Is Obama Embracing Unconstitutional Powers?

A recent Hill article on Libya reveals the administration's disturbing disdain for checks on presidential authority

Thursday's Hill newspaper story on the White House's new Libya War is one for the history books. It is probably the most concise summation of two of the most powerful post-9/11 tropes in our politics.

First and foremost, as my colleague Glenn Greenwald deftly shows, it exemplifies the unprincipled, hyper-partisan nature of our public policy discourse, to the point where on the gravest matters of war and peace, professional politicians and activists are thrilled to use the same jeremiads they previously criticized once it is in their momentary self-interest to do so.

But that's not all that this article so perfectly captures. In quoting the Obama administration's petulant criticism of Congress, it gives us a candid-camera snapshot of the executive branch's Kingly Presumption of blatantly unconstitutional authority. Here's what I mean (emphasis mine):

President Obama and his aides appear increasingly angered by threats from Congress over the president's authority to intervene in Libya.

Both in remarks the president made during his address on Afghanistan Wednesday night and in comments made by senior administration officials, the White House is losing patience with Congress...

One senior administration official, on a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, seemed even more angered by the defunding threats from both sides of the aisle.

"And I think, astoundingly, there is a move in the House of Representatives to take an effort as it relates to the ongoing effort to stop a tyrant in Libya and to turn it into a political football in such a way here as to give, at a critical time -- potentially send a very negative signal to the leadership of that country, which, as we all know, has over the course of time carried out hateful and heinous attacks against U.S. citizens, including terrorist attacks."

Read the rest here.

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