Earlier this week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), son of former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), slammed over the measures President Barack Obama planned to take in what the White House claimed was an effort to curb violence.
During the interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Sen. Paul explained, “I’m against having a king,” adding that a president who creates law by executive fiat is runs counter to the government formed by the Founding Fathers. “I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress — that’s someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch.”
Sen. Paul warned that the White House would have a fight on his hands if he signed any executive orders that bypassed Congress. On Thursday, the day after President Obama’s press conference where he announced that he would sign 23 executive orders dealing with guns, Sen. Paul announced that he would introduce legislation to protect the Second Amendment from executive fiat:
As published by Talking Points Memo, here are his intentions in what he calls the “Separation of Powers Restoration and Second Amendment Protection Act.”
Paul says his legislation will declare that “Any executive order by President Obama infringing on the Second Amendment rights of all Americans would be declared null and void” and “would prohibit federal funds to implement President Obama’s executive orders impacting the 2nd Amendment.”
Flanked by children during a press conference earlier today, President Barack Obama introduced a series of executive orders — completely bypassing Congress — that he says will reduce gun violence in the United States:
President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced what he called a “common sense measures” plan to reduce gun violence, including legislation for a universal background check and new bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
He also initiated 23 executive actions aimed at improving background checks, school security and mental health care, in an effort to go around Congress wherever possible.
“I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality,” Obama said in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, joined by survivors of gun violence and several children who had written to him after the December shooting in Newtown, Conn. “If there’s even one thing that we can do to reduce this violence, if there’s even one life that can be saved, then we have an obligation to try. And I’m going to do my part.”
President Obama also on Congress to pass other measures, including the assault weapons ban and limited magazines to 10 rounds. All of the measures — executive orders and the legislation that will be introduced in Congress — have been outlined in a document from the White House, which you can read here.
Note: This is part two of a three-part series that will cover reasons that a voter may choose to support a specific presidential candidate. Part 3 for Gary Johnson will be online tomorrow. Part 1 for Mitt Romney is available here.
I never thought I’d be writing a post of reasons why someone should vote for Barack Obama, but I’ve given it some thought and have found that even though Obama has zero chance of getting my vote in November, there are some reasons voting for him might make sense. He won’t get my vote, but maybe he’s the guy for you. Here are some reasons you might want to vote for him.
You believe a Democrat victory is all that matters.
If you think Democrats are generally “for the people” and that Republicans are generally “against the people,” you’re wrong. (They’re both usually against the people.) But if you think that the Democrats are the good guys, you don’t have much of a decision to make. Vote Obama, and hope for the best.
You want division between the executive and legislative branches of government.
If the latter years of the Bush presidency proved anything, it’s that leaving one party in charge of the House, Senate, and White House is a recipe for runaway government. The GOP is going to keep the House in November and is expected to gain good ground in the Senate. If Obama is pushing for big government, Republicans will oppose it; but if Romney is pushing big government, Republicans will (for the most part) be cheering him all the way. Dividing government is a sure way to stall the erosion of freedom.
You and Obama are the same color.
So Senator Mitch McConnell has released a “solution” to the debt ceiling crisis. Jason has already jumped on this topic, but I feel the need to add my own two cents. For me, the crucial portion of this non-solution is that it gives additional power to the White House, and perpetuates a seeming tradition of Congress abdicating responsibility that we’ve seen over the past decade.
The entire deal punts the debt and spending over to the President. Essentially, he decides to raise the debt limit. While Congress can pass a “bill of disapproval” with a two-thirds majority, the President can simply veto, which would then require a 2/3 vote to override. The plan would also require the President to make spending cuts roughly equal to the increase in the debt limit (as I understand it.) Yet there is no enforcement mechanism that I can see to ensure he does so. What would Congress do if he raised the debt limit with no corresponding cut in spending? Stamp their feet? It might be all they can do.
Haven’t we seen enough power consolidated in the Oval Office yet?
I mean, the President can assassinate people with a drone without so much as a whoopsie-daisy; have anyone imprisoned on suspicion of terrorism and interrogated; can have a lovely jaunt off to war and only send Congress a politely-worded letter; formulate budgets and tax policy while merely requesting Congressional approval; through executive agencies and department make and enforce law without a vote; and now we’re going to give him the power to unilaterally raise the debt limit with requirements that are so wishy-washy they make Natty Light look good?
In what was likely one of the most anticipated speeches of the weekend, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who raised concerns about President Barack Obama’s drones policy last Wednesday during a 13-hour filibuster, offered conservatives a new brand of conservatism.
Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” played as Sen. Paul took the podium in an electric atmosphere where half the auidence was standing as a nod to the #StandWithRand theme. He noted that he only had 10 minutes to speak. “But just in case, I brought 13 hours worth of information,” Sen. Paul said as he held up two large binders to rousing applause. “I also came with a message for the President. A message that is loud and clear. A message that doesn’t mince words,” he added.
“Don’t drone me, bro!” someone shouted from the audience Before he went back into his speech, Sen. Paul replied, “Thats not exatly what I was thinking. However, I may have distilled my 13-hour speech into three words.”
