In an attempt to clear up any misunderstanding about the authority to commit forces to war, Senator Kaine has joined with Senator McCain (R-AZ) to offer legislation that will establish a process to ensure the judicious application of military force. Yesterday's participation in the Richmond Times Dispatch Public Square series was part of Senator Kaine's effort to gather "comments, suggestions, criticisms..." in a strategy to shape and craft the bill.
Tacitly, President Bush followed the requirements of the War Powers Act, a law passed in 1973 following the frustration over the prosecution of the Viet Nam War. That was designed to rein in the initiative of any President using military force but written with both Johnson and Nixon in mind. Johnson had the support of a Congress that never imagined the scope of involvement that would precipitate. Then Nixon attacked two countries, Laos and Cambodia, without consulting Congress. To be honest, no President went as far as Bush to conform to the letter of the War Powers Act. The others managed to avoid anything more than consulting with Congressional leadership and always went on their merry way. However, the fact that George Bush appealed for authority may be more revealing about how thin he knew his justification was and that he needed cover rather than indicating sincere regard for the law. Plus the timing of the request appears suspiciously politically motivated.
Further, the authorization that Congress gave President Bush has no sunset or clearly defined achievable objective. As long as it remains in effect, Presidents can and will chase any remnant or offshoot of al Qaida's ghost, real or imagined, while waving the authorization as justification for centuries to come. So, even if you argue that he and his successor have acted under the authority of the War Powers Act, you observe the same result that arose before the Act, different day: war(s) with a scope never imagined when authorized, being fought in second, third (fourth, fifth...) party countries. Senator Kaine's obsession with the subject is more than justified.
Anyway, since there's a big Teapublican't Presidential debate tonight, I thought that Blue Virginia readers might be interested in Cucci-cuckoo's take on the candidates. The entire thing's on the "flip," but here are a few highlights -- the world according to Kookinelli!
*"Bachmann and Cain answered the best in my view, demonstrating an internalization of first principles that, frankly, I expect from these candidates."
*"Bachmann presents well, though as a lawyer I continue to take exception with her unsupported statement that an individual mandate by a state (e.g., Massachusetts) would be unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution."
*"A political concern I have here is that [Bachmann's] conclusion isn't so much a legal one, but is an over-the-top play for tea party support."
*"Romney was clearer on his points than Paul, while Paul demonstrated a passionate commitment to the importance of first principles in governance."
*"I couldn't help noticing that from the moment [Gingrich] was walking out, he was very lackadaisical in his personal presentation. He was intellectually engaging but did not have the presence of either Bachmann or Cain before him, nor Romney after him."
*"Ron Paul suffered from a similarly non-Presidential presentation as Gingrich..."
*"Last of the evening was Romney, and after much reflection, I think he clearly outshined the other candidates, though not in all respects...presidential as usual without being haughty..."
So, there you have it, radical right-wingnut Ken Cuckoo-cinelli's take on the radical right-wingnut Republicans (Romney being the exception; I'd say he's more of a mainstream or even liberal Republican, having signed universal healthcare with an individual mandate into law in Massachusetts, which makes it even more striking that Kookinelli seems to favor him) who are running for President right now. Has anyone ever heard of a high-ranking Virginia official putting something like this out publicly? What, is Kookinelli auditioning to succeed Larry Sabato or something, when we finally boot him out of Virginia government? Who knows, but it sure is entertaining (kind of a brain teaser) to listen to his strange ramblings and try to make sense of them!