Monday, June 18, 2012

Elsewhere: Scandals, Romney's Iran, Health Care

First up: at Salon, I had a column over the weekend about the unusually intense dead zone we're in now, and why it's a ready-made trap for reporters -- leaning on Brendan Nyhan's research on the press and scandals.

My PP post today was about the long-term electoral effects of health care reform. Short term, as I say over there, I'm not convinced that whatever the Court will do matter much this year.

And at Plum Line, I talked about Mitt Romney's claim that the US could not "survive" a nuclear Iran.

A couple comments about that last one. First, when I blog over at the Post, there's usually a time lag between when I write and when it gets published...usually doesn't matter at all, but in this case between when I wrote it and when it went live there were a bunch of comments about what Romney said. I was able to get a quick update to Greg with a couple of them -- just to link again, Dan Larison, who was harsher than I was,  and Andrew Sullivan, who compared Romney to Cheney -- but there's also a larger point that was raised by them and by Conor Friedersdorf that I should say something about, as long as I'm on the topic. That's the other part of what Romney said, which was about Congressional authorization for military action.

I think I've written about this before, but not recently. Basically, I agree with a lot of what Kevin Drum said today. First, that small-scale presidential actions without Congressional authorization are really not much of a big deal; and second, that the real fault here is with Congress, and not the president. There's more, but I guess I'll save it for a proper post later. Anyway, as Drum said, Congress is perfectly free to pull the plug on any foreign misadventure at any time. Worth noting.


  1. First, I'm a well-known Congress patriot so take this with a grain of salt.

    I agree that Congress has the means and to shut down any war rather quickly if they desire to. With one caveat: they should normatively be able to do so with a bare majority vote of both chambers. Allowing the President to make war without authorization should not be coupled with allowing him to continue wars by vetoing the defunding bills that Congress would need to use to stop said war.

    I think this is true generally as a principle, and it's why I support sunsets for all congressional statutory grants of power to the executive: so that power can be taken way by majority, rather than 2/3 supermajority. Lacking that, you end up with a ratcheting-up effect and a spiral of executive power.

    Just something I'd like you to consider when you write your longer post.

  2. "Perfectly free"? Perhaps, "legally" free might be a better description?


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