It's Only a "Power Grab" if There's Actual Power to Grab

Andrew Sullivan on President Obama's speech this afternoon:

To launch a war on these grounds is to set a precedent that would require a kind of global power and reach that not even the most righteous neocons have pushed for. [...]

The proper response to this presidential power-grab is a Congressional vote - as soon as possible.

I understand Sullivan's outrage about Obama's use of military force without explicit congressional authorization, but it seems a little besides the point. Presidents have long conducted military action without explicit permission from Congress (see: Kosovo), and Congress has been more than happy to abdicate its responsibility when it comes to the conduct of military force, and foreign affairs more generally.

For all of the consternation he's received for simply announcing our intervention in Libya, Obama is -- more or less -- acting within the bounds defined by thirty years of presidential leadership and the concurrent absence of Congressional leadership. In other words, to be surprised by Obama's unilateral intervention in Libya is to willfully ignore every development in the expansion of executive power since Ronald Reagan.

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