Replacing one war-happy President with another?

I’m often told by conservatives that in 2012, they would support literally anyone but Obama.  The basic suggestion is that Obama is so terrible, that a sack of oats would do a better job (Oats/Barley 2012!).  By not pledging my undying support for whomever the GOP nominates, then, I am in effect endorsing Obama.  Of course, many of these conservatives would change their tune if it were Ron Paul against Obama, but that’s not the important fact here.  What matters is the idea that any of the primary candidates would be better than the incumbent.

One of these wannabes is Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota.  While governor, Pawlenty established a fairly decent record.  There are a number of things that make him preferable in my eyes to his principle opponent, Mitt Romney.  Leaving aside his often infuriating pandering to social conservatives, Pawlenty, at least up to this point, has been one of the few mainstream candidates that I could find myself able to support.

But some comments he made on Tuesday have caused me to seriously question this position.  In speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations, Pawlenty continued what has become a very alarming tendency to embrace the same reckless hawkishness that many conservatives have found themselves criticizing in Obama.  Perhaps the most troubling quote from the speech is the suggestion that he would only consult Congress as a “courtesy” when engaging in war overseas.  This is a position that makes him even more dangerous than Bush or Obama.

Quite simply, that’s not how things work, and it’s scary that we’ve gotten to the point where any serious contender would be so brazen as to say that consulting with Congress over military action would be a mere “courtesy”.  It is a bald-faced rejection of the way the Constitution set things up and a very dangerous mindset in an executive.  It has been one of the most damning qualities of the Obama administration and is something that any limited government advocate should surely reject if they are being consistent and sincere.

Yet we will will hear again and again that we should ignore these unpleasant facts, and sign up to be a loyal elephant even if it means replacing one President who wages illegal wars with another who does the same.  I just can’t buy into that mindset.  Call me an idealist, but can we please have a President who will not start wars against countries that pose us no threat?  Is that really too much to ask?

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