Good Buchanan, Bad Buchanan. Sometimes it's hard to believe the same guy said both things

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 04:58 PM

Pat Buchanan can say some of the dumbest things in the world, followed in short order by something very articulate and insightful.  I used to think that which Pat you got depended on whether he was thinking with his brain or his bible.  But this food Pat-bad Pat example doesn't seem to have anything to do with the bible.

The bad Pat
On television over the weekend, he took Patrick Fitzgerald to task for leaving Libby/Rove "dangling" for so long, claiming it was time for Fitzgerald to "fish or cut bait."  He couldn't seem to fathom that when you are part of the coverup that forces an investigator to keep hunting and pecking to find out what happened, you don't get to use the hunting and pecking delay as grounds for being cleared.

In short, if Libby or Rove or anyone else is getting tired of dangling, all they have to do is the one think this crowd can't seem to ever do: come clean on who did what, when and why.  Until then, they're obstructing the investigation, as Fitzgerald has pointed out ad nauseum.

The good Pat
In his Saturday column in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, he asks one of the most important questions for all of us right now:

Now that Congress is back from spring break and looking ahead to Memorial Day, July 4th, the August recess and adjournment early in October for elections, perhaps it can take up this question.

Does President Bush have, or not have, the authority to take us to war with Iran? Because Bush and the War Party are surely behaving as though this were an executive decision alone.
In all this hawk talk, something is missing. We are not told how many innocent Iranians we will have to kill as we go about smashing their nuclear program and defenses. Nor are we told how many more soldiers we will need for the neocons' new war, nor how long they will have to fight, nor how many more wings we should plan for at Walter Reed, nor when it will be over -- if ever.

Moreover, where does Bush get the authority to launch a war on a nation that has not attacked us?

If we sat by while Stalin got the bomb, and Mao got the bomb, and Kim Jong Il got the bomb, why is an Iranian bomb a threat to the United States, which possesses thousands?

There is a reason the Founding Fathers separated the power to conduct war from the power to declare it. The reason is just such a ruler as George W. Bush, a man possessed of an ideology and sense of mission that are not necessarily coterminous with what is best for his country. Under our Constitution, it is Congress, not the president, who decides on war.

Many Democrats now concede they failed the nation when they took Bush at his word that Iraq was an intolerable threat that could be dealt with only by an invasion. Now, Bush and the War Party are telling us the same thing about Iran. And the Congress is conducting itself in the same contemptible and cowardly way.

It is time for Congress to tell President Bush directly that he has no authority to go to war on Iran and to launch such a war would be an impeachable offense. Or, if they so conclude, Congress should share full responsibility by granting him that authority after it has held hearings and told the people why we have no other choice than another Mideast war with a nation four times as large as Iraq.

If Congress lacks the courage to do its constitutional duty, it should stop whining about imperial presidents. Because, like the Roman Senate of Caesar's time, it will have invited them and it will deserve them.

[Unrelated to anything, but this has bothered me for an awfully long time: Does anyone on earth have a less sincere laugh than Pat Buchanan?]