A new NBC News/Marist poll released this morning provides the first glimpse at public opinion with regard to President Obama’s request for Congressional authorization to continue the war against ISIL:
President Obama has asked Congress to vote to allow the use of U.S. military force against ISIS, the Islamic State group. The president is requesting authorization for three years, with no geographic limitations. The president is also asking for flexibility for limited ground operations by the U.S. military, but rules out deploying a long-standing ground force. Do you want your member of Congress to vote for or against this authorization?
The good folks at NBC send over a partisan breakdown. Fifty two percent of Republicans support Obama’s authorization request, as do 51 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats.
A few points about this. First, Republican voters appear at odds with GOP lawmakers on this topic. The latter have been arguing that, if anything, Obama’s request is too limiting. As Marco Rubio put it so felicitously, Congress should give Obama an authorization that says nothing more than we “authorize the president to take whatever steps are necessary to defeat ISIS. Period.” But a bare majority of Republicans supports the limits in the authorization Obama proposed, such as they are.
Of course, the downside here is that an even larger majority of Democrats supports this authorization, even though, as I argued the other day, it is too vague and too broad. It also leaves in place the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which the administration (absurdly) used to justify launching the current campaign against ISIL. While Obama has said he supports repealing the 2001 AUMF in theory, if this doesn’t happen, the relevance of any new AUMF is highly questionable. Democratic lawmakers, too, are troubled by the authorization request, for all these reasons. Yet Democratic voters appear supportive.
To be sure, this is only one poll. But it appears there is public support for a continued military commitment with some limits, but ultimately, inadequate ones. Indeed, the poll also finds that a total of 66 percent support sending in either a limited number of U.S. ground forces (40 percent) or a large number of them (26 percent).
* REPUBLICANS SUDDENLY WANT OBAMA TO HAVE UNLIMITED POWER: Peter Baker has a good piece looking at the Republican reaction to Obama’s request for authorization to wage war on ISIS, with many Republican pressing for seemingly unlimited war-making power. Senator Orrin Hatch:
“His approach is one of the stupidest approaches I’ve ever seen. Any president worth his salt would want the A.U.M.F. to be as broad as it can be.”
As broad as it can be! What would that look like, exactly?
* WHAT TO WATCH TODAY: Many defenders of Obama’s executive action shielding millions from deportation think it’s likely that a Texas court may rule today on a lawsuit against it brought by two dozen states. They also expect the court to block the action, whereupon the government will immediately appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which may well lift the stay, though that’s not certain.
Hanging in the balance is the question of whether the program will go forward as scheduled later this month, as well as the fate of the fight in Congress over how to fund the Department of Homeland Security. ICYMI: I gamed out what’s next right here.
* REPUBLICAN INFIGHTING OVER DHS FUNDING INTENSIFIES: The Hill has a good overview of just how intense things are getting among Republicans. This perfectly captures just how bizarre the Republican view of the Congressional standoff has become:
“If we’re going to allow seven Democratic senators to decide what the agenda is of the House Republican conference, of the Senate Republican majority, then we might as well just give them the chairmanships, give them the leadership of the Senate,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said at an event held with the Heritage Foundation.
Rage, rage, rage. Maybe House Republicans should just pass something funding Homeland Security with the help of Democrats?
* STUDY FINDS KENTUCKY’S MEDICAID EXPANSION IS WORKING: The New York Times reports on a new study finding that Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion will “generate a positive fiscal impact of nearly $1 billion for the state,” countering GOP warnings that the program would crush taxpayers, and notes:
The report may help frame debates over whether to provide Medicaid to more low-income adults in some of the 23 states that have not yet done so.
Bwahahahaha, that’s a good one. As if opposition to the Medicaid expansion from Republican state lawmakers has anything to do with the merits!
* A GUIDE TO THE FACTS IN THE ANTI-OBAMACARE LAWSUIT: Bloomberg News offers a pretty comprehensive overview of what we now know about the King v. Burwell lawsuit, now that reporters have been taking a closer look at it. Importantly, the piece notes that there is a ton of actual evidence out there undercutting the challengers’ main argument: That Congress intended to threaten the denial of subsidies to states that didn’t set up exchanges.
It’s good to see news orgs digging into this case a bit more, and it’s good that outlets like Bloomberg are now trying to get the basic facts out. But there are still a lot of questions about it that remain unanswered.
* A NOTE ON ‘STANDING’ QUESTIONS IN ANTI-ACA LAWSUIT: With news organizations raising questions about the plaintiffs in the King v. Burwell lawsuit, Jeffrey Toobin has a good piece explaining why precedent should make the Supreme Court take these questions seriously:
The standing issue is “jurisdictional,” which means that plaintiffs must always prove standing, whether the defendants raise the issue or not. The Justices can always take it upon themselves to investigate the record in the case to determine whether the plaintiffs have standing, and even as late as days before the argument, Administration lawyers can write a letter to the court calling attention to the issue of the plaintiffs’ questionable standing. If the Justices ask questions about standing at the oral argument next month, it’s a good clue that a dismissal of the case on standing grounds is at least a possibility.
I doubt the standing issues will matter in this case in the end, and there are plenty of other challengers out there with legitimate standing, so this challenge will go forward one way or the other. But establishing the facts surrounding these plaintiffs and how this lawsuit came to be is a legit goal in its own right.
* AND THE GOP IS EMBRACING ‘MONETARY CRAZY’: Paul Krugman looks at the GOP’s embrace of “monetary crazy,” including Rand Paul’s inflation-hysterical “audit the Fed” campaign and Paul Ryan’s adherence to the views held by Ayn Rand characters, and concludes it’s all based on the idea that unfettered free market outcomes are inherently perfect and just, and must never be tampered with. Conclusion:
Monetary policy should be an issue in 2016. Because there’s a pretty good chance that someone who either gets his monetary economics from Ayn Rand, or at any rate feels the need to defer to such views, will get to appoint the next head of the Federal Reserve.
Hey, elections have consequences, professor!