08 June 2011

John McCain's contempt for the rule of law

Buried deep in George Will's excellent excoriation of President Obama's handling of the Libyan conflict is this remarkable quote from John McCain:

“No president has ever recognized the constitutionality of the War Powers Act, and neither do I. So I don’t feel bound by any deadline.”

McCain was referring to the provision of the WPA that mandates that, if the president does not seek a congressional declaration of war and initiates a conflict abroad, he must provide an explanation of his actions to Congress within 90 days.

Even coming from a man who picked Sarah Palin as his running mate and recently called the Libyan jihadists "my heroes," this is perhaps the most absurd thing McCain has ever said or done.

I wasn't aware that the Constitution -- which specifically endows Congress with the right to declare war -- shields the president from the application of a law if the president or his lackey Congress decides not to "recognize" it. Perhaps the senator would be kind enough to advise us of the constitutional provision upon which he relies.

An avowed opponent of "judicial activism," McCain's position on the WPA is particularly outrageous because -- in McCain's view -- the legislature and the president alone determine the laws that apply and those that don't. McCain urges a sort of extra-judicial congressional activism that is unprecedented and is probably the most extreme theory of checks and balances I've ever read. Under this twisted logic, we may as well scrap the federal judiciary.

On the other hand, McCain's solution is always "more troops" or "more war," so the fact that he isn't bothered by an illegal, unconstitutional war launched in a country where America has no strategic interest at stake isn't surprising.

McCain has an unquenchable, self-righteous thirst for war, which causes him to demand that American troops fight and die solely to fulfill his own lust for foreign adventurism and so he is able to grandstand against "isolationists" on the Senate floor. Perhaps McCain is now coming around to his old rival Obama, who obviously shares his desire for pointless, illegal interventionism abroad and his utter contempt for the rule of law.

From a strictly foreign policy perspective, McCain may well have turned out to be the most destructive president since Woodrow Wilson. Perhaps his 2008 defeat was a blessing in disguise.

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