CNN, Iran, Republicans and Ron Paul

For everything else about the candidate, he’s absolutely right about war. How sad that this is would even stand out.

In the recent Republican debate, candidates were asked about the President ordering strikes on Iran without authorization from congress:

The other topic that sparked fireworks was a provocative, albeit hypothetical, point of constitutional interpretation — would the U.S. president need Congress’ permission before launching an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities?

That’s bad reporting on CNN’s part. “hypothetical”? Bush has plans drawn up and the propaganda organ of the war machine in full gear.

Romney busts out of the gate with this bit of idiocy:

Responding first, Romney said as president, “you sit down with your attorneys” to determine whether such authorization is needed, but he said, “Obviously, the president of the United States has to do what’s in the best interest of the United States to protect us against a potential threat.”

He was immediately and forcefully shut down by Ron Paul:

Romney’s answer drew an incredulous retort from Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who said the president would “absolutely” need Congress’ OK before striking Iran.

“This idea of going and talking to attorneys totally baffles me. Why don’t we just open up the Constitution and read it?” Paul said. “You’re not allowed to go to war without a declaration of war.”

This didn’t stop the rest of the candidates from joining in with Romney:

However, the panel’s general consensus was that the president should be able to launch an attack without authorization if the circumstances called for immediate action, but that he or she should go to Congress if time permits.

Wow. In a time crunch? Then the constitution no longer applies. Imagine one of those clowns in office during a natural disaster, with Bush and the rubber stamp congress’s lovechild: martial law decreed by the President. Would you trust any of them with that power?

“If you have a very narrow window to hit a target, the president’s going to have to take that on his shoulders,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter of California. “He has the right to do that under the Constitution as the commander in chief.”

He is command in chief of the military, not the country. We are in charge of him. And we give authorization for war through the Congress. The President has no such right.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona agreed that a president would have to move on a threat requiring immediate action, but “if it’s a long series of buildups, where the threat becomes greater and greater, of course you want to go to Congress.”

McCain added, somewhat cryptically, “I believe that this is a possibility that is maybe closer to reality than we are discussing tonight.”

McCain is going with the “emergency zomg!” argument. But look at that last line. He’s being a creepy old man with insider political knowledge. Sometimes I love having this guy still involved in the debates. This line is only cryptic in the context of this article, the same one that suggests unauthorized strikes by the President are “hypothetical”. McCain was being uncharacteristically straight with the viewing public.

We should really be paying attention. With the exception of Ron Paul, every Republican candidate up there basically said the constitution can be disregarded in times of war with a shallow and obvious misinterpretation biased towards their own desire to conflate blood lust with strength.

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25 Responses

  1. Part of the problem is that the traitorous Supreme Court has essentially sanctioned wholesale ignorance of the Constitution by constantly “interpreting” it the way it has over the years. That’s the Paulian/Clarence Thomasian argument, of course – RTFM, you idiots, or do you suggest Jefferson/Madison et al. were just randomly stringing words together?

    So, yeah, technically in a time of war, the President can pretty much suspend anything he wants (CF Lincoln, FDR, yadda). Unfortunate. Because now the Executive has defined every day as war – it’s a war on drugs, it’s a war on poverty, it’s a war on terrorism – and this is what results.

    But, you should be fair – Hillary and Edwards and even Obama at times have espoused very similar pro-war arguments for projecting, and at least continuing, Imperial military strength globally.

    We have been betrayed at all levels of the Federal government. If I had my way, the whole thing would be dissolved tomorrow, and the world would be infinitely better for it.

  2. There is much about Paul that I like, what you point out in this post being a good example, but I wish his support of constitution law was not influenced by his personal beliefs. For one, he opposes on principle the fed having broad power, yet he overlooks the established law of Roe v Wade to further his personal agenda against a woman’s right to abortion.

  3. Mirth,

    Your last sentence doesn’t seem to make any sense.

    As I understand Dr. Paul’s position:

    Ron Paul is against abortion.
    Ron Paul believes that life begins at conception.
    Ron Paul based on his medical practice believes that the unborn have already been recognized as having rights based on the fact that if he were to cause through malpractice the death of an unborn child, he could be held criminally or civilly liable.

    At the same time,

    Ron Paul is against the Federal Governement grabbing power over issues not authorized by the constitution.

    Ron Paul believes Roe should be nullified because he believes that the Federal Court should not have been involved in abortion because it is an issue that should be handled by the states.

  4. bret,
    Clarence Thomas and Ron Paul… in the same sentence… on law?

    None of the Democrats have come close to what the Republicans are tirelessly advocating for, save for Hillary. This is about trouncing congress and its constitutional role. Congress declares war. Just because one is in a war, doesn’t mean Congress loses this role. That would be a dangerous loophole. Then one war becomes the legal key to endless war.

