Why the House of Representatives is Spearheading Opposition to Iraq
The United States Constitution provides for spending bills to originate in the House of Representatives while the Senate ratifies treaties and confirms ambassadorial and other military and executive appointments. Traditionally, this has been interpreted to mean that the House primarily shares responsibility in fiscal and domestic policy, while the Senate is the co-equal branch in foreign policy. Of course, Reagan, due to the political dictates of having a Republican Senate but a Democratic House at the beginning for his presidency, turned this arrangement on its head when his tax cut and spending bills started originating in the Senate.
So, why is the House spearheading opposition to the Iraq war? Because someone has finally figured out that the stolen 2000 presidential election emasculated the House of Representatives. The Constitution provides for contested presidential elections to be decided by the House of Representatives if a decision can not be reached or is challenged in the electoral college.
Several Black members of the House urged the Senate to reject the electoral vote tally so that the issue of Florida's electoral votes could be debated and decided in the House. All it would have taken is one of the 100 Senators to object. Belatedly, the House has discovered it was screwed by the Senate and the Supreme Court (whose members are confirmed by the Senate.) It is significant to note that all of the leading Senator presidential candidates in both parties sat on their hands during the debate over the contested 2000 presidential election. This is one reason why Barack Obama, who was not elected to the Senate until 2002, and Rudolf Guliani, who was Mayor of New York and has never served in the Senate at all, are doing so well in their respective presidential bids.
As Julius Caesar said in the play by William Shakespeare, "There is a tide in the affairs of men which, seized at the flood, leads on to fortune...." This constitutional issue of deciding presidential elections is the tide that is lifting the boats of Barack and Guliani; that is why the traditional social issues of race and multiple marriages are not cutting any ice with the voters.
In addition, the House anti-war vote probably dooms Hillary Clinton's campaign. Not only is she on the wrong side of the contested 2000 presidential race, having an assertive woman as Speaker of the House taking the lead on foreign policy shows that Hillary's White House bid is not essential to the women's movement. Also, Hillary is on the wrong side of the inherited political power issue. From the historical perspective, no Senator who has not served in the House of Representatives has been elected president since Warren G. Harding in 1920. This means that Obama will weaken Hillary enough that Gore will probably emerge late in the race to get the Democratic nomination, the "safe" candidate who, after all, already won. It will also be a way of dealing with the issues raised by the 2000 presidential election.
On the Republican side, Guliani will weaken John McCain who, like Hillary Clinton, is on the wrong side of the 2000 election and is also something of an inherited power candidate; his father was an admiral in the Navy. After eight years of George W. Bush, the voters are desperately looking for a self-made candidate in the Eisenhower, Reagan and Clinton molds to help the country out of the serious mess it is in.
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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf