Sign On President Obama’s Desk: The Buck Stops Somewhere Else
There are so many reasons why giving congress a chance to vote on whether to punish Syria for using poison gas is a stupid idea, I won’t even bother running through the long list. Here’s just one reason that you may not have considered — and which Mr. Obama clearly hasn’t: If congress does approve (and that is questionable), it won’t just give a yes or no. It will approve with all manner of other strings.
The go-ahead may be tied to demands related to retaliation for strikes against U.S. targets; retaliation from Syria or one of its allies against Israel; limits on what Mr. Obama is legally bound to do when considering any other military strike anywhere and at any time. And then, of course, there’s the Tea Party factor.
If the president wants their votes to give him approval he doesn’t really need under the War Powers Act, will the Tea Party demand concessions on the debt limit and other budgetary matters in return? Why would anyone watching congress in recent years think they wouldn’t?
Most two-term presidents wait until their last year or two in office to become lame ducks. Mr. Obama is racing toward irrelevance much earlier. America deserves so very much more in our president, in our congress, in our top court. Cry the beloved country!
(Michael Silverstein’s newest book is The Devil’s Dictionary Of Wall Street)