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Clinton Would Use (Un)Constitutional Option

From the former Clinton flack, Joe Conason, via something calling itself the National Memo:

Bill Clinton Interview: I Would Use Constitutional Option To Raise Debt Ceiling And "Force The Courts To Stop Me"

Tue, 07/19/2011 — Joe Conason

Former President Bill Clinton says that he would invoke the so-called constitutional option to raise the nation’s debt ceiling “without hesitation, and force the courts to stop me” in order to prevent a default, should Congress and the President fail to achieve agreement before the August 2 deadline.

Who is calling this the "constitutional option" when it is clearly un-constitutional?

Sharply criticizing Congressional Republicans in an exclusive Monday evening interview with The National Memo, Clinton said, “I think the Constitution is clear and I think this idea that the Congress gets to vote twice on whether to pay for [expenditures] it has appropriated is crazy.”

Mind you, Mr. Clinton used to teach law, as did the current resident of the White House.

Lifting the debt ceiling “is necessary to pay for appropriations already made,” he added, “so you can’t say, ‘Well, we won the last election and we didn’t vote for some of that stuff, so we’re going to throw the whole country’s credit into arrears.”

Given that no one has suggested this, Mr. Clinton is presenting a straw man argument. In fact, the contrary is true. There is legislation in the House to force the executive branch to prioritize its spending in order to make sure the debt is serviced and other Constitutionally mandated expenses are met.

Having faced down the Republican House leadership during two government shutdowns when he was president — and having brought the country’s budget from the deep deficits left by Republican presidents to a projected surplus

Oh, our sides. Of course Mr. Clinton was dragged kicking and screaming into signing a responsible budget presented by the GOP, after his five budget attempts had been summarily rejected.

Clinton is unimpressed by the GOP’s sudden enthusiasm for balanced budgets. But he never considered invoking the Fourteenth Amendment — which says “the validity of the US public debt shall not be questioned” – because the Republicans led by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich didn’t threaten to use the debt ceiling as a weapon in their budget struggles with him…

By the way, given that the debt ceiling had to be raised four times under Mr. Clinton shows that the budget was not quite ‘balanced.’

As for the Republicans, “they did think about doing that" — withholding approval of a higher limit — "and I knew they were thinking about it.” But the question ultimately did not arise for Clinton, he says, because his opponents in Congress decided “they didn’t want to get caught” in a position where they appeared to be repudiating the debt incurred by their own party’s two previous presidents

“I think [the Gingrich Republicans] figured I’d be smart enough to explain to the American people that they were refusing to pay for the expenses they had voted for when Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were president. And that would make ‘em look bad.”

Obama could offer precisely the same explanation in the present circumstances, where most of the current debt can be traced to the profligate military spending and tax cuts of the last Bush administration

According to the leftwing FactCheck.org, the national debt owed to the public was $6.3 trillion on the day Mr. Obama took office. As of June 1 2011, it was $9.7 trillion. And, lest we forget, prior to that time Democrat had already controlled Congress and the purse strings since January 2007.

Still, if what Mr. Clinton is claiming were true, then the Democrats should have no objection to going back to 2008 spending levels. And if we were still spending at 2008 levels, we would not have to raise the debt ceiling.

Although Clinton says that if he were in Obama’s place he would raise the debt ceiling without legislation – “if it came to that” — he believes the crisis will be resolved before August 2. “It looks to me like they’re going to make an agreement, and that’s smart.”

If Mr. Clinton would raise the debt ceiling he would be impeached again. And this time he would be convicted.

And there would be no quibbling over the meaning of the word ‘is.’

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

11 Responses to “Clinton Would Use (Un)Constitutional Option”

  1. jobeth

    ” …Clinton says that if he were in Obama’s place he would raise the debt ceiling without legislation – “if it came to that””

    Ummm, me thinks he might be up to sumpin…Perhaps, would like to see Obama drive the last nail in his own coffin? Could make room for Hillary…. LOL

    Ok…maybe not…but you can count on ol’ Bill to stir up the waters for those who screw him or his over. Cutting Hillary off at the knees from something she thought she was entitled to might just of tic him off.

  2. Reality Bytes

    What’s Next? Football Picks? THE GUY WAS IN THE BAND! (no offense to guys in band, it’s just come on, how tough do you think this guy actually is. He’s A BlowHARD!!)

    • JohnMG

      Uh-unh. He’s no blowhard, RB, he’s a wuss. But he does prefer that ‘others’ blow hard. I, for one, would like to meet up with the loud-mouthed a–hole in a neutral setting and air all of my personal grievances vis-a-vis “Billy Jeff” in a somewhat personal, physical manner. I think jobeth is right. He’s just stirring the pot like some little kid.

  3. Reality Bytes

    Of course! Hillary took all the fight of him long ago.

    “Balls Cried the Queen! If I had any I’d be the King!” The jester laughed. He had two.

    • JohnMG

      You’re probably right. Hillary nutted him right from the start which gives some credence to the speculation that Chelsea’s real dad is Janet Reno.

  4. Reality Bytes

    thank you for that mental picture. Things that make you go BRRUUUGGHHH!

  5. Natural Born Citizen

    Bubba did teach law but he also got convicted of perjury. But then again this administration wants us to believe that just because there are no “boots on the ground” in Libya that we are not at war. I would think dropping bombs in a foreign sovereign nation might be considered war by most reasonable peoples definition? By Oblamie’s definition if we drop a nuke on Iran we are not at war with them.

  6. Barack Obama says there is no money for social security for seniors and no money for disabled veterans but he can send our tax dollars overseas to rebuild mosques in countries who don’t even like America. Thank you Mr. President !

    http://www.wsbtv.com/video/25764282/index.html

  7. AmericanIPA

    The king of revisionist history–among other things. He’s claiming he stared down a bunch of big spending Republicans and brought the economy back from the abyss of Reagan and Bush I? That’s not how I remember it.

    And this old fart still acts like he’s a sovereign who can make laws without the congress. Ever notice how the lefty presidents always act like they are the single man in power?

  8. Astravogel

    So, we wern’t in a war with Germany
    until 6 June 1944? Tell that to the airmen
    and sailors of Planetary War Two.

  9. jimreport

    Sounds like he’s setting up presidunce for impeachment, so PIAPS can jump in (to the extent that she can jump).


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