Nancy Pelosi, Speaker in Chief

“The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States”

“He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur”
Article II Section 2, The U.S. Constitution

“The Congress shall have power to declare war”
Article I Section 8, The U.S. Constitution

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker in Chief
By: Joe Leonardi

The Democrats in the House, led by Speaker Pelosi, are attempting a coup d’état by trying to wrestle control of the Armed Forces from the President. Okay, perhaps I am seriously overstating — alright I am flat out stretching, but still and all the Speaker and key Democrats are trying to lay the ground work for the cessation of U.S. involvement in Iraq.

There is one major stumbling block, no where in the U.S. Constitution are there any provisions for the House to be involved in the process of concluding a war. As quoted above, the Senate is obligated to offer advise and consent on any treaty, but not the House of Representatives and most certainly not the Speaker.

Speaker Pelosi has outlined a plan for withdrawal. In my opinion this blueprint for exit is very much a treaty. The platform contains certain terms, if these terms are or aren’t met, consequences are imposed. This is all well and good, however, the Speaker nor any member of the House lacks constitutional authority to make such a proposal. The treaty process is to be handled by the President and the Senate. Usually this process begins in the executive branch, but the term is “advise and consent” so I would not see a problem with a Senate initiated overture.

I am well aware there is a cry for us to get out of Iraq. I am one who is of the strong opinion we had no business going there in the first place. Unfortunately the Congress, in an act of legislative malpractice, authorized the President carte blanche in Iraq. One of the stated purposes of the act they passed is, “promote the emergence of a democratic government.” Now that this is being attempted the Congress wants to stop. Granted many of those in Congress now, were not there when the resolution was passed, but none the less this open ended authority was debated, voted on and passed by the Congress. It is the President’s, with Senate’s advice and consent, Constitutional responsibility to negotiate a way out, not the House and not Speaker Pelosi. Madame Speaker, your profile and publicity aside, you have no Constitutional role in this process.

I find the timing of the proposed benchmarks and corresponding dates extremely interesting. It seems a little, let me get the right word — political.

According to reports, either we are going to be out by the end of this year or by September of 2008. I find it intriguing that those dates seem to coincide with the beginning of the primary season and just prior to the November presidential election.

Am I the only person outside the beltway who is fed up with being treated like a slow-witted oaf!?

This conspicuous politicalization of our troops makes me irate. If the Congress is in general agreement and strong in their conviction that the war should end now, they need to exercise their sole Constitutional authority and snip the purse strings. Stop these spineless, grandstanding “non-binding resolutions” and halt the money. I’m not saying this is the answer, however this is their only Constitutional option.

It is easy to sit here and criticize, especially when this war and subsequent occupation were so poorly managed, but we must respect our Constitution. This incredible document is the foundation of our government. This marvel of democracy has withstood the test of time — it has repelled many attempts to ignore and abuse it. Now, in this time of crisis and unrest, we must return to our Founding Father’s brilliance and re-read the Constitution, follow it and respect it.

Joe Leonardi

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7 Comments

Filed under Congress, Conservative, Election, Iraq, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, The House, War

7 responses to “Nancy Pelosi, Speaker in Chief

  1. See, and here I agree a bit and disagree a bit, Doc.

    First of all, no one declared war, and following your logic, congress shouldn’t have any part in giving the president authority anyway, right? He ought to just be able to do whatever he wants with the Army of the US, him being the commander in chief and all.

    Second, everyone is politicizing the troops. Ever see how President Bush and Dick Cheney talk about people who don’t support the Iraq invasion and occupation? They say they are hurting the troops, thereby using said troops in order to gain political capital and moral high ground over their opponents. Sure sounds like politicization to me.

    On the “establishing democracy” thing, we’ve done that. I remember all the touting of the elections in the last year, and about how we’ve established a free government there for the first time in blah blah blah….

    And who’s going to get us out of Iraq, if not the people assigned and elected to oversee the president? The congress is not, as the GOP would like, now that it is not in their control, an appendage. It is one of the three _equal_ branches of government.

    Someone needs to reign this stuff in, Doc, and it’s not going to be dubya. He has no interest in finishing this war on his watch, as he said publicly. He’s counting on whichever Democrat we elect in 2008 to clean it up for him.

    IMHO, of course.
    ~A!

  2. Hi Anthony,

    Just to clarify, I think it is 100% up to the Congress to give the President the authority, the legislative malpractice I refer to is:

    1- not delcaring war
    2- giving the President the blank check

    Thank you for the comment and keep up the dialogue.

    Joe

  3. I will have to disagree on the theme that Congress did not declare war. True, the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002” never used the term ‘war’, but the title, alone, stated the case.

    I am a Conservative in the same stripe of Ronald Reagan, but if we’re going to get down parsing words over ‘whether the authorization of military force means war or not’, we’ll never accomplish a damn thing.

  4. Hi Charlie,

    Welcome to the site. I have to strongly disagree with “parsing words”. I have been a broadcaster, editor and of course Congressional Candidate. To me words mean things and one of the problems we have in discourse is not using the appropriate terms, words or phrases. There are a myriad of reasons why administrations since WWII have not asked for formal declarations of war. I feel it is important to get back to Constitutional basics.

    Thank you for the comment and keep up the dialogue.

    Joe

    PS I have added you to my blogroll

  5. Charlie,

    You make a good point about semantics, but the distinction is there. Congress authorized the use of force understanding, as the president said, that it would be used as a last resort.

    Instead, the authorization was used as a preordained measure to attack a country that, it turned out later, was no threat at all to us at home.

    Had the investigations into whether or not Iraq possessed WMDs been honest and thorough, we would never have invaded.

    And who are we at war with now, if Saddam is dead, and we are indeed at war, though the US has not declared war on anyone?

    ~A!

  6. Ruth Ann Mersino

    Dear Nancy–we have been watching the progress of the Democrats in congress–there are 3 things my husband and I want to relate to you all–
    1. Keep fighting back when they slam you–expose the lies! They are liers and cheats–that’s why we voted you people in–the truth has to be brought out over and over to thwart the lies that they tell “over and over”. that whole bunch should be impeached!!!!!!!!!
    2. Recind those tax rebaits and breaks that George gave the top 1% wealthy!
    3. Recind the appalling drug bill that gives cartblanche to the drug companies! Matter of fact, the rest of the country should be put on the same health benefits that the house and senate people are on–let’s get real and fair with everyone–not just the privileged.
    Oh, and stop anyone from touching or taking money out of the Social Security fund.
    These are the basic themes everyone should be focusing on–and–soon they will be exposed!
    Regards,
    Ruth Ann and Stan Mersino, Kingston, Michigan

  7. Hi Ruth and Stan

    Thank you for your post, however, I only have one question, if you feel that the President has violated his oath of office and the constitution; is another constitutional over reach appropriate? Do two rights make a wrong?

    Thank you for the Comment and
    Keep up the Dialogue

    Joe

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