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George Bush ain't even Commander-in-Chief of my ass.  

Republicans made "Commander-in-Chief" into a talking point and legal wild card the same way they did with "the events of September 11th."  This talking point engenders blind obediance.  One's immediate reaction to hearing it is designed to be, "Well, he is the guy in charge."  

Except that he's not.  

The Constitution is in charge, and ultimately we are in charge.  

The sole mention of "Commander-in-Chief" in the Constitution:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; ...

And that's it.  The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces ONLY.  It is by definition a limited power.  George Bush himself could stop you on the street and order you to drop and give him twenty, and you could merrily tell him to buzz off.  He would have no actual power to make you do it.  

The term "Commander-in-Chief" refers to ultimate civilian power over the military.  If you're not in the military, whatever the Commander-in-Chief wishes should be of no direct consequence to you.  (Indirect, sure, but that's a completely separate concept.)  Keep in mind:  the President is a civilian.  When a Bush supporter uses the term "Commander-in-Chief" to justify any power outside of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or National Guard activity, or to justify any power not consonant with the legal constraints within which those entities operate, that person is lying.  To the military Bush is the Commander-in-Chief.  To everyone else he is a civilian.

This is one of those "state the obvious" topics that can help everyone better understand how our government is supposed to work.  I implore Democrats everywhere to hammer away, every time the syllables "Commander-in-Chief" pass the lips of a Republican:  The President is not the Commander-in-Chief of the country, only the military.

Originally posted to Simplify on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:06 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Did I mention "Commander-in-Chief" (4.00)
    enough times to make this its own propaganda piece?  

    Criticisim and elaboration are heartily welcome, especially with regards to constitutional interpretation.  

    Just because we can, that doesn't mean we should.

    by Simplify on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:07:54 AM PST

  •  A better description of * would be (none)
    "Commodus-in Chief"  referring to a really bad Roman Emperor.
  •  Well worth stating (none)
    The Republicans are definitely using that phrase for all its worth. I'm sure Bush enjoys being refered to as such - it fits right in with his 'War President' fantasy.
  •  Flight-Suit-inChief (none)
    I prefer how Homer Simpson said it:

    "Anything is possible with Commander Coo-Coo Bananas in charge!"

    False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.--Socrates

    by Ranting Roland on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 01:18:22 AM PST

  •  If only he could command (none)
    the English language.

    The beneficiaries are likely to be...large corporations and development firms. (O'Connor, J. dissenting in Kelo). God bless you, J. O'Connor.

    by xanthe on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 03:42:04 AM PST

  •  Commander in Chief?? (none)
    Whats most intersting abot our "Commander in Chief" is that he was discharged completely unqualified to do ANYTHING in the military.
    Don't take my word for it read it right off the page:http: //users.cis.net/coldfeet/ANG22.gif
    Military Qualifications: NONE   "NONE??" Our "commander in Chief" is COMPLETELY unqualified to do ANYTHING in the iltary, not even paint rocks white.
    Look at the Awards and decorations box: none there too (TAFMS and TAFCS are NOT medals!)
    Our Weasel in Chief was discharged completely unqualified to do ANYTHING in the miltary and without a single medal!
    think that was what all the Swiftboating was about? to hide the fact that our Weasel in chief didn't get ANY medals at all, not even the ones a 6 month trainee has?
    Our Weasel in Chiefs "honorable discharge" is the biggest example ever of hiding chickenshit in plain sight by calling it chickensalad

    INVESTIGATE THE CBS PAPERS!!! THEY ARE FEDERAL DOCUMENTS!! Don't let Bush win WITHOUT PROVING A THING!

    by exlrrp on Tue Dec 20, 2005 at 05:13:32 AM PST

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