Doherty and Crazy Uncle Ron: Perfect Together?

On Monday of this week, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) visited the State House in Trenton to attend a press conference held by State Senator Michael Doherty, who publicly endorsed Dr. Paul as a candidate for president amid a cheering crowd of 400 Paulnuts.  It’s official: the poster boy of the Conservative Movement in New Jersey has turned his back on several very good conservative Republican candidates before the official primary season has actually begun in order to throw his support behind a faux-Libertarian Republican whose agenda appears to have been written by Lewis Carroll.

PolitickerNJ has the details:

State Sen. Mike Doherty (R-23), Oxford, this afternoon formally endorsed U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for president.

“For the last 100 years, the Constitution has been ignored in this country,” said the prospective U.S. Senate candidate and proud U.S. Army veteran.  “In 2012, we are going to elect a man to restore liberty.”

I’m sure we will, but it isn’t going to be Ron Paul.

The presidential candidate was present to receive Doherty’s endorsement on the steps of the Statehouse Annex before a ripped crowd.

Prof. Murray Sabrin described Paul as a champion of civil liberties, limited government, a balanced budget, free enterprise and peace.

“If you are going to use our military, you must get a declaration of war first from our Congress,” shouted Doherty.

Apparently Doherty has bought into Dr. Paul’s bogus “illegal war” argument, which I pulverized in a September 2 article published on that very subject. In a nutshell, Crazy Uncle Ron (and those foolish enough to loosen the straps on his straight jacket) argue that because the Constitution grants the power to declare war only to Congress, then war can be waged only if it is formally declared by Congress.

This argument is arrant nonsense. Yes, Congress alone is granted the power to declare war, while the President is granted the authority to act as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. But Congress also has the power to grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, an archaic expression that today would translate as “a license to engage in armed conflict on behalf of the United States.”

It did just that during the Quasi-War with France and even went a step further: on July 7, 1798 Congress rescinded all treaties with France and two days later authorized President Adams to direct our naval forces to attack both the mercantile and naval shipping of France.

While Congress could have declared war, it chose not to do so but instead gave authorization to the President to direct our armed forces in such fashion as he deemed appropriate to achieve the desired ends.

Remember the sentence in bold font: you will see it again soon.

As it happened, at the onset of the Barbary and Tripolitan Wars in the early 19th century,  President Jefferson dispatched a squadron of heavy frigates to the Mediterranean and afterward informed Congress of his actions. Was there a hue and cry? Nope. Demand for a declaration of war, perhaps? If so, it fell on deaf ears:

Although Congress never voted on a formal declaration of war, they did authorize the President to instruct the commanders of armed vessels of the United States to seize all vessels and goods of the Pasha of Tripoli “and also to cause to be done all such other acts of precaution or hostility as the state of war will justify.”

Here the United States was embroiled in yet another conflict abroad that was, for all practical purposes, a war but never actually declared such by the Congress – and all of this occurred in the administration of a national Founder and constitutional Framer.

Fast forward to October 16, 2002: Congress, by a vote of 297 to 133 in the House and 77 to 23 in the Senate, authorized the President to use the armed forces of the United States “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate” in order to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq.”

While Congress could have declared war, it chose not to do so but instead gave authorization to the President to direct our armed forces in such fashion as he deemed appropriate to achieve the desired ends.

There is plenty of room to argue the wisdom of our war in Iraq, but absolutely zero room to argue its legality. The Constitution grants Congress the power to both declare war  and wage undeclared war as well as the power to authorize the president to direct our armed forces to accomplish the ends it sets forth.

But the bogus “illegal war” argument is the least embarrassing consequence of Sen. Doherty’s decision to endorse for President of the United States a candidate who:

  • Abandoned the GOP in 1987 and repudiated Ronald Reagan, comparing the Gipper to Josef Stalin;
  • Represents himself as the enemy of Big Government spending but has his own snout buried deep in the pork barrel;
  • Advocates for the legalization of heroin;
  • Has no problem with a nuclear-armed Iran;
  • Promotes a Middle East foreign policy that would effectively throw Israel under the bus;
  • Believes that U.S. foreign policy is the catalyst for Islamic jihadism and ultimately the reason behind their attacks on us.

Is this is the political knight in shining armor that Mike Doherty believes will rescue America? Maybe. Then again, maybe not:

Doherty doesn’t buy all that. He says Paul’s opposition to the Federal Reserve and to U.S. military intervention abroad were the key for him.

“I don’t think the United States should be the world’s policeman,” Doherty says. “It’s bankrupting the country and chewing up a lot of good young men.”

Asked if he agreed with Paul on Medicare and Medicaid, Doherty offers a non-denial denial: “Those are not issues I’ll focus on.”

As for eliminating the income tax, Doherty says, “It’s not a top priority, but I see his point.”

Uh huh. So what, then, is Doherty’s REAL reason for endorsing Ron Paul? Only Doherty knows for sure, but I can guess: in the mistaken belief that Ron Paul is a favorite son of the Tea Party movement in New Jersey, perhaps Sen. Doherty is attempting to mitigate the damage he caused by endorsing – through his refusal to repudiate them – the vicious campaign of libel and defamation waged against several Tea Party groups by Bill Winkler, Rob Eichmann and  the blog Conservative New Jersey for the better part of this year.

Unfortunately for Mr. Doherty,  the Paulnuts, Paulbots and Paulistinians form a tiny (if  obnoxiously fanatical)  minority of the Tea Party movement in the Garden State. The overwhelming majority may be accurately described as Reaganite in their conservative proclivities – and Ron Paul is no Ronald Reagan.

So how will all this play out in the upcoming primary for the U.S. Senate seat held by Robert Menendez?

Doherty hasn’t officially thrown his hat in the ring, but he’s positioning himself to run. So is Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth), a more moderate sort who is close friends with Gov. Chris Christie.

A primary could prove awkward for the governor. If he sticks with his friend, Kyrillos, he could alienate some of the tea party crowd that he has taken to flirting with on the national stage.

Assuming Der Blimpmeister doesn’t upset the political applecart by deciding to make what would ultimately prove to be a  Lakehurst-fated run for the White House, he can take some comfort in the fact that the value of Mike Doherty’s stock has diminished considerably in the ranks of the Tea Party movement following his summertime treachery.

That he cast his lot with a fringe, quasi-libertarian kook while ignoring several other good conservative candidates this early in the race leaves me (and a number of Tea Party groups) wondering if Mr. Doherty is as confused about the meaning of conservatism as he obviously is about the meaning of integrity.

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5 Responses to Doherty and Crazy Uncle Ron: Perfect Together?

  1. dloosend says:

    Wondering where the rest of the Lonegan-led lnsane Clown Posse was???
    Herr Blimpmeister has already lost the Tea Parties…………………..

  2. Kenny says:

    Seriously? He endorsed Ron Paul? Ron Pauls foreign policy is a total disaster – and as a former Major in the US Army, one would think that Doherty knows that. Apparently, Doherty doesn’t really care about the US in World Politics and standing. In a sophisticated and complex world, this type of foreign policy is naive at best. Obama would destroy the US from within, while Ron Paul would simply allow the US to rot amongst the International Community.

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