    Way to throw the baby out with the bathwater on the federal government. The whole concept isn’t rotten because of this.

    Mirth,
    There is a lot about Ron Paul I dislike. His opposition to civil rights, gay rights, and reproductive rights, for example. Certainly in the later two cases, he allows his personal beliefs to cloud his judgment and his libertarian credentials. No self respecting libertarian would allow, never mind advocate for, the government to be able to limit sexual or reproductive freedom.

    But this debate was an example of why having his voice represented can be a great thing. What he said on Congress and the War really needed to be said.

  5. Todd,
    That is the same weak argument he pulls on gay rights and civil rights. I can easily see Ron Paul dismantling every level of protection afforded by the federal government, and happily watching some states take advantage of the power vacuum to abuse and restrict those same rights.

    If government shouldn’t intrude on a person’s sex life, it shouldn’t period, no matter what level of government we are talking about. There is nothing magical about a law protecting our privacy existing at the state level instead of the federal. The only difference is the number of people protected by that law.

  6. Fitness I must say to the;

    “he allows his personal beliefs to cloud his judgment” and “happily watching some states take advantage of the power vacuum to abuse and restrict those same rights”.

    You don’t approve of him I know but do really see so easily as you suggest that he is a tyrant? You are speaking of the actions of tyrannical rule are you not? How has his record in any way shown this level of disregard for the masses that you insinuate?
    I am concerned that people’s memories aren’t lasting from debate to debate. The topics in the debates are reportedly the topics that are vital to the country right? Of the topics discussed at the last election debates how many were actually addressed by the candidates (and winner) and were they handled as the then candidates/politicians spoke of handling them?
    Look at that data before you extol the virtues of who you may consider a worthy political candidate. This is a simple basic instinct that humans have but seem to ignore.
    On the other hand we have all the candidates from both sides that belong to the CFR out there to choose from.

  7. My simple instinct is applied to prior elections as well. Look at what the lying politician has to offer vs. what he will give you.

  8. Does anyone agree?

  9. It is amazing that some people don’t realize that other legal documents other than the constitution can apply. The War Powers Resolution written by the House and passed by the Senate detail that the President can perform a military action without direct Congressional approval, he should attempt to get it if possible but it is not required. In 1973, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution, which requires the president to obtain either a declaration of war or a resolution authorizing the use of force from Congress within 60 days of initiating hostilities. A single attack against a potential threat to the United States is an acceptable response that any president may make.

    War Powers Resolution
    Public Law 93-148
    93rd Congress, H. J. Res. 542
    November 7, 1973

  10. That law may be unconstitutional, as the Constitution reserves the power to declare war on the Congress. In any case, I think in light of recent events it should be revisited and revised (or destroyed all together).

  11. And to what threats are you speaking of Allan? It is very important to discern which threats the resolution has been applied to regarding the legitimacy of said threats. For all the times it has been invoked how many were imminent or potential or even likely at all. Pick three instances since WWII and look at the shroud of doubt that lingers over them. Look at the facts. I know you’ll be able to quote three but will you be able to confidently argue that they were as real as described by the, at that time, president’s intel? I’m thinking no….

  12. To fitness, Ron Paul is the only candidate who has ever provided an answer to end racism. He does not support gay rights, or civil rights; however, he is an avid defender of INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS. If all individual rights are given to every man, woman, and child, there is no longer a need for gay rights, minority rights, etc. Civil rights were initially given to minorities and women because there was a need to change the racism and bigotry that were denying people their rights. Continuing to give “special” rights to certain people after that is reverse racism and is unfair and unconstitutional. Minorities and Women are given their liberties and rights because they are individuals and Americans, not because they are a minority or a woman.

  13. Well said Jonathan. Fitness will tell you your argument is an old and tired one but you are right on….

  14. I’ve adopted a slogan for Ron Paul that I think is apt.

    “My candidate has 30 years of consistency to show, what’s yours got?”

    Unlike Hannitty’s ill conceived notion that Fox’s own polls are wrong and have been cheated, I feel the popular opinion is that Dr. Paul is at the very worst, the least harm to our country of the field of runners. Either side of the isle.

    I have to respect Ron Paul’s candor towards Hannity. He certainly handed him his hat though. Take a walk Shammitty your a disgrace to your field.

  15. If the national polls included him the results would be the same. Paul wins hands down vs. any of the lying asses from either party so they exclude him. Media bias needs to be addressed by the consumers.

  16. Here’s a new and improved look at the ACLU

    After all it is campaign season…

  17. […] going to tackle some really idiotic arguments.  The first comes from commenter Johnathan: To fitness, Ron Paul is the only candidate who has ever provided an answer to end racism. He does […]

  18. Michael D,
    Free speech is free speech, no matter how horrible it is. Otherwise what’s the meaning of it?

    Are you saying you oppose freedom of speech?

