Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Brent Budowsky Headshot

The Decider Lays Down The Law, Reid and Pelosi Should Lay It Right Back

Posted: Updated:

Americans awoke today to read the President
in the Wall Street Journal call for bipartisan
cooperation and then threaten Democratic Leaders against what he called
stalemate.

While the President was claiming to initiate a
new period of bipartisan cooperation, and while
Democratic Leaders were preparing to meet
with the President to consult about Iraq, news
media were widely reporting that the President
had made a firm and final decision to escalate
the war, and send more troops.

Presumably when the Decider meets with the
Congressional leaders to consult, he will inform
them of his firm and final decisions taken before
the meetings. Presumably if they do not agree
with his firm and final decision to escalate the
war, without consultations with Democratic or
Republican leaders, he will then remind them of
his warning against stalemate.

The Democratic Leaders should state clearly,
unequivocally and immediately that in the
American system of government, there are
three coequal branches of government, the
executive is one of them, the legislative branch
is another.

In fact, Republican leaders such as Senator
Lugar, are saying today that the President must
consult with Congress, and not ignore the
Congress as Senator Lugar correctly said,
this past Sunday, that he has for six years,

The Democratic Leaders might remind the
President that this past November America
had what is called an election, America voted
in that election to deescalate and not escalate
the war, and Americans chose the Democratic
Party to control both Houses of Congress.

Senator Lugar, in fact, tried to remind the
President of this as well, on Sunday.

Democratic Leaders might remind the President
that bipartisanship does not mean the President
makes unilateral and preemptive decisions to
escalate the war, and then open the New Year
by threatening the Party the people elected,
with charges of stalemate, if the Party upholds
what the voters decided.

Democratic Leaders might remind the President
that consultation means they sit down, before
decisions are made, for intelligent discussions
about policy options, not for the leaders of the
Congress to be informed by the Decider what
He has decided.

Before the election the President said he would
consult with and respect the Baker Hamiltion
group. After the election he gave Baker and
Hamilton the back of his hand, and then said
he would consult with military leaders whose
advice he always claimed to follow and respect.

Then, he discovered what he knew before, that
our Joint Chiefs of Staff and commanders
oppose the troop surge, so after "consulting"
with them, he disregarded and disrespected
our military leaders as well.

At the beginning of this misbegotten war, the
President disregarded and disrespected General Eric Shinseki. Today
there are twenty
General Shinsekis and he disregards and
disrespects them all.

Then the President said he would "consult" with
Democratic and Republican Leaders in the
Congress, and now, before these so-called
"consultations", the media is informed, that
Congressional leaders will be informed, what
the Decider has unilaterally decided.

In the hours before the new Congress is even
sworn in, the President is engaging in a power
play reminiscent of the one party state that the
voters rejected last November. He falsely
tells the nation in the Wall Street Journal that
he favors bipartisan cooperation, while he
secrely makes final decisions to escalate
before the consultations even begin, then
threatens the Democratic Congress with
charges of stalemate if they do not take
dictation, as he demands.

My advice is: Senate Majority Leader Reid and
Speaker Pelosi should make it abundantly clear
immediately:

* co-equal branches of government mean co-equal branches of government;

* consultation requires consulting, not treating
Congress like subordinates to be informed of
what decisions are dictated;

* bipartisan government means both parties collaborate before decisions
are made,

* elections are elections and the American people have spoken;

* a lame duck President who has lost both houses of Congress and created
a catastrophe in Iraq , is in no position to make threats.

* here in America, we believe in democracy, not Deciders.

The President has laid down the law.

The Majority Leader and Speaker should lay it down, right back.