Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Remember when we warned Democrats about executive powers and orders?

As we get ready for a Trump presidency, Democrats are coming to terms with a couple of realities:
First, those pollsters got it wrong didn’t they; and
Second, will President Trump act unilaterally like President Obama did?.    
We remember many pundits saying that the Democrats will some day regret that they let President Obama do so much on his own, from going around Congress on ObamaCare and immigration to dropping bombs here and there.    
What can I say?  “Some day” starts next January 20th. I can’t wait for the Democrats to suddenly discover constitutional powers and states’ rights.
President Trump will inherit a presidency with expanded powers, as we see from Josh Lederman:
After eight years as a wartime president, Barack Obama is handing his successor an expansive interpretation of the commander in chief’s authority to wage war around the globe. And that reading has continued to grow even as Obama prepares to pass control to Donald Trump.
In his final weeks in office, Obama has broadened the legal scope of the war on extremism, the White House confirmed Monday, as it acknowledged for the first that the administration now asserts it is legally justified to take on the extremist group al-Shabab in Somalia.
The determination is based on an expanded application of a 9/11-era use of force authorization, a statute Obama has repeatedly leaned on to justify military operations. That rationale has raised concerns about how Trump might use Obama’s precedent to justify other overseas entanglements — without consulting Congress.
The White House staunchly defends Obama’s use of military power, arguing in a detailed report Monday that all operations have been firmly grounded in domestic and international law. White House counsel Neil Eggleston called the report — the first of its kind — a demonstration of how Obama has ensured “that all U.S. national security operations are conducted within a legal and policy framework that is lawful, effective and consistent with our national interests and values.”
Yet the report, which Obama said should be updated annually, also reveals how his administration has relied overwhelmingly on the 2001 authorization, which even Obama acknowledges is outdated.
Though the law’s targets were al-Qaida and the Taliban, a clause in the bill includes “associated forces” of al-Qaida, in Afghanistan or beyond. That clause is now being used as a catch-all for military action in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Libya, the report shows, plus the basing of U.S. troops in other countries.
Let’s party like it’s 2001?
At the same time, President Bush did go to Congress in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  
To be fair, I supported those actions except for Libya where we operated on the basis of a UN Resolution. No U.S. soldier should ever serve anywhere unless he is put there by a decision of a president.
It would be wise for President Trump to visit with Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and draft a new war resolution that addresses the challenges we face today. It would be good to have a debate on the floor again on these actions 15 years after 9-11.
Who would have believed this when they were chanting “yes we can” at the Democrat convention in 2008? Wonder how many in the cheering crowd thought that “the constitutional professor” would leave office without closing GITMO and assume that he could start wars anywhere simply by calling it “terrorism”?
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