Monday, January 15, 2007

OR Constitution Party Seeks War Authorization Repeal

Throughout the dark times when only liberals and other thinking people were aware that going into Iraq was and is a bad idea, there were few heroes visible in the traditional media, who would dare champion the notion that this was all dangerous and deadly folly. I can't really bring myself to call Pat Buchanan a hero, but he was probably the most prominent commentator or political insider who was against the war from the get-go, was not afraid to tell anyone, and did so repeatedly since before the invasion. Odious as so much of the rest of his ideology is, he deserves strong credit for speaking his mind and not buying the bullshit. Sure, he's a natural born iconoclast who probably is against going into Darfur for humanitarian reasons, but he got it right.

Buchanan's main third party dalliance has been with the Reform Party, but they share a lot in common with the Constitution Party, which has a fairly active branch in Oregon and featured the savvy zealot Mary Starrett in last year's race for governor. And like Buchanan, the OCP has been right on Iraq pretty much from the beginning. It's the natural conservative position to resist overt entanglements that are not struggles for one's own survival. Iraq never qualified, in any way, and so the documentarians in the party see an ill-timed, ill-planned, ill-supported war that Congress has the right and the duty to address. Does it get more progressive than that, really? No wonder Starrett got some of the best applause of any contender at Candidates Gone Wild when she demanded withdrawal from Iraq.

So here's what the party wants now:
The Constitution Party of Oregon is calling on Congress to pass H.R.413, which would repeal the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002” (Public Law 107-243), and require the orderly withdrawal of the United States Armed Forces from Iraq.

The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the exclusive power to wage war [even though it's taking a House bill to remind us--ed.]

President Bush seems to feel otherwise, and is moving rapidly to consolidate his control over our military.

He told CBS 60 Minutes regarding his planned troop escalation, "I fully understand they could try to stop me from doing it. But I've made my decision. And we're going forward.”

The President’s bold attempt to usurp congressional war-making power was defended by Vice President Cheney, who said, “The president is the commander in chief. He's the one who has to make these tough decisions," adding that any planned congressional votes were non-binding and, “would not affect Bush's ability to carry out his policies.”

David Brownlow, Constitution Party of Oregon Vice Chairman, said, “This attempted power grab by the President poses a far greater threat to our freedom than that posed by any of the world’s (other) despots. It is time for Congress to reign in this rogue administration.“

Brownlow continued, “Every American should take a moment to read the original congressional abdication of power called the ‘Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002’. It is deeply troubling that those we have entrusted to lead us could show such a callous disregard for the rule of law and the separation of powers that they swore to uphold. They broke it -- now they need to fix it! The immediate enactment of H.R. 413 is an essential step in restoring congressional control over our military.”

Unlike the 2002 resolution that launched what could be the greatest strategic disaster in our nation’s history, the repeal is concise and to the point.

In just two paragraphs, H.R. 413 repeals President Bush’s military usurpation of 2002, and calls for the orderly withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.
Interesting typo or mistake in the use of the word "reign." I think they mean "rein" as in to hold back or pull back, but Congress should reign, too, in this struggle against an executive gone wild. And heck with the grammar, can anyone who is realistic enough to see this is a war gone off the rails under a President out of control, not be supportive of the OCP here?

This is an excellent opportunity to form a coalition with those others who prize the freedom-loving parts of the Constitution, so join their call and tell your Representatives to sign on to 413. Good luck trying; who knows what mountains it might move and so it's worth it, but it's a bold step in this still-timid Beltway climate. It's very on-the-ball for the OCP leadership to be quoting advance from Sunday's Bush interview with 60 Minutes; I saw the parts they described and was floored as well. "Did he just openly defy the will of Congress?" I asked Mrs. Joe. ("Yes, dear. {sigh}")

I'm hoping the same reaction to the interview--in which Bush looked battered and dazed by questions like Gerry Cooney after a doubleheader--held sway in 535 specific living rooms or Congressional offices; being a bully to his own party may be all he has left, but it's a risky strategy and it may result in more GOP breakaways, not fewer. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, too. If it weren't leading to a Constitutional crisis and risking the lives of Americans and Iraqis, I'd really be enjoying this humiliating de-pantsing of the Emperor. But I feel more like the kid whose dad has passed out at the wheel, and is rapidly finding no options beyond yanking the wheel away and turning at the last minute.