“The message to the President is that no one person gets decide the law. No one person gets to decide your guilt or innocence,” he said. “My question to the President was about more than just killing American citizens on American soil. My question was about presidential power has limits.”
Sen. Paul hit on President Obama’s civil liberties record. “If we destroy our enemy but lose what defines our freedom in the process, have we really won,” he asked. “If we allow one man to charge Americans as enemy combatants and indefinitely detain or drone them, then what exactly is it that our brave young men and women are fighting for?”
If you want to get a feel for what the Republican establishment is thinking, you only need to read Jennifer Rubin, who runs the Washington Post’s “Right Turn” blog. With Sen. Rand Paul’s profile on the rise thanks to his 13-hour filibuster, Rubin took a shot at his foreign policy views:
There will be a long-coming debate on the right, and between right and left, on U.S. foreign policy in the post-9/11 and post-Arab Spring world. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) doesn’t like the word “isolationism,” but his policy choices (removing bases, bringing troops home, ending foreign aid) bear an uncanny resemblance to the foreign policy of those who, well, are isolationists.
I have written that his ideological partisans at the other end of the intervention/isolation spectrum have not done a bang-up job of justifying their views, formulating reasonable policies, or carving out a proper balance between the executive and legislative branches. This was of course greatly impeded by an Obama administration that is the least transparent in history and has a nasty habit of subsuming foreign policy to electoral politics.
The term “isolationist” is a pejorative used by neo-conservatives to scare Republican voters into giving them carte blanche to do pretty much whatever they want on foreign policy under the guise of the “war on terror.” But isolationism has two major components, neither of which apply to Sen. Paul.
While the Obama Administration making the claim that it has the power to use drones inside the United States to target and eliminate potential threats, a Fox News poll released on Monday shows that Americans are not at all comfortable with this prospect:
The poll finds that 32 percent of voters think that yes, the president should be able to authorize the use of deadly force domestically against an American terrorist. Still, about twice that many — 63 percent — disagree and want checks on the president.
Again, agreement is bipartisan, as most Republicans (70 percent) and independents (70 percent) and a majority of Democrats (54 percent) oppose the president having the sole power under these conditions.
There were actually two different questions in regard to President Obama and drone strikes, one of which was a general question about the policy. The other was a more specific question about giving the power to determine who should be target to the president.
Here are the two questions:
- Do you approve or disapprove of the United States using unmanned aircraft called drones to kill a suspected terrorist who is a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil?
- Do you think the president of the United States, on his own, should be able to authorize the use of deadly force, such as a drone strike, to kill a suspected terrorist who is a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil?
On the first question, the divide wasn’t that wide. According the poll, 45% — including 44% of Democrats and 47% of Republicans — approve of using drones to kill an American citizen suspected terrorism inside the United States. Only 50% disapprove.
“I blame Congress more than the President because we really have not brought the issue before Congress as to whether or not the President should or should not have so much authority.” — Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) on executive power
There aren’t many in Congress who are willing to take strong stands against bad policies no matter who is sitting in the White House. Democrats were once strongly supportive of civil liberties, but now that President Obama is in the White House, there is little criticism to be found. And while expansive executive power and an aggressive foreign policy were popular during the Bush Administration, Obama’s expansion of these policies have started a conversation amongst conservatives.
Yesterday, I spoke with Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican who represents North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, about President Obama’s State of the Union address, foreign policy, and executive power.
Rep. Jones, who has served in Congress since 1995, has been at the forefront of questioning foreign policies decisions made by previous and current administrations. While he expressed disappointment that Obama didn’t talk in detail about the deficit, Rep. Jones explained that he was happy with the annoucement that 34,000 troops would be coming home from Afghanistan.
With President Obama set to issue a series of executive orders today dealing with guns, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is speaking out against what is a clear overreach of power. During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Sen. Paul explained that President Obama is behaving like a king, which is exactly what the Founding Fathers fought against.
“I’m against having a king,” said Sen. Paul. “I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress — that’s someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch.”
While President Obama thinks he’s getting around Congress with these executive orders, Sen. Paul warned, “[W]e will fight tooth and nail; and I promise you that there will be no rock left unturned as far as trying to stop him from usurping the Constitution, running roughshod over Congress, and you will see one heck of a debate if he decides to try to do this.”
Consistency matters, folks. When George W. Bush was in office, there were near endless complaints from the Left as civil liberties were being diminished and executive power was being strengthened, far beyond what our Founding Fathers had ever intended. The complaints make against Bush were well-founded at the time. However, since Barack Obama has been running the show, we’ve heard nary a peep out of those same people. Apparently, civil liberties are only abused when the president has an “R” next to his name. Or something.
Interestingly, The New York Times recently noted that President Obama was worried that the expansion of executive power undertaken during his first term — including the targeted killing of American citizens — would fall into Republican hands:
Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.
“There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity. With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Mr. Obama did not want to leave an “amorphous” program to his successor, the official said. The effort, which would have been rushed to completion by January had Mr. Romney won, will now be finished at a more leisurely pace, the official said.
Mr. Obama himself, in little-noticed remarks, has acknowledged that the legal governance of drone strikes is still a work in progress.