  19. Oh, I didn’t make the video I just wrote the lines….

  20. You linked to the video as “a new and improved look at the ACLU”.

    Are you saying you don’t agree with it?

  21. I agree that the ACLU is racist and ignorant to fight, as the video shows, for something no matter how absurd the topic is. Freedom of speech is limited to physicality. In other words, say what you want, but you cannot physically affect someone with your words. That’s where the line is smeared by the ACLU. Absolute protection is outside the realm of free speech application. NAMBLA is a good example of this. The right of NAMBLA to exist is non-existent because the premise is that they have the right to say whatever they want but they are talking about illegal activity (having sex with boys). So does that mean I can talk about killing someone because my right is protected by free speech?

  22. The ACLU is the furthest thing from racist. They simply act to protect our constitutional rights. You’d think someone who waves the constitution around so much would appreciate, not belittle this.

  23. Fitness,
    I never said that racism and bigotry is solved, but you have to admit that there has been great advances to stop it. As long as there are uneducated people in this country, which will always be true, then there will be racism. Martin Luther King Jr wanted a world in which race was not even looked at, where the color of your skin was not even considered. This is what Ron Paul has been trying to get across. As long as we look at people as “black” or “white” and grouping them like that, then we will never defeat racism, which is a form of collectivism. I do not understand your stubborn inability to even give him some credit. I’ve introduced several African Americans to Dr Paul, and not one of them has considered him to be racist after doing any decent research. Your reply is weak and apparently is not in line with many of African Americans. Why is Ron Paul recognized by the Rasmussen polls as the GOP candidate that polls better with African Americans? Why was he one of the only candidates who appeared on the PBS debate that mainly addressed the concerns with minorities? By the way, he defends the states control over this issue because the State government is much more receptive to the constituency, which would give minorities a much bigger voice along with everyone else. The federal legislature has an approval rating of 24% and the president has one of 29%. Why would you want to trust the government that obviously doesn’t listen to the people and is disliked by our country?

  24. Jonathan,
    There have indeed been great advances, and I anticipate more advances as society becomes more rational and compassionate.

    As long as there are uneducated people in this country, which will always be true, then there will be racism.

    I think more goes into it than this. Plenty of “well-educated” people are racist.

    Martin Luther King Jr wanted a world in which race was not even looked at, where the color of your skin was not even considered. This is what Ron Paul has been trying to get across. As long as we look at people as “black” or “white” and grouping them like that, then we will never defeat racism, which is a form of collectivism.

    Yet MLK supported affirmative action and like minded policies. Why? Because he recognized that being totally color blind left large groups of people out of luck, and out of a way “up”. It is absolutely the ideal to become color blind (and I think with economic indicators we can achieve more than with racial indicators), but it is not the reality.

    Besides, his opposition to the civil rights act is a perfect example of where he is wrong. Much of it included language to ensure rights weren’t being abused in certain southern states that were profoundly racist. Like voting rights. And every few years one of those states will attempt to pass laws restricting who can vote, or making it more difficult for minorities to vote. The problem the civil rights act was passed to solve is still very much an issue to be confronted.

    Why is Ron Paul recognized by the Rasmussen polls as the GOP candidate that polls better with African Americans?

    I hate polls, but if I had to guess, I’d say for the same reason he polls so well compared to other candidates. He appeals to the free market enthusiasts and conservative anti-war crowd.

    Again with the state vs fed, removing rights at the fed level is never a good thing. Removing restriction of rights is fine though.

  25. Depends on what you call educated. I don’t consider a degree as proof of how educated you are. Bush has received an excellent scholastic education, but calling him a well-rounded and educated man is a stretch of the imagination. Martin Luther King Jr supported AA during those times in order to overcome the overwhelming opposition to the civil rights movement (these policies are also indicators of his socialist leanings). I personally don’t believe that he would intend for it to last forever. It’s hard to have equality when you have special amendments that only apply to certain groups of people. The rights are guaranteed to every citizen by the constitution without the civil rights act, and in a perfect world they would be justly granted. I, like Dr. Paul, just believe that the civil rights act is repetitive and unnecessary. Do you honestly believe that he is trying to strip away rights of minority citizens? If so, then that is a personal attack that needs to be addressed with proof, otherwise it is just an opinion of yours. We speak on Dr. Paul’s consistency in his political career. That is easily shown with records of his congressional voting. This consistency suggests that he does have integrity, which is hard to come by in your average career politician. I’m not saying he’s perfect, or that I agree with everything. However, I do firmly believe that he is head and shoulders above his GOP and democratic competition.

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