"Because TARP so blatantly allows the federal government to overstep its bounds and do things that are clearly both unconstitutional and socialist -- namely prop up private business with taxpayers' money -- the TARP vote is rightly considered by many conservatives and libertarians as this generation's litmus test for fiscally conservative principles."
I'm curious as to why the author thinks that TARP is unconstitutional. The spending power of the Congress under Article I, Section 8, Clause I of the Constitution has long been held to be plenary. See, for example, the Supreme Court's holdings in United States v. Butler and South Dakota v. Doe. Further, the Commerce Clause, used to justify TARP, has been held by all of the Court over the years to allow for spending to advance an economic policy. Even the more recent cases of United States v. Lopez and United States v. Morrison, which placed some limits on Commerce Clause spending, would allow for such a purely economic basis for government spending.
In response to the above posting, it is worth noting that every living Republican secretary of state, from Henry Kissinger to Condileezza Rice, has urged the Senate to provide advice and consent for this treaty this year, largely because it will empower the United States to counter growing Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.
Concerning the Law of the Sea Treaty, I think it's worth mentioning that EVERY living Republican Secretary of State, from Henry Kissinger to Condoleezza Rice, supports ratification of the treaty. Ronald Reagan tasked one of the great conservative national security lawyers of his generation, John Norton Moore, to negotiate the treaty, and when it was complete, every Republican president has found its terms acceptable. Consider the current situation in the South China Sea. The United States cannot claim that China is in violation of a treaty that we ourselves have not ratified.
The Treaty has been endorsed by national security experts on both sides of the aisle, and is overwhelmingly supported by business interests, as it will provide for more certainty and predictability in maritime dispute resolution. The Law of the Sea Treaty is good policy.
To echo the comments above, I think it's worth noting that in the period between the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the ratification of the Constitution (1789) the United States weathered several rebellions, the Whiskey Rebellion and Shays' Rebellion among them.
I think you would be hard-pressed to find any historical example of a quick, bloodless transition from an authoritarian regime to a representative democracy that didn't involve years of uncertainty, military coups, or regression into authoritarianism before democracy took hold. The author of this editorial might be well-served by more historical perspective.
That being said, the Arab Spring, which the author discounts as as being "absurdly over-hyped," began with an act of self-immolation by a fruit vendor in Tunisia. Today, Tunisia is well on its way to becoming a functional, secular, and representative democracy.
I would tend to agree with the earlier comment. Why would the United States government go out of its way to provoke China, our largest trading partner, and a nation whose cooperation we desperately need in order to combat piracy and coerce North Korea into better behavior? Particularly when there was a face-saving option available. Secretary Clinton and the State Department, despite some missteps, did an admirable job of juggling our goal of advancing human rights with the equally iportant goal of maintaining relations with China. This op-ed seems biased and poorly reasoned.
Concerning our debt, the truth is significantly more nuanced than this author would have us believe. While China does hold substantial amounts of U.S. debt, any leverage they might gain from that is mitigated by the fact that inflating the U.S. currency would devalue their own cash reserves by an equal amount. They would, in effect, be shooting themselves in the foot. The author implies that this debt is the reason for the actions of the State Department. No evidence is offered for this proposition, and with good reason: it simply doesn't make any sense.
I found it interesting that Judge Phillips' language in her decision borrowed very heavily from President Truman's order to racially integrate the Armed Forces. Our nation was engaged in a particularly violent conflict in Korea at the time, in much the same way we are currently engaged, and many of the same arguments against repeal of DADT were made against integration, particularly with regard to readiness and soldiers' ability to work in a racially integrated environment.
President Truman was unconvinced by these arguments, and made a very unpopular choice, but a choice that history has vindicated. I hope that, despite the Obama administration's decision to appeal the injunction, we will soon see a final end to this discriminatory policy. As a veteran, I can tell you that while certain servicemembers will certainly not approve of homosexuality, our men and women in uniform will have absolutely no trouble at all executing their mission with homosexuals living openly among them.
A provision of the DREAM Act that I feel doesn't receive enough attention is the pathway to citizenship for immigrants serving in the Armed Forces. Several of the Marines I served with in Iraq entered into our nation illegally, and served with honor and distinction. I feel that our nation owes it to these young men and women to recognize honorable service in the military as a path to citizenship.
I think that a third category should be added to the disccusion.
