Tags: Barack Obama, 2008 elections, issues, president, Primaries (all tags)

Comments

42 Comments

Re: Obama on Executive Power

I am impressed.

Not with Obama, but whichever staffer filled out this questionnaire for him.

by ThinkingDem 2007-12-26 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

What is the point of this kind of snark?

Sure is going to help the Dems win the election, not.

If you want change, stop acting like a Republican.

by upper left 2007-12-26 07:37PM | 0 recs
ThinkingDem, that was stupid

And counterproductive

I have been freely criticizing Obama on his economics team, but come on, the guy taught Constitutional Law for Christ's sake. There is exactly no reason to believe these are not his own views.

Snarkish crap like that simply validates Obama supporters' sense of victimization. There are legitimate reasons to criticize Obama but can't you try to keep the punches above the belt?

by Bruce Webb 2007-12-27 04:50AM | 0 recs
Re: ThinkingDem, that was stupid

Bruce and Upper Left,

Like all Obama supporters, you guys don't seem to actually know anything about your candidate.

Like in 1996 his campaign submitted a questionnaire that said would be State Senator Obama opposed the possession and manufacture of ALL handguns.

Only Presidential Candidate Obama said in 2007 that HE didn't fill out the questionnaire, a STAFFER did it for him without his knowledge.

So I am assuming that the same thing is true here.  

by ThinkingDem 2007-12-27 05:48AM | 0 recs
Re: ThinkingDem, that was stupid

Of course a staffer filled this out! Staffers fill all of these things out. Candidates get thousands of questionaires...you clearly haven't ever worked on a campaign.

They get ultimately approved by some higher up who has been briefed by the candidate about his/her positions. Standard procedure.

by mcdave 2007-12-27 07:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

Good stuff Populista.

Obama continues to impress me with the breadth of his answers to the tough questions we face.  What a leader he is, and what a wonderful President he will be.

by Jim Engler 2007-12-26 06:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

Snap out of it , you sound almost as bad as that psychophant Chris Matthews  on hardball tonight.

All of this idol worship and messianic talk is getting ridicoulous.

by lori 2007-12-26 06:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

oh, you mean as opposed to all the glowing diaries posted about Hillary Clinton and how she is the "leader we need right now" types of comments?  As soon as they stop, I'll stop writing glowing comments about Obama.

But then again, I've never seen you condemn a Hillary supporter as an "idol worshiper" or a "sycophant".

by Jim Engler 2007-12-26 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

" But then again, I've never seen you condemn a Hillary supporter as an "idol worshiper" or a "sycophant".

- Neither have I called John Edwards supporters that , that should tell you something.

Quite a few of obama supporters act that way on the blogs and it is becoming a little ridicoulous ( even his supporters on the tube a la chris matthews and his pack of idiots speak the same way , today's spectacle was just unbelieveable.).

by lori 2007-12-26 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

I think a lot of people are simply upset because it's so hard to find anything nice to say about Hillary personally.

by Namtrix 2007-12-26 07:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

Didn't your momma teach you any manners?

If you want to make a a substantive comment,  either positive or critical, great.  But repeating your favorite snark lines is not moving the ball forward.

by upper left 2007-12-26 07:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

OK, you convinced me. Your brilliant insight, "snap out of it," has caused me to see the error of my longstanding, carefully considered admiration for Barack Obama.

I now support lori for president. She will stand up against people who admire other people. She will attack those people who are too admired and defend those who are awesome but too-commonly deprecated. Vote for lori - here is her position paper:

Health Care: lori would tell the HMOs to "snap out of it."
Diplomacy: lori's message to America's enemies and rivals - "snap out of it."
Media Consolidation: Time for the Rupert Murdochs of the world to "snap out of it."
Supreme Court: We need justices who have "snapped out of it."
Gays in the Military: They should be allowed to snap out of the closet and serve like anyone else.
Wearing Crocs: Snap out of it!
Slim Jims: Snap into it? I think not!

by X Stryker 2007-12-27 05:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

Like many others, you feel like it's a bad thing that Obama gets people excited and brings large crowds to his events. Why is that a bad thing again? Because it's inconvenient to your chosen candidate?

by mcdave 2007-12-27 07:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

"Neither have I called John Edwards supporters that , that should tell you something."

- that you don't fear Edwards against your girl Hillary?

I, as you do, have a candidate that I support and believe is the best person to be the next President.  You disagree, but that doesn't mean that my beliefs are any less important or recognizable than anyone else's.  

