Tuesday, July 7, 2009

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Senate

With the clock running out on a new US-Russian arms treaty before the previous Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, expires on December 5, a senior White House official said Sunday said that the difficulty of the task might mean temporarily bypassing the Senate’s constitutional role in ratifying treaties by enforcing certain aspects of a new deal on an executive levels and a “provisional basis” until the Senate ratifies the treaty.

Whoa…isn’t this the president who gave George W. Bush SUCH a hard time about Presidential Signing Statements, before he fell in love with them? Now, suddenly, it’s – hey, I’m Barack Obama, and I won; I don’t have to follow the constitution! I don’t even need that Senate!

President Clinton once said, “flick of the wrist, law of the land; pretty cool.” But even he understood that, umm…as Glenn says, if you bypass the Senate, it's not a treaty.

Wishing not to oversnark, Glenn writes:

A President can, of course, abide by a treaty even if it’s not ratified, so long as he’s not asserting any binding effect on parties not under his supervision, which is likely the case here. Still, it’s of a piece with the “it’s a rush, we don’t have time for the formalities” approach that this Administration has favored.

Emphasis mine, because it is so true: everything Obama does is hasty, rushed and performed under a big, flashing red sign that screams, “emergency; no time to discuss, no time to read, no time for bothersome procedure…just do what I want, and trust me, we’ll be fine…three minutes to critical mass…”

I can only imagine the guttural sounds of outrage that would be coming from the press and the left if Dubya had tried this.

Ed Morrissey wonders why this president needs to strongarm on this: “…how many seats in the Senate does Obama’s party hold? Isn’t it 60? If Obama is simply moving forward with a straightforward, supportable treaty with Russia to reduce nuclear stockpiles in an effective verification system, why couldn’t he get a quick ratification?

Well, that is, if the deal actually does put in place an effective verification system and doesn’t amount to a de facto unilateral disarmament. With exactly five months to win Senate approval, the effort by the Obama White House in floating this idea now makes it sound like Obama wants to give away the store in order to score some points with his 1980s no-nukes agenda. And as much as the Democrats howled over the supposed devotion of George Bush to a “unitary executive,” Obama seems to have no trouble bypassing the check on executive power for treaty negotiation written explicitly into the Constitution, in Article II, Section 2.


James' Muse July 7, 2009 at 1:58 PM  

Wow. This is ridiculous. I hope this gets out more.

I had many problems with Bush for the same things: overreaching of the executive branch. Too much power in the hands of one man is not good. I thought we left the monarchy 233 years ago?

Chuck July 7, 2009 at 5:47 PM  

Agreed, this is pissing on the Constitution.

The real question though is why can't they get it done in 6 months?

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