In 2007, Sen. Barack Obama said, “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.” Oh, what a difference a few years and sitting in the Oval Office make.
Of course, I never expected Obama to show true fidelity to the Constitution—he campaigned on a platform of nationalized health care, after all. But now that he’s been president for a little over two years, I wonder what Sen. Obama would say to President Obama about his recent unilateral military intervention in Libya. Call me cynical, but I highly doubt the real Obama is such a contradiction. I’ve held for some time that he doesn’t have any real principles, that is, unless political opportunism to gain power can be considered a principle. So perhaps Sen. Obama would say to President Obama: “Well done. You got elected.”
However, let’s entertain for a moment that Obama actually believes what he says. Either he’s forgotten about his firm stance on following the Constitution when it comes to waging war, or he’s exposed himself as a hypocrite. This wouldn’t be the first time, after all. Remember presidential candidate Obama? He expressed in a debate with Hillary Clinton his opposition to an individual mandate to purchase health insurance—and now, well, we all know how that turned out. Americans have been literally sold to health insurance companies by President Obama’s party and his pen. Two federal judges have already ruled this mandate unconstitutional, and it’s expected that the U.S. Supreme Court will follow suit sometime next year (we hope).
Back to thinking about Libya, I can’t help but call Obama a hypocrite on foreign policy. He pounded George W. Bush throughout his campaign regarding the Iraq War, promising a drastic change from his predecessor. While I have now come to believe that the Iraq War is unconstitutional—I’ll write about this sometime in the near future—at least Bush sought some form of congressional authorization. Obama has gone directly over Congress’ head and intervened somewhere that “does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” For someone who railed against a former president for waging war unilaterally and arguably won an election on this platform, I’m at a loss over how to reconcile two distinct politicians who just so happen to live in the same body.
In a war pitting Obama vs. Obama, truth is the greatest casualty.
Josh Mesker is a contributor to The Arkansas Patriot & The Liberty Bell. As a policy analyst for a non-profit organization in Little Rock, he specializes in research, public relations and media communications. Check out his tweets.