President Obama steered the United States into an undeclared war with Libya.
The president did not respect the Constitution, which requires that wars be declared by Congress.
And, now, two months into the fight, the president is not respecting the War Powers Act, which requires clear consultation with Congress.
You would think that would get Republican leaders in the House angry. After all, they seem to be mad about everything Obama does.
But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Friday engineered a power play that prevented congressional checking and balancing of the president on his Libya mission.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, had proposed legislation that would force the president to end the mission within 15 days. And a lot of anti-war Democrats and old-school, anti-interventionist Republicans (as well as some new-school "Obama-can-do-no-right" partisans) were sympathetic — maybe even enough to pass a measure with teeth in it.
So Boehner stepped in with a watered-down resolution — repeating last week’s House charge to keep ground troops out of the conflict — that allowed members to poke at Obama but that does not begin to impose a serious congressional check and balance on executive branch warmaking.
The debate was intense, and the mood uncertain.
Boehner urged Republicans to oppose the Kucinich resolution. But some key Republicans announced they were backing the Ohio Democrat’s resolution because it was the one "with teeth in it."
Here is the message Kucinich dispatched to his colleagues:
"You will be asked to vote on two resolutions; H.Con.Res. 51 and a resolution offered by Speaker Boehner, H.Res. 292, both of which address U.S. military involvement in Libya. While H.Res. 292 is not at odds with H.Con.Res.51, it is not a substitute for my resolution and does not have anywhere near the same impact. There are clear differences and it is imperative that members clearly understand them because a consequence of voting for one (H.Res. 292) and not the other (H.Con.Res. 51) is an endorsement of the illegal and unconstitutional action that has been taken by the White House.
"How do we deal with the failure of a President to adhere to the Constitution? If Congress does not challenge a President’s dismissal of the clear meaning of Article 1, Section 8, then we will have tacitly endorsed a President’s violation of the Constitution and guaranteed the perpetuation of future constitutional transgressions. A mild rebuke alone of the usurpation of a constitutionally mandated war power is insufficient to defend the Constitution.