There were supposed to be a number of important votes coming up in the Senate this week, but news from those august halls suddenly dried up on Thursday. Why? Because Rand Paul backed Harry Reid into a corner and forced him to adjourn the Senate.
Paul (R-KY) did this by simply adding a teeny tiny little amendment to a bill. It was one of those “sense of the Senate” deals, where no binding legislation is involved – it’s just the Senate declaring that it has a strong opinion about something.
What, pray tell, did this devastating amendment contain? As related by Robert Costa at National Review, it “chastises President Obama for his actions in Libya” by quoting the President’s now-infamous remarks on the Constitutional authority for making war from 2007:
“The President does not have the 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.”
This is monstrously unfair to President Obama, who had no idea Rand Paul would be paying attention to what he said back in 2007. I mean, Dr. Paul was running an ophthalmology clinic back in 2007. He shouldn’t have been listening to the strong and unambiguous statements of lackluster back-bench Senators who are supposedly Constitutional scholars, holding forth about the limits of presidential power. He should have been spending his time forcing people to pretend they can read the bottom line on eye charts.
The fun part of the story is that Paul’s amendment completely blew the mind of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who Costa explains “does not want his members to have to weigh in on Obama’s dusty quote about congressional authority, even if the vote is only to table the measure.”
Paul got into a floor argument with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who is even dimmer than Harry Reid, and therefore even funnier when he gets his dander up. Explaining why it was perfectly legal for Obama to blast away in Libya without Congressional authorization, Durbin insisted that “circumstances moved so quickly, with human life hanging in the balance, the president made that decisions and now stands with the American people making judgment as to whether it was the proper decision to make.”
What? Did anyone else find anything even vaguely resembling a response to Rand Paul’s criticism (well, actually, the criticism he borrowed from Barack Obama) in that mush?
One of the distinguishing features of the Constitution is that it talks about Americans, and does not grant broad exceptions to its requirements when foreign lives are “hanging in the balance.” It also doesn’t make exceptions for people from certain political parties, dissolve in the face of United Nations edicts, or melt before the passion of government officials who care an awful lot about a particular issue.
Watching liberals tie themselves into knots justifying Obama’s transformation into a cowboy neocon warmonger is almost as entertaining as watching the Senate Majority Leader run away from Rand Paul, who crashed the Senate by asking it to declare which Barack Obama it agreed with.