Only if you take Donald Trump as legitimate does Courtney Lynch deserve any attention. Out of left field, a potential challenger to Governor Kaine appeared and the media, like a beagle, picked up the scent. But yesterday she took on a personality that Allen, Kaine, and Senator Webb avoid.
Tony Macrini gave Lynch her own lead until a caller provided the catalyst that sent this episode into a spiral. It might have gone there eventually. It was a welcome relief from the pablum delivered by the print media. Responding to a question about Libya, she looked back at a strategy abandoned by the Bush administration. Under the old construct, national strategic planning recognized the constraints of military resources (aka, reality). America always planned for two major contingencies with the approach of “Win-Hold-Win.” That meant that if there were simultaneous threats, resources would be dedicated to win one while holding the other at stasis. Then, upon the winning the one, turn our focus to the other. The idea was to avoid two stalemates, or worse, two simultaneous losses. It was a strategy employed for six decades. Lynch went on to comment that we have to look strong and hard at where we involve ourselves. For a glimmering nanosecond, one thought she was going somewhere with this line of discussion. Then she opined that:
Lynch: “…to protect the liberty and rights of innocent civilians as we are doing in Libya is consistent use of American armed forces. But I do believe we have to be careful…”
Macrini: “Ms Lynch, do you know for a fact that these people we are protecting in Libya are not al Qaida, they’re not terrorists, these rebels? Do you know for a fact that they’re innocent civilians we are protecting?”
Lynch: “I don’t know for a fact anything. I am not on the ground in Libya.”
Macrini: “All right. That’s what you said. That’s what you said. You didn’t know it for a fact; why’d you say it? You said we’re protecting the people in Libya.”
“I don’t know for a fact anything.” Not a good start. Macrini persisted, demanding to know if she believes that the action being taken in Libya is consistent with the War Powers Act; with Article I, Section 8; and that the President was justified in taking action. Lynch responded that we have to be careful. Suddenly she fully morphed into Chauncey Gardner, and all hope that there was any there, there, was washed clean away.
Macrini: “Was what he (Obama) did constitutional or unconstitutional?”
Lynch: “He did what Bush did in March of…”
Macrini: “That wasn’t the question. We’re talking about Obama. Bush is history. Obama’s now. Is what he’s doing constitutional or unconstitutional?”
Lynch: “What he’s dong right now is constitutional.”
Macrini: “How so? Give me the warrant and sanction in the constitution.”
Lynch: (laughs) “Give you the warrant and sanction in the constitution…”
Macrini: “Yeah. Give me the warrant and sanction. Article I, Section 8: Congress has the power to declare war. The War Powers Act from 1973: there has to be an immediate threat to the United States. Would you say those two qualifications were justified…that they were satisfied?”
Lynch: “What you’re citing is the Tonkin Gulf resolution. If you know the Tonkin Gulf resolution, it’s actually…the Tonkin Gulf resolution has been used as precedence for more Presidents in the last 12 years, to instigate preemptive strikes than any of the facts of the constitution.”
Macrini: “That’s right. So you are saying that the Tonkin Gulf resolution supersedes and hierarchically is more important than the constitution?”
Lynch: “It’s…it’s a law passed by Congress.”
Clearly, Lynch was not prepared to go off script from her initial press release that focused on mundane issues that appeal to a broad constituency.
Macrini: “Here’s the question: The United States attacked a country that did nothing to us, to protect people we don’t know who they are, and in your opinion, running for Senator from Virginia, you think we are justified in doing that?”
Lynch: “I’m not running for Senate from Virginia.”
Macrini: “Do you think we’re justified in doing that?”
Lynch: “I believe that actions that are being taken are certainly consistent with our laws but are we justified in doing that? I’m not boots on the ground in Libya. I’m not close enough to those decisions…”
Macrini: “It’s justified in your eyes, as a lawyer, trained at William and Mary. It’s justified in the War Powers Act and the Constitution?”
Macrini: “How so? Where? Put your finger on the sanction.”
Lynch: “I’m putting my finger on it as strongly as I can, Tony.”
Macrini: “I don’t see it…”
In there may be the essence: “I’m not running for Senate from Virginia.” Just what is Lynch doing? There is a video she posted on YouTube. There are articles in The Cavalier Daily (maybe the best of the print media), the Richmond Times Dispatch, The News Virginian, and others following up on her press release. Possibly this is shameless self-promotion. Maybe what many believe Donald Trump is doing is the currency of the moment. After all, Lynch is a self-proclaimed small business person with an interest in promoting her own persona. But Goldman believes Trump is serious, so should we consider Lynch too?
Her positions seem more like those taken by a candidate for city council or state legislature. Lynch’s platform focuses on job creation in addition to education and transportation. It may be a convenient vehicle for promoting her business. She raises diversity but defines diversity, like everything else, in the broadest terms. David Cantanese of Politico called her a “bright eyed idealist. Huh? This is idealism?
She has been quoted as saying that when she began making overtures to Virginia Democratic party officials about a Senate bid, her inquiries were met with polite dismissiveness. Why didn’t they invite her to start with something a little less ambitious? Wait, Virginia Democrats handle something delicately? effectively?
But at the least Lynch has provided a vehicle to critically consider the Libyan adventure. And Tim Kaine could have fared no better in this confrontation. So maybe Courtney is just as legitimate as Trump and Kaine after all.