President Obama’s intervention in Libya—pardon me, “NATO’s” intervention in Libya—has become a moment of reflection for conservatives. Whereas the Right gave the last Republican president carte blanche on foreign policy despite cries from the Left about abuse of power, many conservatives now mimic those complaints by demanding that our current Democratic president follow the rule of law.
The Libyan intervention Obama promised would last only “days, not weeks” has now lasted over two months—a direct violation of the War Powers Resolution which requires the President to get Congressional authority for such action after 60 days. Writes conservative columnist George Will: “The U.S. intervention in Libya’s civil war, intervention that began with a surplus of confusion about capabilities and a shortage of candor about objectives, is now taking a toll on the rule of law.”
Will isn’t alone in his concern. While the establishment centrists of both the Democratic and Republican leadership continue to shield Obama from the rule of law, some of the loudest demands that this war president be held accountable continue to come from the Right.
In the Senate, some of that body’s most conservative members—Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, Tom Coburn and John Cornyn—were co-signers of a May 18 letter to Obama insisting that the President respect the War Powers Resolution and rule of law. Needless to say, Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and “maverick” Republican John McCain vocally disagree with these conservative senators.
In the Republican-controlled House, Speaker John Boehner…
If Americans needed another reminder of why the Democratic Party is absolutely worthless, they got it during last week’s Patriot Act extension debate when Senate Majority leader Harry Reid again behaved exactly like the Bush-era Republicans he once vigorously opposed. In 2005, Reid bragged to fellow Democrats, “We killed the Patriot Act.” Today, Reid says that anyone who opposes the Patriot Act might be responsible for the killing of Americans. Dick Cheney now hears an echo and Americans deserve congressional hearings—as to whether Harry Reid is a sociopath, mere liar, or both.
But while Democrats stand pat for Bush Republicanism, the GOP now debates the extent to which it will remain the party of Dubya. Tea Party favorites like Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee and Congressmen Ron Paul, Justin Amash, Allen West and others, all voted against the Patriot Act. To varying degrees, each of these GOP representatives questioned the act’s effectiveness and legality. But unfortunately, most Republicans still won’t ask any questions.
The “War on Terror” that defined and preoccupied Republicans during the Bush era brought with it not only massive government growth and debt, but an unprecedented expansion of extra-constitutional state power, symbolized most famously by the Patriot Act. In the name of national security, government officials could begin wiretapping phones, hacking into email accounts, prying into business records and spying on citizens—all without a warrant and at government officials’ own discretion. Defenders say the Patriot Act did what needed to be done…
When President Obama said last week that Israel should return to its pre-1967 borders, Benjamin Netanyahu declared “Israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967.” Israel’s Prime Minister was clearly not pleased.
But perhaps even more perturbed was the American Right, with the potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates offering the following reactions: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Obama’s Israeli-Palestinian policy a “disaster.” Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said “President Obama has thrown Israel under the bus.” Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann said that America would be “cursed” by God if it “rejected” Israel. A critical Sarah Palin even advised Obama to read the Old Testament.
Congressman Ron Paul was also critical of Obama’s Israel policy, but from a different perspective: “While President Obama’s demand that Israel make hard concessions in her border conflicts may very well be in her long-term interest, only Israel can make that determination on her own, without pressure from the United States or coercion by the United Nations. Unlike this President, I do not believe it is our place to dictate how Israel runs her affairs.”
Paul added, “We should respect Israel’s sovereignty and not try to dictate her policy from Washington.”
This is not the first time Paul has taken this position.
When Israel attacked a nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981 almost the entire US Congress voted to condemn the act, but Congressman Paul was one of the few Republicans who stood up and said Israel should not have to answer to…