-By Warner Todd Huston
Representative Adam Kinzinger made what is in my opinion a principled vote on the pair of resolutions concerning the authorization and funding of Obama's mission in Libya today. His principles however ran counter to the Republican's conventional wisdom on this and he was one of only eight Republicans to do so in one case.
The first resolution that came to a vote was H.J.Res.68 - Authorizing the limited use of the United States Armed Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya. It was introduced by extremist, left-wing Democrat Alcee Hastings (D, Florida). The resolution was meant to give cover to President Obama's military involvement and hoped to give Obama up to a year of extra time to stay in Libya without further authorization.
Kinzinger voted with the Democrats on this, but I feel he did so in keeping with his support of the mission as opposed to his desire to aid Democrats. He supports this mission and that is that. Whether you agree with the effort or not, I think Kinzinger stayed true to his ideals and did not use this vote to play politics with the issue. (Kinzinger voted "yea" along with eight other Republicans: Dent; Dreier; S.King; P.King; McCotter; Rivera; Rogers of Michigan)
**BELOW, see video of Kinzinger's floor speeches and a transcript of his comments** In his floor speech in support of the Hastings resolution, I take issue with one thing Kinzinger said, though. In that speech, he said, "Now will we today pull the rug out from under them simply because we have a dispute between the legislative and the executive branch?"
This is an over simplification that does disservice to his own party, here. Republicans were not opposing the Hastings resolution "simply" because there was a clash between the legislature and the president. There are real and vexing Constitutional issues here. At stake is the furthering of the notion that a president doesn't have to get authorization from Congress to engage in war. Obama has certainly violated the war powers act and done so with impunity.
While I feel Kininger's vote was a principled one, he didn't have to belittle the GOP's point in so doing. Regardless, H.R. 68 failed.
In his floor speech against the later resolution (H.R. 2278) to defund the Libyan action, Kinzinger essentially repeated his points made when he spoke in favor of Resolution 68. Total consistency there. Sadly, he again made light of the reason the GOP was opposing the president. In the end this resolution also failed. (Kinzinger was joined by 88 other Republicans on this one.)
Still, despite that, I have to say that Kinzinger did well to stick by his principles (again, agree or disagree with him) and not play politics with the actions in Libya. I doubt it will make him many friends in the GOP leadership, though.
Kinzinger's "Yes" Vote on Resolution 68
H.J.Res.68 - Authorizing the limited use of the United States Armed Forces in support of the NATO mission in Libya.
"I stand today in support of this resolution. The world is watching our actions today. The world is asking what are we going to do. We talk all the time about allowing Europe to take the lead in certain areas, allowing NATO to take the lead in foreign policy and they've done that.
Now will we today pull the rug out from under them simply because we have a dispute between the legislative and the executive branch?
I think the president should have come to this chamber too. But he didn't. But the wrong thing to do is pull funding and the right thing to do is to give him the authorization to go into Libya.
A slaughter almost occurred and we were able to stop it by our presence there. The vote we take in the House today will have implications far beyond our shores and far into the future.
Finally I'm reminded of a quote by George Washington which states, "liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth."
I support this resolution and would urge all my colleagues to do the same. In doing so we'll be supporting the planting of freedom and liberty in the Middle East."
Kinzinger's "No" vote on Resolution 2278
H.R. 2278 - To limit the use of funds appropriated to the Department of Defense for United States Armed Forces in support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation Unified Protector with respect to Libya.
"America is a beacon of light around the world and at a time when many were cowering in the house wondering if this genocide that Gadhafi was bringing to their doorstep would come tomorrow or the next day American fighters came in and pressed Gadhafi's forces back and pushed him back into Trippoli.
America has stood for the side of freedom in this Arab Spring. American has stood for people that don't have a voice for themselves. Don't let a dispute between the legislative branch and the executive branch result in us pulling the rug out from standing up for freedom.
America has a responsibility to finish this through. To stand with our allies. To leave now means that Gadhafi wins. Period. I urge a no vote to this resolution."