So Mark Levin has responded to my challenge today. Did he find a Federalist who agrees with him that a president can launch a non-defensive war without consulting congress? I was a real sport — I let him look through the ratifying conventions of every single state, and I also let him cite public lectures or newspaper articles. Really anything at all. Did he find someone, anyone?
Of course not. Instead, he pretends I am too stupid to understand his position: “I’ve explained my position on radio, on Fox, and on this site. I think it is extremely wise for a president to consult with Congress (well, not all 535 members but members in leadership positions) before launching non-defensive military actions for both policy and political reasons. In fact, most presidents claim to have done so in one form or another respecting most military operations. I cannot imagine any Federalist would have argued against a president consulting with Congress.”
And I’m the one changing the subject? This is beyond belief.
Mark, the point is not and has never been whether it is wise for the president to consult Congress. The point is whether he is allowed to conduct offensive operations without consulting them. That is your position.
And I have shown that there is zero — ZERO — evidence that the Constitution allows this. Levin’s ham-handed evasion of my challenge has only amplified my point. I am changing the subject, he says. Well, let’s let the whole world look at what we’ve written — all of which I link to in my piece today — and they may decide for themselves who is addressing the issue and who is running away from it. Levin’s position is that the president may launch offensive operations without consulting Congress. I deny that this was any part of the original constitutional intent. That is the entirety of the disagreement between us. Whether it would be nice for the president to consult Congress, whether it’s practical for him to do so, etc., are entirely irrelevant to a discussion of this specific issue. Those are forms of evasion, as even Levin’s own followers are capable of seeing.
I have already made clear that the president has the constitutional authority to engage in purely defensive measures. That’s what George Washington said he was doing against the Indians. But when the issue of offensive operations against the Indians came up, he said he would have to consult Congress for that. Not too confusing.
Mark has no time for further exchanges — he is Mark Levin, remember — but he did have time, to show how unreliable I allegedly am, to dig up an article from six years ago by Marxist-turned-social-democrat Ronald Radosh. Radosh didn’t like my Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, though I’m hardly surprised; most neocons, for all their talk, have a pretty conventional view of American history, and my book was much too politically incorrect for them. I dealt with my critics on that long ago (see “replies to critics”). At the top of my website one can find a rotating series of endorsements of my work from periodicals like the Journal of American History, the American Historical Review, Choice (the review publication for academic libraries), and others, any one of whose opinions is worth a teensy bit more than that of Ronald Radosh, whoever he is.
One gentleman asked, without any invective or disrespect, if Levin would be willing to debate me, perhaps at the Reagan Library in California. That gentleman was simply deleted from Levin’s Facebook page.
I win.8:46 am on March 28, 2011 Email Thomas E. Woods Jr.