This has been bouncing around over the weekend, but somehow I missed it until now. Presidential candidate Barack Obama, December 2007:
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.
As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.
So Obama agrees with Dennis Kucinich that his authorization of military action against Libya was unconstitutional. Presumably he disagrees with Kucinich’s suggestion that he should therefore be impeached.
Still, as we have noted a couple of times, it is very odd that Obama did not seek Congressional approval of the Libya mission. He certainly could have gotten it. And Obama’s statement that “military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch” is one with which most people–George W. Bush, for example–would agree. So why did Obama launch a military action under circumstances that he himself describes as unconstitutional and unwise?
Maybe he just couldn’t be bothered. One gets the feeling that Obama doesn’t want to invest any more time or energy than necessary in his presidential duties (as opposed to his presidential perks). Otherwise, I’m stumped.