Last week Kentucky Senator Rand Paul took on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid head on. Paul proposed a “Sense of the Senate” amendment to a pre-existing bill. It would force the Senate to vote on which Obama they agreed with. Our current president who went to war with Libya without going to congress for a declaration of war or even an authorization for military action, or candidate Obama who said this about the war powers of the President:
“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.”
The amendment was non-binding and really would change nothing, at the same time, it meant everything. It was a chance to expose hypocrisy on both sides of the isle. Fearing that his fellow Democrats would be required to vote on the amendment, even a vote to table the amendment to get rid of it without debate, Harry Reid adjourned the Senate early on Thursday and would not reconvene until Monday.
In response, on Friday, Senators Paul and Mike Lee of Utah sent a Dear Colleague letter to Reid stating in part:
Voting for whether or not to send our sons and daughters to war is the most important and most difficult decision we should ever make as a nation and as senators. We do not take this responsibility lightly, and we believe the Senate is abdicating its responsibility at this very moment.
The bombing and military action against the Libyan government will be two weeks old by the time we return to session next week. That means congressional debate on this war is two weeks overdue.
Establishing whether the President has the constitutional power to attack another country without congressional authority is the most important issue we can discuss given the President’s recent actions. I implore our Senate leadership to make this a priority before we continue work on other matters in the chamber.
Eventually on Tuesday, Reid called for a vote for a procedural maneuver to table the bill, to essentially get rid of it without debate or direct vote. Reid’s motion passed overwhelmingly 90-10. Those voting with Paul were: Susan Collins (Maine), Jim DeMint (S.C.), John Ensign(Nev.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Pat Toomey (Pa.).
What amazes me is what that means our Iowa Senators Grassley and Harkin and 88 other Senators have essentially voted for. They have voted to not debate our war in Libya, to allow President Obama to continue to make war without authority, and to continue to put our nation’s sons and daughters in harms way without input from their representatives.
This reveals the hypocrisy on both sides of the isle. Anti-war Democrats voted to continue to allow a President to unilaterally take this nation to war, to expand our empire, as long as it is their “team” doing it. And Constitution-loving Republicans voted to continue to abdicate their constitutional responsibility and allow a President to go to war without authority as long as their military industrial complex donors are satisfied. Remember this as you see those same members speaking against the Libyan war in the media, it is all a joke, when it is time to get down to business they are hypocrites.
It is no wonder Rand Paul is considered a “tea party favorite”, he is certainly taking on the establishment in Washington. It is then not surprising when many begin to look to him as a possible candidate for President, to bring some real change to the white house.