Sunday, March 20, 2011

There will be no more hope and change

I don't agree with President Obama's decision to militarily intervene in Libya, but it's a somewhat close call: I can easily see how reasonable people of good motivations can come to a different conclusion than I did. But I'm quite unhappy with how the process played out: Almost zero consultation with Congress, which does possess the Constitutional power to declare war. *

* Conservatives are noting that liberals aren't mounting anti-war protests, proving their Bush-era anger was largely an exercise in tribalism. Perhaps, but I note that I'm not seeing Tea Partiers scream angrily about the lack of Congressional consultation. Everybody's stupid, in other words. 

My anger at the Bush Administration stemmed, in large part, not just from the stupid invasions and illegal torture that it ordered, but its underlying theory of governance that seemed to do away with the checks and balances provided by Congress.  As bad as the Bush Administration was, though, it still sought Congressional backing before it invaded Iraq. In that sense, it showed more respect for the Constitution prerogatives of Congress than the Obama Administration did this week.

And I'm unhappy about that.

As a voter, I'm not certain what to do next. Do I vote for the party that favors an imperial presidency, or do I favor the party that favors an imperial presidency with somewhat less torture? I can't quite convince myself that both parties are exactly the same; the developments in Wisconsin in recent weeks show that one party is more committed to undermining both the rights of workers and the social safety net. I guess I'll take my militarism with a side of Social Security, thanks.

So I'll probably vote for Barack Obama in 2012, but only as a means of forestalling something worse. And I suppose it doesn't matter to him whether I vote for him while holding my nose or waving pom-poms. But I won't be giving any other kind of support to the Democratic Party. You get my vote, Dems, but you sure as hell don't get my allegiance.


entio said...

I'm curious why you've said "But I'm quite unhappy with how the process played out: Almost zero consultation with Congress, which does possess the Constitutional power to declare war."...because its not just the US that's involved in these events in Libya but also France, the UK, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Canada...and it was a UN decision supported by the Arab League. I also noticed from reading comments on articles in the British press that the UK general public are rather frustrated that CNN are behaving as if the Americans are leading the events when actually coalition forces created as a consequence of a UN resolution backed by the Arab League. It was French and British bombers who sent the first planes..not the Americans. Here's a good discussion of how the British view Obama's statements regarding the American public.

Joel said...

Entio: For the purposes of this blog post, I couldn't care less about the involvement of European governments in this action. I am an American citizen, and it is the processes of the American government that concern me. That would be the case whether the United States was the foremost actor, or just one among many.

namefromthepast said...

It takes a strong person to be critical of something or someone they have defended. So good for you.

For what it is worth I feel looking at each and every action through the lens of ultimate outcomes or "end game" is appropriate.

If we aren't following the constitution are we simply following the whims of a small group of men? (It appears that way) If so we are left to speculate as to their ultimate goals.

This is very dangerous irregardless we agree with the action or not!

I'm influenced by the article written using the link below. It is roughly 160 years old but very applicable today.