In case you haven’t heard, Tom Woods and Mark Levin are debating, though on their on webpages, the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s intervention in Libya. Woods argues that the intervention is contrary to the intent of the Founding Fathers, while Levin - ever the neo-conservative - cites prior precedent and funding for general security purposes as some sort of tacit authority for the president to go to war whenever he feels like it.
Woods, who took apart Levin’s arguments one by one, challenged the talk radio host to find one Founding Father to that supported going to war without the approval of Congress, which is clearly laid out in Article I of the Constitution. He didn’t, but he did resort to ad hominem attacks against Woods and libertarians.
After Levin posted his most recent response, Wood shot back:
So Mark Levin has responded to my challenge today. Did he find a Federalist who agrees with him that a president can launch a non-defensive war without consulting congress? I was a real sport — I let him look through the ratifying conventions of every single state, and I also let him cite public lectures or newspaper articles. Really anything at all. Did he find someone, anyone?
Of course not. Instead, he pretends I am too stupid to understand his position: “I’ve explained my position on radio, on Fox, and on this site. I think it is extremely wise for a president to consult with Congress (well, not all 535 members but members in leadership positions) before launching non-defensive military actions for both policy and political reasons. In fact, most presidents claim to have done so in one form or another respecting most military operations. I cannot imagine any Federalist would have argued against a president consulting with Congress.”
And I’m the one changing the subject? This is beyond belief.
Mark, the point is not and has never been whether it is wise for the president to consult Congress. The point is whether he is allowed to conduct offensive operations without consulting them. That is your position.
And I have shown that there is zero — ZERO — evidence that the Constitution allows this. Levin’s ham-handed evasion of my challenge has only amplified my point. I am changing the subject, he says. Well, let’s let the whole world look at what we’ve written — all of which I link to in my piece today — and they may decide for themselves who is addressing the issue and who is running away from it. Levin’s position is that the president may launch offensive operations without consulting Congress. I deny that this was any part of the original constitutional intent. That is the entirety of the disagreement between us. Whether it would be nice for the president to consult Congress, whether it’s practical for him to do so, etc., are entirely irrelevant to a discussion of this specific issue. Those are forms of evasion, as even Levin’s own followers are capable of seeing.
Jack Hunter also weighed in on the debate between Woods and Levin, noting that neo-conservative views of Levin don’t in anyway mesh with the vision laid out by the Founding Father when it comes to engaging in military action: