Saturday, August 31, 2013

The bar is once again raised for President Obama

When it comes to Syria, what we know at this point is that the Obama administration is making the case for the fact that the Assad regime is responsible for chemical weapons attacks on his own people and that they think a response is required. We're hearing a lot of chatter about what that response might be, but the administration has not publicly endorsed anything in particular.

But it seems that the conversation today is mostly about whether or not President Obama is constitutionally required to get approval from Congress for a military response. There is even talk about the idea that if he doesn't do so - it would be grounds for impeachment.

This is - once again - an example of raising the bar for this particular president (you can decide for yourself whether its because he happens to be black - but its certainly not an irrelevant question). Does anyone remember Reagan getting Congressional approval for the invasion of Grenada? Or Bush I getting it for the invasion of Panama? Or Clinton for the bombing of a factory in Sudan? I certainly don't. And while those actions were met with a fair amount of derision for various reasons, I also don't remember any talk of them being unconstitutional or resulting in impeachment hearings.

The truth is, as constitutional expert Stephen Vladeck said, "this is one of the more perversely gray areas of U.S. constitutional law.” Those making definitive statements about the constitutional requirement for Congressional approval for military strikes against Syria are simply playing the same game they've played over and over again with this president...holding him to a different standard than those (white guys) who preceded him.


  1. Refresh my memory, please. Did he seek or get Congressional approval for the action in Libya? I honestly don't recall.

  2. I wonder if this place is worth the investment sometimes.



    "I doubt many will say the audience deserved it. I doubt they will quote Dave or say that he warned the audience. That he began to discuss a larger, historical issue: the Black entertainer and White consumption.
    I’m writing this to be fair: it needs to be written, it needs to be read. It needs to be understood.
    Dave Chappelle walked off stage tonight and Black people understand why.
    Being in that crowd, a sea of drunk White male faces and seeing Chappelle sit there and be jeered at made me uncomfortable. Heckling isn’t uncommon for comedians but often when a comedian as famous as Chappelle puts their foot down, it is usually respected.
    While the racial makeup of the crowd was incidental, the way they treated Chappelle is not. It speaks to a long complicated history: the relationship between the White audience and the Black entertainer. This is a relationship you can easily trace to early minstrel shows, to archetypes of Blacks that still define the roles we’re offered today. We have seen more Black comedians bow to racist tropes, demean themselves—albeit unintentionally—for White audiences.
    Chappelle wasn’t having a meltdown. This was a Black artist shrugging the weight of White consumption, deciding when enough was enough. This isn’t the first time Chappelle has done so and it isn’t the first time his behavior has been characterized as a meltdown.
    There is a long history of asking African-Americans to endure racism silently; it’s characterized as grace, as strength. Chappelle’s Connecticut audience, made up of largely young White males, demanded a shuck and jive. Men who seemed to have missed the fine satire of the Chappelle show demanded he do characters who, out of the context of the show look more like more racist tropes, than mockery of America’s belief in them.
    When he expressed shock at the fact that he’d sat there and been yelled at for so long, people yelled that they'd paid him. They felt paying for a show meant they could verbally harass him, direct him in any tone of voice, as though they’d bought him."

    Read more at EBONY
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  4. On many days, I suspect the President feels the urge to just sit down, and watch the heckling crowd for a good long time - Stand up, and walk off the stage.....


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