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The Decider Lays Down The Law, Reid and Pelosi Should Lay It Right Back

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Americans awoke today to read the President in the Wall Street Journal call for bipartisan cooperation and then threaten Democratic Leaders against what he called stalemate.

While the President was claiming to initiate a new period of bipartisan cooperation, and while Democratic Leaders were preparing to meet with the President to consult about Iraq, news media were widely reporting that the President had made a firm and final decision to escalate the war, and send more troops.

Presumably when the Decider meets with the Congressional leaders to consult, he will inform them of his firm and final decisions taken before the meetings. Presumably if they do not agree with his firm and final decision to escalate the war, without consultations with Democratic or Republican leaders, he will then remind them of his warning against stalemate.

The Democratic Leaders should state clearly, unequivocally and immediately that in the American system of government, there are three coequal branches of government, the executive is one of them, the legislative branch is another.

In fact, Republican leaders such as Senator Lugar, are saying today that the President must consult with Congress, and not ignore the Congress as Senator Lugar correctly said, this past Sunday, that he has for six years,

The Democratic Leaders might remind the President that this past November America had what is called an election, America voted in that election to deescalate and not escalate the war, and Americans chose the Democratic Party to control both Houses of Congress.

Senator Lugar, in fact, tried to remind the President of this as well, on Sunday.

Democratic Leaders might remind the President that bipartisanship does not mean the President makes unilateral and preemptive decisions to escalate the war, and then open the New Year by threatening the Party the people elected, with charges of stalemate, if the Party upholds what the voters decided.

Democratic Leaders might remind the President that consultation means they sit down, before decisions are made, for intelligent discussions about policy options, not for the leaders of the Congress to be informed by the Decider what He has decided.

Before the election the President said he would consult with and respect the Baker Hamiltion group. After the election he gave Baker and Hamilton the back of his hand, and then said he would consult with military leaders whose advice he always claimed to follow and respect.

Then, he discovered what he knew before, that our Joint Chiefs of Staff and commanders oppose the troop surge, so after "consulting" with them, he disregarded and disrespected our military leaders as well.

At the beginning of this misbegotten war, the President disregarded and disrespected General Eric Shinseki. Today there are twenty General Shinsekis and he disregards and disrespects them all.

Then the President said he would "consult" with Democratic and Republican Leaders in the Congress, and now, before these so-called "consultations", the media is informed, that Congressional leaders will be informed, what the Decider has unilaterally decided.

In the hours before the new Congress is even sworn in, the President is engaging in a power play reminiscent of the one party state that the voters rejected last November. He falsely tells the nation in the Wall Street Journal that he favors bipartisan cooperation, while he secrely makes final decisions to escalate before the consultations even begin, then threatens the Democratic Congress with charges of stalemate if they do not take dictation, as he demands.

My advice is: Senate Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi should make it abundantly clear immediately:

* co-equal branches of government mean co-equal branches of government;

* consultation requires consulting, not treating Congress like subordinates to be informed of what decisions are dictated;

* bipartisan government means both parties collaborate before decisions are made,

* elections are elections and the American people have spoken;

* a lame duck President who has lost both houses of Congress and created a catastrophe in Iraq , is in no position to make threats.

* here in America, we believe in democracy, not Deciders.

The President has laid down the law.

The Majority Leader and Speaker should lay it down, right back.
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Brent Budowsky is a regular columnist on thehill.com. He served as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, responsible for commerce and intelligence matters, including one of the core drafters of the CIA Identities Law. Served (more...)

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