Opening Act: Now Congress Has to Actually Do Things

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 3 2013 8:07 AM

Opening Act: Now Congress Has to Actually Do Things

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Enjoy photos of Weiner while they're still being taken.

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

I'm back on the clock and the country is lurching toward yet another military intervention in the Levant. That's the last fortnight I take off for a while.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

The Russians are already claiming to see missiles in the air; to be perfectly fair to them, they drink an awful lot.

In a surprise to absolutely no one, but in a pretty useful exercise, John Yoo argues that the president don't need no stinkin' congressional approval to go to war. The libertarians now citing the founders are, he says, citing them anachronistically.

Jefferson, for example, was not a Framer — he was in Paris at the time of the writing and ratification of the Constitution. Madison’s claim about Congress’s power to declare war was on point, but it came in 1793, in the midst of the Helvidius-Pacificus debates over the Neutrality Proclamation. It could not have expressed the understanding of the ratifiers because it came in the midst of a partisan fight over foreign policy after the Constitution’s ratification. Same goes for Story — he published his Commentaries on the Constitution decades after the ratification. Story was eight at the time of the Constitution — he was a prodigy, to be sure, but not that much of a prodigy.
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John McCain is doing his part, pushing for Congress to approve the Syria strike.

The NSA is doing its part to spy on presidents of friendly countries, which to be fair we might have expected them to be doing already.

And it's only seven days till Anthony Weiner places fourth in the New York mayoral primary and we don't have to think about him again until Huma Abedin becomes secretary of state. Until then, here's video of the guy thinking, for some reason, that "let's hear it for the NYPD!" is a winning riff at a West Indian parade.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.