In the middle of yet another Romney-esque change in positions due to the GOP weathervane pointing due opposite of President Obama on any and all issues, Republican Senator and draft-dodger Saxby Chambliss said that if he had been told of the exchange of the Gitmo prisoners for Sgt. Bergdahl, he’d have raised “holy hell” in “public opposition”.
If he had gotten notice, Chambliss said he would have gone public in opposition — just as he did two years ago when rumors of the release of Taliban fighters from Guantanamo rippled through Washington.
“I’d have raised holy Hell,” he said. “Absolutely. I did last time and I would again.”
Chambliss “later clarified” that he would not have done anything to endanger Bergdhal or release classified info, telling Politico, “When I was asked about the 30-day congressional notification coming out of votes, I was referring to raising hell in the press about the Taliban officials release.”
And how would that have gone? Just randomly accusing the President of releasing prisoners from Gitmo, on an issue that the White House could not respond to without endangering classified information, this is Chambliss’ best thinking of how to handle his opposition to the President?
The reality is that as much sparring as goes on between parties, Before Barack Obama (B.B.O.) there were things that were sacred. There were classified issues that were argued in private, with the best interests of our troops and our national security as the end goal. But those days are long over.
Republicans and some Democrats are upset that President Obama didn’t follow procedure by telling “the big eight” prior to the exchange of the prisoners for our single prisoner of war from the Afghanistan conflict. They are also upset, ostensibly, because Obama didn’t follow the law requiring 30-day notice to Congress over Bergdahl’s release. The White House has explained that they were afraid that Congress would leak the plans, especially as they claim they had obtained credible information that Bergdahl would be killed and special operators who were involved in bringing him back would have been in greater danger if the exchange became public.
The White House has reason for this fear, as Darrell Issa (R-CA) has pretty consistently been reckless with classified information during his witch hunt hearings. Congressman Issa has leaked sensitive information, sometimes related to national security, which at one point placed several Libyans’ lives in danger. He had, at that point, already outed a CIA base in Libya in his Obama witch hunt fever.
Republicans are not operating as loyal opposition, but rather the ultimate trolls of this country.
So Saxby Chambliss of Georgia confirmed the White House’s fear that they can’t trust the Republicans in Congress.
President Obama can’t trust this Congress because Republicans have shown time and time again that they will do anything to put the President in a precarious situation. They will reduce funding to embassies and then blame him when one is attacked. They will not give him what he asked for to run the VA or pass Independent or Democratic VA bills and then blame him when the VA is backed up. They will out classified information in hopes of creating chaos, even when it endangers lives, as Darrell Issa did.
The problem this creates is that the Congress is not functioning at all as a check on the White House, because they are giving the White House every reason to override them. Their constant obstructionism and refusal to do anything for the country because they hate losing national elections has created a situation where the President has to go around them in order to do the right thing; in this case, bringing Bergdahl home. This is not how our country is supposed to run.
While we can and should object to expansions of executive power, how can rational people expect the President to leave a troop in enemy hands because Republicans are behaving badly? That is unthinkable. Our troops, and I’d daresay average Americans, should not be pawns in power struggles between branches of government. This is but one of the damaging results of Republican obstructionism.
Leave it to Saxby Chambliss to tell us all exactly why Obama can’t trust him or his party.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.