The fact that you find Obama supporters ridiculous says much more about your fear that Obama might actually win this thing, than of your actual support for Hillary, who's supporters have been here for weeks degrading Obama and writing puff diaries that always end up, no matter how little their validity, on the rec'd list.

I will continue my "sycophantic" ways until I deem this campaign over and my job complete.

by Jim Engler 2007-12-26 07:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

The fact that you find Obama supporters ridiculous

- I have never said that , what I said is that some obama supporters voice idolation on obama like he was the second coming of christ . I don't find them ridicolous I just find the idolation increasingly silly.

" says much more about your fear that Obama might actually win this thing, than of your actual support for Hillary, "

- Actually If Obama wins it I would be perfectly fine with it , Hillary Clinton is my obvious choice but Obama is a fine candidate in my book .
i have just noticed a pattern and some others have as well in which some Obama supporters just treat the man like he is God's gift to man .  

Maybe you are not guilty of it but it is becoming undeniable in some of his supporters , the spectacle on the tube today by his allies on msnbc is just one example.

by lori 2007-12-26 07:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

I didn't get to see Hardball today so I can't comment on that.

I'm glad to hear that you'll support the nominee whomever it might be.  I am of the same mind, and am agitated at times when I hear people, from any camp, who say they won't support the nominee if its so and so.

by Jim Engler 2007-12-26 07:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

Well I have a candidate that doesn't mean I would blindly follow her , I like Obama's message as well .

I like idealism as well . I get idealism and experience from Hillary Clinton but I also recognize the potential of Obama's candidacy as well .

So if he wins it , thats great by me because he is my second choice , obviously I hope its Hillary Clinton but if its not then  you move on and support the nominee.

by lori 2007-12-26 07:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power
thankfully I missed Tweety's show tonight.  What did he do besides drool over Obama and what a great world shattering story it would be if he wins?
Tweety is so ridiculous. I can not imagine how his wife puts up with his constant orgasmic man chrushes.
by MollieBradford 2007-12-26 07:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

Hey Mollie go over to Taylor Marsh she has a post up on it and watch the the clip of the part taylor linked to , today takes the cake.

Tell me what you think about it , he basically said God sent Obama to us as a gift to cure the world ,  I am not kidding .

by lori 2007-12-26 07:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

I'm an Obama guy, but that video was really funny.

by Jim Engler 2007-12-26 08:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

This was actually the one you should see , he carried it over from morning joe to hardball.

The one on hardball was a stroke of genious .

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/ 22401075#22401075

by lori 2007-12-26 08:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

Oh man, the whole sequence where they discussed Hillary's voice was just bad and sad.  

And how does Howard Fineman, a respected journalist to many, mess up that Chet Culver's wife (sorry I can't remember her name) endorsed Edwards and not Obama?  How does that happen?

by Jim Engler 2007-12-26 09:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

1. Chris Matthews is an idiot.

HOWEVER
2. The fact that Obama's campaign has generated this sort of positive coverage is again a GOOD THING not a BAD THING. Campaigns are about media messenging. Obama has excelled at generating buzz and good stories. Clinton? well......

by mcdave 2007-12-27 07:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

What is silly is repeating this little pet snark line of yours, over and over, ad nauseam.

It is particularly irritating when you and your fellow supporters congratulate each other about your great insight every time you repeat it.

Look, you have something of a point.  Some, repeat, some Obama supporters are a bit fawning in their praise.  Mostly that is a result of the fact that he is extremely charismatic and has a way of expressing himself that many of us find unusully thoughtful for a politician.

But your point, and point of your follow supporters, was made nearly nine months ago.  Continuing to repeat this line, at this point, is flogging a dead horse.  

Furthermore, there are many of us who support Obama, who are very seasoned activists and political professionals.  We are not swooning pre-teens and it is extremely condescending for you to suggest that we are naive and ignorant.  

Remember, the people you are dealing with are your fellow Democrats.  Our support of our candidate, is in our view, as reasoned and deeply felt as is yours. A little mutual respect is in order, if we are going to win in the fall, we are going to need to start working together in a few short weeks.

by upper left 2007-12-26 08:24PM | 0 recs
I don't have a problem

With the "I heart Obama' people. It gets over the top sometimes, then again I was a Deaniac back in the day. What does bother me is the hyper-sensitivity to any kind of criticism and immediate accusations of critics having hidden agendas.

Krugman and Armstrong in recent days and weeks have launched substantive critiques of Obama's economic policy. Rather than respond to them with substance in return too many Obama people are insisting that they are simply 'smearing' Obama or are clearly either in the pay of the Clinton campaign or angling for a post in the future Administration. Mind you they don't bother to present evidence of any of this, any criticism of their man is clear evidence of bias.

