|Sen. Mitch McConnell at CSM breakfast|
For the last two-and-a-half years Republicans have been feeling extremely comfortable and loose lipped. When they make jokes and unflattering statements about President Obama they get resounding approval and applause. Not only is that kind of reception a “hugging welcome” for a guest speaker, it opens the door to say whatever he or she wants without fear of rejection, ridicule or an audience boo-down.
That’s how comfortable Kentucky's Republican Senator Mitch McConnell was when he was a guest panelists at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, June 22.
McConnell said, “The only thing I can tell you at this point is that there are differences. I’m not sure that these kind of differences might not have been there in a more latent form when you had a Republican president. But I do think there is more of a tendency to pull together when the guy in the White House is on your side.
“So I think some of these views were probably held by some of my members even in the previous administration, but party loyalty tended to mute them. So yeah, I think there are clearly differences and I think a lot of our members, not having a Republican in the White House, feel more free to express their reservations which might have been somewhat muted during the previous administration.”
McConnell was talking about President Obama committing America’s help to stave off a potential genocide after dictator Mu(mmar Gaddafi unequivocally stated that he “would have no mercy” against Libyans rising up against him. He said his army would go on a house to house killing spree.
Regardless of the warning, some Democrats and the majority of Republicans are not happy. They said President Obama did not get permission from Congress to participate in the Libyan scrimmage. Of course they had no intentions of agreeing with him. They just wanted to see him grovel and beg for their cooperation.
The 1973 War Powers Act states that the president is supposed to halt military involvement if Congress has not formally approved it within 60 days. Republicans say the President has not explained America’s purpose for teaming with NATO, and going into Libya. The President sent Congress a letter of explanation.
On April 10, 1999, members of Congress filed a lawsuit against Bill Clinton, citing he violated the Constitution and the War Powers Act when he sanctioned America’s leading role in NATO’s intervention in Kosovo. Seventeen members of Congress participated in the lawsuit. A number of Democrats and Republicans, led by Dennis Kucinich, have filed a similar lawsuit against President Obama. They said he violated the War Powers Act. Kucinich did not participate in the lawsuit against Clinton.
According to a May 6, 1999 article in Salon, the White House continues to insist it doesn't need the permission of Congress to mount military action against Yugoslavia. "We believe the president does have the authority to conduct this campaign," says NSC spokesman Leavy. "There's constitutional precedent. In 1995, we engaged in military action in Bosnia in order to bring the Serbs to the negotiating table. President Bush sent 20,000 troops to Somalia. What we've done is consistent with the War Powers Resolution.”
"The whole War Powers Act is a very vague and hazy area," adds a senior White House official. It's never been tested to the Supreme Court level."
“To add to the mixed messages, on Thursday the House is expected to vote in support of $12.9 billion to fund the military operations it won't support -- even though President Clinton requested less than half that. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, has explained this as a way to support our troops, while not necessarily supporting the policy that put them there.” (Salon)
John Kerry said last week no president has ever come before Congress under the 1973 War Powers Act, but now is a good time "to start with President Obama." The media are aware of this little overlooked fact, but refused to write about it, leaving the impression that Obama is the only president in history to "violate" the War Powers Act.
Today House Republicans and Democrats delivered a confusing solution to their opposition to President Obama. First they voted against authorizing the use of American forces in Libya, an hour later they voted not to limit funding. That sounds an awful lot like Dick Armey's statement.
McConnell said their slogan for the 2012 presidential election will be "Obama made it worse."