And one New York congressman actually stood up on the House floor and called his president a monarch in the making as far as his bombing adventure is concerned. Gerry Nadler, whose district includes the 9/11 site, has been anti-war since Vietnam, when he worked on Gene McCarthy's 1968 campaign. (another one of those dreaded "spoilers"). He is also disgusted with Obama's bait and switch Afghanistan withdrawal plan, and wants the troops brought home -- now. He pointed out, rightly, that each executive administration has given more and more power to successive presidents. Obama seems to believe that he is Commander in Chief of the entire country, when the Constitution merely makes him commander in chief of the armed forces. He actually does still work for "the people" -- if only in theory.
And then, inexplicably, the House voted to pay for the war it just said was illegal. Never mind.
Of course, the ruling class Democrats in the Senate want to bomb Libya for a whole year more, if necessary, so the House voting on the fact that they hated Obama going behind their backs was purely symbolic anyway. You have to love the message it's sending Obama, though, as he campaigned at this week's factory. How ironic that his latest factory makes robotics. How refreshing that at least 70 House Democrats are not pure robots, but bona fide androids with just a touch of humanity still left in their carcasses.
This has nothing and everything to do with Republicans. Of course the Republicans voted against authorizing Obama to bomb Libya for all the wrong reasons. If it had been one of their own in the Oval Office, they would have been urging him to invade a dozen more countries and given him a blank check. Of course it was the Republicans who cheer-led the Iraq War and bankrupted the country.
But they are the known lunatics and the Democrats are supposedly the sane ones -- although by compromising with the GOP on the budget, they're just enabling and colluding with the insanity. The two parties we have now are the John Birch Society and the Reagan Republicans. Either Democrats have to start acting like Democrats again after a 50-year hiatus, or the whole party should just implode and allow a new liberal/labor/progressive party to emerge from the ruins. Right now there is only one Democrat in the Senate, and his name is Bernie Sanders. And he calls himself a socialist.
Michele Bachmann and her ilk could never have risen to national prominence were it not for the big Democratic sellout. The vacuum created by the inaction of the so-called liberal class on jobs, the continued bankrupting wars, the deregulation of Wall Street, the infusion of corporate money into national elections, the corporatization of the mass media and the killing of the Fairness Doctrine have left a citizenry so devoid of hope that it creates the perfect atmosphere for the rise of a theocratic demagogue like Bachmann.
Obama, from his waffling on Afghanistan, his capitulation in the name of bipartisanhip to Republicans, his dithering on immigration reform and DREAM Act amnesty, his failure to appoint Elizabeth Warren and protect consumers, his release of oil reserves for pure political expediency, his groveling to Wall Street --is about one thing: his own re-election. We have to stop looking to him, or the plutocratic millionaire-bloated Senate, for any leadership. We should instead concentrate on voting for representation on the local and state and Congressional levels -- and continuing to organize as progressive groups and to speak out as individuals.
Holding Republican nutjobs up to the ridicule and blame they so richly deserve is fine, but it isn't enough. Not by a long shot.
**Update 6/25: Some writers are pointing out that the vote against defunding the war was actually a vote against a sneaky provision in it, thus absolving the Congresspeople who voted against authorizing the war and then seemingly doing an about-face. Glenn Greenwald writes in his Salon column today:
That was the reason so many anti-war members of Congress -- including dozens of progressives -- rejected the "de-funding" bill despite opposition to the war in Libya: because it was a disguised authorization for a war they oppose, not because they cowardly failed to check executive power abuses. As Rogin reports, "there were more than enough lawmakers to pass" a true de-funding bill, but GOP leaders -- who have been protecting Obama on Libya from the start -- did not bring that to the floor.That's the whole trouble with so much of the legislation being voted on these days: the bills are riddles wrapped in secrecy surrounded by enigmas. Half the Congresspeople probably didn't even realize what they were voting for. Some voted against both measures, some voted for, and some split the difference. Where was House Speaker Boehner in all this? Probably canoodling with Obama. He was not present to vote on the Libya bills yesterday.