After examining what is legal, and what is "right," I think that perhaps we should be asking ourselves, "What is best for our national security?"
Perceptions of the United States in the Muslim world have rarely, if ever, been more negative than they are now. Seeing American politicians denouncing the construction of an Islamic community center in lower manhattan (which, incidentally, is neither a mosque nor is it located at Ground Zero) only adds fuel to the flame, further convincing a generation of Muslim youth that the United States persecutes Muslims and that they are not welcome here. It also further isolates the Muslim community here in the United States, at a time when outreach and integration should be our goal.
These negative perceptions by Muslims, both abroad and at home, have a very real impact on our national security. To continually populate their rank and file, extremist organizations need a large population of disillusioned young men and women who feel that the United States thinks of them as the enemy. Make America a place the young Muslims want to move to, make America the "Shining City on a Hill" described by Ronald Reagan, and you begin to rob the extremists of their recruiting base.
That there is clearly anger and resentment directed towards the Muslim world in the United States is clear. What is less clear is whether our leadership can see beyond pandering to the fear and anger in our population and do what is best for our nation: continue to engage the global Muslim community. By sending a message that "of course you can build here, and we welcome you," our leaders can send a more productive message to world's 1 billion Muslims.
While I am certainly concerned about the legal implications of the debate, the idea of what is "Respectful" does not influence me very much. I'm significantly more concerned with what will make Americans safer. The military formally and doctrinally accepted (as demonstrated in the new Army Field Manual on Counterinsurgency) that public opinion is a vitally important part of fighting a counterinsurgency. If you make an analogy to the larger conflict between western interests and the Muslim world, I think it is easy understand the vital importance of convincing the Muslim world that we are not their enemy. We simply cannot bomb or kill our way to safety. The only answer is meaningful outreach and dialogue, which would be facilitated by our leadership accepting the Islamic center in lower Manhattan.
Was the decision by the imam to pursue the development of this center poorly timed and ill-advised? Perhaps. I also feel that is irrelevant. The process has begun, and our leaders must deal with the situation they have, and not one they would prefer. Given the current situation, and the vitriolic debate surrounding it, how better to engage the Muslim community than to welcome their efforts?
To quote form an earlier posting:
"Richard Holbrooke, our current czar for Afghanistan and Pakistan operations, recently asked “How can a man in a cave out-communicate the world’s leading communications society?” This question highlights a very serious capability gap in our national security apparatus: that of strategic communication. When our government talks, either through press release, interviews, or op-eds, the rest of the world listens. And, frankly, the extremists are doing (and have done, particularly during the Bush administration) an excellent job of capitalizing on communication gaffes by public officials, and twisting their words to convince others in the region that the United States is the enemy of them all.
While not using the term "war on terror" may seem like a political play, I assure you that changing our language and its tone has a legitimate and measurable effect on the success of our policies in the middle east and southwest Asia. This administration, for its faults, understands much better than the last that this is a battle for hearts and minds. The more we can marginilze the extremists and convince the average muslim that the United States is not out to get them, the easier we make the job for our young men and women in uniform. They will realize the benefits each day as they talk to village elders and young unemployed men in these war-torn countries, who will either be asking them why America hates muslims, or will tell them they appreciate our President visiting Cairo and saying "May the peace of God be upon you" in Arabic. These things have a profound impact on our mission in the middle east, and should not be discounted as politics."
Mr. Ramsey's comments, in this day and age, were (and will continue to be, should he be elected) communicated to the entire world via the internet, and recorded for all time on youtube and other sites. I would ask Mr. Ramsey and all other politicians to consider the very real impact their words have on our troops, who must deal with the reprecussions of such anti-muslim rhetoric.
The legal brief filed in federal court by the United States government can be found here:
The legal argument is extremely straightforward: Immigration policy is a clearly enumerated power of the federal government, and the law is clearly and expressly preempted by the Constitution. Quoting from the complaint:
The Constitution affords the federal government the power to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” U.S. Const., art. I § 8, cl. 4, and to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations,” U.S. Const., art. I § 8, cl. 3. Further, the federal government has broad authority to establish the terms and conditions for entry and continued presence in the United States, and to regulate the status of aliens within the boundaries of the United States."
Those who take issue with the federal government's attempt to enforce the Constitution might be better served by spending their energy advocating a Constitutional amendment.