Nov 30th, 2011
by F. Grey Parker (still not detained... for the time being)
NDAA now that the Levin/McCain provisions have withstood Sen. Mark Udall's challenge? This is the question. He should. Then again, there are lots of things he hasn't done that he should have.
There are also lots of things he hasn't done that he said he would have.
For as much time as I have spent pushing back against what I call the Other Obama Derangement Syndrome, the nearly irrational liberal opposition, I am not exactly confident.
As has been pointed out, this is not a right or left issue. It is one thing to argue tax or social policy from aisle to aisle. That's a debate over issues of Constitutional interpretation. It is quite another thing to vote in direct contravention to what the Constitution flatly and plainly delineates.
Some Republicans are demonstrating tremendous bravery bucking their party's nearly unanimous support of the controversial measures. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), much as it pains me to say it, is doing a tremendous service to the nation fighting for what is right. In fact, even more than Sen. Udall, he has been the most eloquent voice.
Sen. Paul is absolutely correct. The provisions are "dangerously vague." It is, apparently, a lonely thing to be principled above party. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) was the only other Republican to vote in favor of the Udall amendment. The stunning number of supposed "liberals" that voted against them reveals much.
Some citizens are still holding out hope that one of a number of other amendments might succeed where Udall's failed. I wouldn't recommend that anybody hold their breath waiting for that to happen. Even if one should succeed, it's no real victory. As the conservative website Tennessee Campaign For Liberty notes, "none of them completely eliminate the Constitutionally offensive section."
And, it is offensive. And, it is dangerous.
Which brings us back to the President.
This is the President who closed Gitmo... except he didn't.
This is the President who passed universal healthcare... except he didn't.
This is the President who got us out of Iraq... except, again, he didn't.
Now, President Obama has "threatened" to veto the bill if it contains this dangerous redefinition of previously guaranteed Constitutional protections.
This is really, perhaps, the final straw.
Any issue which is of such desperate importance that it can form alliances between men like myself and Sen. Rand Paul, not mention the heroically consistent young Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, with whom I would otherwise be at loggerheads, should be viewed as a watershed moment.
If we all agree, then perhaps we have a point. No?
For the first time heading into 2012, I have a litmus by which I will test my President; Should he fail us on this matter, I will not cast my ballot for him.
If respectable partisan enemies can have them, so too should he.