If you’re not using the presidency, do you mind if we borrow it?
It is the president’s job—in fact, it is his primary job—to choose strategies for countering the various threats that arise around the world. In the case of Ukraine and the Islamic State, he’s had months to think about it and weigh options. Russia annexed Crimea in March, and ISIS overran Mosul in early June, nearly three months ago. But instead Obama spent his time golfing and fundraising and downplaying the threats, so that only now is he beginning the task of thinking about them.
The Constitution allows Congress to remove a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Does that allow us to remove him for simple abdication of the responsibilities of his office? Certainly, Congress needs to begin taking these issues in its own hands and doing as much as they can to lay down markers for what they think the president ought to do. But for better or worse, in our system they have little power to force the commander-in-chief’s hand.
If only it were so simple to borrow the executive authority he has dropped, because someone needs to address our foreign policy crises if the man elected to the job won’t do it.