More from the Washington Post

Matthew J. Franck mfranck at
Sat Dec 10 08:20:59 PST 2005

Now I know Sandy woke up on the wrong side of the bed this 
morning.  He has now moved from his recent reliance on public opinion 
polls for criticizing our fixed election calendar, to complaining 
that when a president defends an eminently defensible policy while 
speaking before those individuals charged with carrying it out, he is 
acting in an "unconstitutional" manner, indeed a "profoundly" 
unconstitutional manner.  I suppose Sandy thinks that it really was a 
proper impeachment article against Andrew Johnson that he went out to 
the country and (horrors!) gave speeches.

Matthew J. Franck
Professor and Chairman
Department of Political Science
Radford University
P.O. Box 6945
Radford, VA 24142-6945
phone 540-831-5854
fax 540-831-6075
e-mail <mailto:mfranck at>mfranck at
At 10:50 AM 12/10/2005, Sanford Levinson wrote:
>Content-class: urn:content-classes:message
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>Consider the following story (see 
>from yesterday's Washington Post.  I take it that the separation of 
>the military from (low) politics is as fundamental to our notion of 
>constitutionalism as is the separation of law from (low) 
>politics.  So is it proper to say that Bush is behaving in a 
>profoundly "unconstitutional" manner, or does the Commander-in-Chief 
>indeed have the prerogative of using "his troops" as the venue for 
>attacking his political opposition?  (Incidentally, what do you 
>think would happen if any of the troops started booing or otherwise 
>maniesting disagreement with the views of the 
>Commander-in-Chief?  Their speech is presumably not protected by the 
>First Amendment,)
>Politics and the Troops
><,2933,177906,00.html>Greg Kelly of 
>Fox News is pursuing a story no one else seems to want to touch. On 
>Tuesday, he filed this report: "Twice last month in speeches to 
>military audiences, the president attacked Democrats and fired back 
>at their accusations that pre-war intelligence was manipulated by 
>his administration. . . .
>"The attacks against critics at military settings may have put 
>troops in the awkward position of undermining their own regulations. 
>A Department of Defense directive doesn't allow service members in 
>uniform to attend 'partisan political events.' . . .
>"Several members of the military told FOX News that Bush is inviting 
>the troops to take sides in a partisan debate in his speeches.
>" 'This is a very bad sign,' said retired Marine Gen. Joseph Hoar, 
>who led Central Command in the early 1990s and is an administration 
>critic. 'This is the sort of thing that you find in other countries 
>where the military and political, certain political parties are 
>aligned.' "  [my own emphasis]
>Kelly apparently isn't done with the story. Here he is asking a 
>question at yesterday's 
>briefing :
>"Q Scott, this is going back a little bit, but we've received some 
>complaints from soldiers, both former and current, about the 
>Tobyhanna speech and the Elmendorf, Alaska speech. They cite their 
>own regulations that say U.S. soldiers cannot participate in 
>partisan political activity. But when the President attacked 
>Democrats, they are -- they feel like they were put in the position 
>where they're supporting a democratic cause in uniform. Does the 
>President feel --
>"MR. McCLELLAN: Who said that? I think the President was talking as 
>Commander-in-Chief to our troops and talking to them about the war 
>that we're engaged in.
>"Q Well, he was talking about Democrats, as well. 'Some Democrats 
>who voted to authorize use of focrce are now rewriting the past.' He 
>said, 'It is irresponsible Democrats --
>"MR. McCLELLAN: That's true.
>"Q -- 'claim we misled them.'
>"MR. McCLELLAN: Now, I notice -- now, I notice they're not making 
>those same claims recently.
>"Q Well, nevertheless, does the President feel like it's appropriate 
>to inject the troops into what is, I think, quite clearly a partisan debate?
>"MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree. The President is the 
>Commander-in-Chief. No one has been more involved in this war on 
>terrorism than our troops and their families. And our troops 
>understand the importance of the mission."
>Here are the transcripts of Bush's remarks at 
>Air Force Base in Alaska on November 14; and 
>Army Depot in Pennsylvania, on November 11. At the air force base, 
>for example, Bush said that "some Democrats who voted to authorize 
>the use of force are now rewriting the past. They are playing 
>politics with this issue and they are sending mixed signals to our 
>troops and the enemy."
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