In the Democratic presidential field there are really only three adults in the room: Bill Richards, Joe Biden, and begrudgingly, Hillary Clinton. If one of those three should happen to win at least I wouldn’t fear that the government didn’t have at its head an ill-prepared incompetent (cough, Obama, cough Edwards). Sure, I’d disagree with every one of them, but at least those three are qualified.
That’s why it disturbs me when someone like Joe Biden says something so mind-blogglingly stupid:
Presidential hopeful Delaware Sen. Joe Biden stated unequivocally that he will move to impeach President Bush if he bombs Iran without Congressional approval.
Agree or disagree with such an action all you want, please tell me what law he would violate if the President were to order bombing of a nearly complete nuclear reactor a la Osirak?
I’ll help you with the answer: none. Congress already gave George W. Bush–and every other president–authorization to bomb Iraq when it passed the War Powers Act in 1973. That law gives the President full authority to conduct military action for 60 days. After that time he has to inform Congress (but not have to get their approval) in order to extend action for another 30 days. Joe Biden should know all this–he voted for it.*
Clearly what Biden is advocating is impeachment, not for “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but for political differences. Further proof that talk of impeachment is all about politics was Biden’s answer to an audience member who asked why not impeach the President now: “If you’re going to impeach George Bush, you better impeach Cheney first.” Why? If it’s about actual criminal conduct, what’s his crime? It’s all about getting the other party out of the way–the Constitution be damned.
Whether or not you would agree with a hypothetical decision to bomb Iran, impeachment over policy is a horrible precedent. And if I were a Democrat who thought that my party was on the verge of taking back the White House, that’s not a precedent I would welcome.
One other thing: I suppose that Biden’s careless talk of impeachment is proof enough that, even as he campaigns for President himself, he doesn’t ever see himself in the White House.
*I’m searching for the source for that roll call vote–help anyone?–but since the War Powers Resolution was passed by a two-thirds majority over Republican President Nixon’s veto in 1973, I’m willing to bet you a beer that Joe Biden, then a freshman Democratic Senator, voted for the override.
Additionally, there is significant debate among Constitutional scholars that the War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional since it overly restricts the President’s executive authority.