I put up a post on the Obama/Krugman kerfluffle and made two mistakes. One thinking that people would in fact have the reading skills to understand what my point was in context, and two maybe give me the benefit of the doubt when my finger slipped.

To take the latter. I type fast and don't always proofread carefully enough. I continually type 'their' when I mean 'there' and vise versa. Mostly I catch the errors, sometimes not. In the course of a single post I typed 'Obama' 'Obama' 'Osama' 'Obama'. Typo? Hell no, clear proof that I was trying to pass subliminal messages ala Faux News. Yep me and Chris Wallace, two peas in a pod. Well sorry that is some paranoia talking, Obama does have real enemies, but only an idiot would deliberately try to slip that kind of subliminal attack through on a pro-Obama thread.

Second I used a metaphor and compared Obama and Krugman to the two characters in the Emperor's New Clothes. Now in the story a young boy is the only person in the crowd who will point out that the emperor in fact is not wearing clothes. Which would logically mean we have a situation of Krugman-Boy and Obama-Emperor, with Boy-Krugman pointing out the obvious deficiencies in Emperor Obama's economic policy proposals. If you stopped to think about it. Instead I got accused of calling Emperor Obama a boy and so troll rated as a racist. Well excuse me for their lack of readership skills. Because every other commenter coming by ended up thinking 'Who knew Bruce Webb was a racist'. Thanks for nothing.

Obama is a strong candidate but his campaign and even more some of his supporters show a degree of hyper-sensitivity out of proportion to the incoming criticism. The response to Krugman's initial critique on Obama's stance on Social Security could have been "Hmm, one of the country's foremost progressive voices, and acknowledged as being one of the finest economic minds of his generation, thinks my position is flawed. Maybe we should talk." Instead the campaign and the supporters reacted precisely as Bush supporters reacted in the early days of the war: criticism implicitly equated to treason, any idea that there actually were substantive reasons for dissent simply brushed aside. Well Krugman had a point, one that to this day has not been adequately addressed by the Obama camp.

In my opinion Obama made some very poor decisions in the narrow field of progressive economic policy and at various points I have pointed out why I and indeed Krugman came to this conclusion. But most of the time this point is either ignored or countered with the simple argument 'hater'. Well that is not good enough.

by Bruce Webb 2007-12-27 05:28AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't have a problem

Great reasoning skill and yes y ou do write well enough so that there are no excuses for not getting  your points.

by bruh21 2007-12-27 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: I don't have a problem

I think we have all gotten rubbed a little raw by the pot shots and cheap shots and snark lines of those supporting other candidates.

I suggest that we all try to apply the golden rule to our posts in the next few weeks.  Treat others with the respect that you would like to receive.

The problem from my point of view is that many HRC folks are taking great delight in "old school" hardball, and many JE supporters seem to have convinced themselves that only their guy is a "true" progressive.  

Many of the attacks coming at Obama are obviously low blows.  Watching Mark Penn stand there with a smirk on his face saying "cocaine, cocaine" was so disgusting that it made me forget for a moment that he is not Karl Rove.

Many of the attacks coming at Obama from the left are intellectually dishonest.  He is obviously a committed progressive.  His life choices, his voting record, and his policies make this clear.  You may disagree with some of his individual votes or positions; you may not agree with his rhetoric and tactics; but questioning his underlying commitment to progressive change is just plain dishonest.

Hearing people accuse him of being anti-choice (when he voted present at the request of Planned Parenthood) or anti-labor (when he has a 96% lifetime voting record from the AFL-CIO) is maddening.

Let's try to be honest in our criticisms of the candidates.

by upper left 2007-12-27 07:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

These are sharp answers.  Obama knows his Constitution.

I'm particularly impressed by his decision to give accurate answers regarding signing statements and executive privilege, rather than stoop to the easy pander.

by Steve M 2007-12-26 08:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

This is one of Obama's strengths.  A good and timely diary, thanks.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-12-27 12:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

Nicely done and very informative.  

by Satya 2007-12-27 03:17AM | 0 recs
What is that thing he does

where he strings words together and then stops using words once a complete thought has been communicated?  It's strangely clear and alluring.  Must be some sort of mind trick.

by the mollusk 2007-12-27 05:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

This is close to the top of my issues list. If the president does not respect the law, it undermines the very foundation of our country - a nation of laws and ideals, rather than a nation of land and blood.

by X Stryker 2007-12-27 05:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

they were all softball questions that didnt take much effort or thought at all.
But -- even still, these are all serious constitutional questions.

