by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
British prime minister David Cameron has recalled Parliament from summer vacation for a special session on Thursday, where there will be “a clear government motion and vote on the United Kingdom’s response to chemical weapons attacks,” Cameron promised on Twitter.
President Obama has a different view. The U.S. government’s Voice of America reports: “Pressed about calls for congressional authorization, White House spokesman Jay Carney Tuesday indicated the president believes consulting with congressional leaders is enough.”
Oh my, how liberals have learned to love the imperial presidency they used to so scorn when Richard Nixon or George W. Bush was in office. …
… President Obama, who taught about the separation of powers at the University of Chicago Law School, was quite clear on abuses of executive power when he ran for president in 2008.
“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” he told the Boston Globe in a candidate questionnaire in late 2007. He added that the president can only act unilaterally in “instances of self-defense.”
Vice President Joe Biden, now a cheerleader for an immediate strike against Syria, used to feel the same way. “The president has no constitutional authority to take this nation to war . . . unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked,” Biden said in 2007.
Republican congressman Tom McClintock of California says that both Obama and Biden were right back when they didn’t control the Pentagon. “The president’s authority as commander-in-chief to order a military attack on a foreign government is implicitly limited by the Constitution to repelling an attack,” he said in a statement.