So, we watched the talk shows today, and in addition to Kerry, on "Meet the Press," there was Rand Paul, and just about the first thing he said was:
... I think it's a mistake to get involved in the Syrian civil war. And what I want would ask John Kerry is, he's famous for saying, "How can you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?" I would ask John Kerry, "How can you ask a man to be the first one to die from a mistake?"I'm not saying Rand reads the Althouse blog, but hi, Rand. Rand was remarkable — or seemed remarkable in contrast to Kerry, who preceded him — because he listened to the questions and appeared to think in real time and then verbalize actual answers.
Kerry filibustered, evading David Gregory's questions, such as "If Congress says no [to an attack on Syria], the president will act regardless of what Congress says?" Nonanswer: "I said that the president has the authority to act, but the Congress is going to do what's right here." Note the "I said," like he's already answered and now he's forced to repeat himself.
Somehow I started feeling sorry for Kerry, having to be the one to go around to all the talk shows. And he looked so weary. He looked awful, weirdly different from usual, like something wasn't right. His hair was fine. (It's a wig, right?) But his eyes were mismatched, and he kept sticking out his tongue like this:
Is there some tongue-out disease going around this week, some virulence of chapped lips? (Cf. "21 Obnoxious Photos of Miley’s Tongue.") That particular shot was taken immediately after he said the words "the American people," which annoyed Meade so much that he backtracked to pause it so I could photograph it.
What I really want to do, now that I have the transcript, is go through and find all the ways Kerry managed to say that the President needs to go to Congress and doesn't need to go to Congress. I'll update this post and show you soon.
ADDED: Here's how Kerry avoided saying the President needed authority from Congress:
Now why go to Congress? Because the United States of America is stronger when the Congress of the United States representing the people and the President of the United States are acting together. And the president wants that strength represented in this initiative….I was intrigued by the phrase "American constitutional process." If the President can act on his own — and almost did — then what "constitutional process" is in seeking approval? That's the only time Kerry mentions the Constitution, and note how quickly he shifts to assertions about what makes the United States "strongest." He seems to say the Congress should go along with the President to make the country strong, but the Constitution has the safeguard of the separation of powers, and it's only because Congress operates independently that the conjunction of presidential and congressional power yields strength. Congress can't produce strength in the country by becoming compliant to the President. Though that does make the President stronger, the President is not the country.
The issue originally was, "Should the President of the United States take action…?"… There was no decision not to do that. And the President has the right to do that…. The president then made the decision that he thought we would be stronger and the United States would act with greater moral authority and greater strength if we acted in a united way….
He believes we need to move, he's made his decision. Now it's up to the Congress of the United States to join him….
I hope and pray it will be seen as careful deliberation, as appropriate exercise of American constitutional process. The United States is strongest when the Congress speaks with the president….
[To the question: “If Congress says no, the president will act regardless of what Congress says?”] I said that the president has the authority to act, but the Congress is going to do what's right here.