Specifically, His response to #2 alone is questionable, and might not be considered consitutional.

the fawning though, hysterical!

by sepulvedaj3 2007-12-27 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

Hm?  What could possibly be considered unconstitutional about #2?

by Steve M 2007-12-27 06:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

"As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent"

But then he says the resolution is for bombing nuclear sites whereas it actually states:

Clarifying that the use of force against Iran is not authorized by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq, any resolution previously adopted, or any other provision of law.

Whereas the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq (Public Law 107-243) authorized the President `to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq';

Whereas, on September 26, 2007, the Senate agreed to a provision, Senate Amendment 3017 to Senate Amendment 2011 to H.R. 1585, stating the sense of the Senate that `the manner in which the United States transitions and structures its military presence in Iraq will have critical long-term consequences for the future of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, in particular with regard to the capability of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to pose a threat to the security of the region';

Whereas, on September 26, 2007, the Senate also stated the sense of the Senate `that it is a critical national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from turning Shi'a militia extremists in Iraq into a Hezbollah-like force that could serve its interests inside Iraq';

Whereas, on October 25, 2007, the Department of State designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) as proliferators of weapons of mass destruction under Executive Order 13382 in relation to concerns about their role in proliferation activities;

Whereas, on October 25, 2007, the Department of the Treasury also designated 9 IRGC-affiliated entities and 5 IRGC-affiliated individuals, as derivatives of the IRGC, as well as Iran's state-owned Bank Melli and Bank Mellat and 3 individuals affiliated with Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO), as proliferators of weapons of mass destruction or supporters of terrorism under Executive Order 13382;

Whereas, on October 25, 2007, the Department of the Treasury also designated the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) as a supporter of terrorism for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations, and designated Iran's state-owned Bank Saderat as a terrorist financier, under Executive Order 13224; and

Whereas any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress: Now, therefore, be it

They are contradictory to each other.

And the actual resolution, no matter how noble and "necessary" when dealing with Bush and Co., goes against what he says the power of the commander in cheif actually possesses.

These are nice sound bites - but if he's talking about the constitution, he shouldnt pad it up.

This goes back to the Webb Amendment debate that we had here a while back.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-12-27 08:31AM | 0 recs
by sepulvedaj3 2007-12-27 08:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

I don't think there's a contradiction.  The resolution doesn't purport to take away the President's inherent power to use the military for self-defense purposes.

The point is that if Bush decides to attack Iran someday, he's going to have to justify it on the basis of "imminent threat," not by manufacturing some argument based on the AUMF, the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, or anything else of the sort.

by Steve M 2007-12-27 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

its straddling a very fine line on what the constitutional power of the president is.  Its not a very clear cut answer, and everything in the article, that hasnt been decided by the SCOTUS is iffy territory.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-12-27 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

I don't think most questions having to do with war powers are clear-cut, but the answer still seems straight out of the book to me.  Most disputed questions in this area are decided by political tug-of-war between Congress and the President, not by a judge declaring the law from on high.  Since it's mostly a political question, then, it's very important for Congress to avoid lending any appearance of legitimacy whatsoever to Bush's potential military action.  Let him do it on his own and try to justify it on his own.

by Steve M 2007-12-27 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

Even still, the war powers resolution doesnt require the president to get an AUMF first, it has a timeline the POTUS must follow.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-12-27 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

I love how "generating a lot of enthusiastic support" is now the number one criticism of the anti-Obama crowd on this diary. Talk about attacking your opponent's strength! Seriously, would anyone like to brag about how tepid their chosen candidate's support is?

It's jealousy - that's all. Every candidate wishes his supporters viewed him or her in a positive light, rather than as "the lesser evil" or "the electable one" or "the acceptable centrist".

by X Stryker 2007-12-27 07:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama on Executive Power

I LOVE how Obama supporters try to twist everything any says that is opposition to Obama into an attack.

I think its great that he generates a lot of excitement.

What i was criticizing wasnt Obama, but the fawning of his supporters without critical thinking.

The diary itself is full of it, with comments like (exaggerated) "OMG HE KNOWS THIS SO WELL". Give me a break, these are standard answers, and i've even pointed out inconsistencies in his OWN words.

Why dont you argue the merits of my criticism? Its all in the details, and i've said it 10000 times on here, Obama cant go toe to toe against the other candidates on details, and apparently, neither can his supporters.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-12-27 08:35AM | 0 recs

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