“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” — Barack Obama, 2007
One of the worst things about politics is the assumption that people must abandon their principles for the good of the party. Taking a position at odds with your party’s candidate for whatever office damages that candidate and you must fall in line. That is why it will be interesting to see how the Tim Kaine deals with the War Powers Act as Hillary Clinton’s running mate. In the Washington Post earlier this month, Democrats said that Kaine “must adhere to whatever posture Clinton takes on this issue.”
This represents everything that is wrong with politics and why so many people do not trust or respect politicians.The view is they have no principles and will say whatever it takes to get elected. Sometimes those principles articulated in the campaign are adhered to, and sometimes those principles are discarded – like with Obama’s statement in 2007 that he disregarded in his aggression against Syria.
Kaine had taken a principled stand in favor of restoring Constitutional authority over war to Congress, away from the executive branch that has continually broadened its powers when occupied by both Republicans and Democrats. Kaine had taken a position that is popular with his party’s base and is echoed by many on the Right who worry about executive overreach and the rule of law. For Kaine to adopt Clinton’s position would be a betrayal of his own principles and his supporters on both ends of the ideological spectrum.
There is no good reason why Kaine has to adopt Clinton’s position on this issue. His stance was well known before he was ever nominated and it would be good to know that there is a moderating influence on Clinton’s warmongering ways if and when she is elected President. Allowing Kaine to maintain his principles would show the Democratic Party welcomes differing viewpoints, respects those who disagree with the nominee, and is thoughtful about matters of policy. All of that also applies to Republicans in cases where their vice presidential candidate has differing opinions from the party’s nominee.