The AWOL commander-in-chief

The foundation of any such political case is simply this: The executive branch is designed to make the president singularly accountable. That is why he is the sole official in whom the Constitution vests all executive power — AFRICOM moves, or doesn’t move, based on his orders because it is his authority that the armed forces exercise. The chief executive, James Madison asserted, would be wholly “responsible for [the] conduct” of his subordinate officials. Therefore, it would “subject [the president] to impeachment himself, if he suffers them to perpetrate with impunity high crimes or misdemeanors against the United States, or neglects to superintend their conduct, so as to check their excesses.” When AFRICOM abstains from battle, or Lois Lerner obstructs an investigation, or Eric Holder misleads Congress, or Michael Morell doctors talking points, or Susan Rice serially lies on national television, Barack Obama is responsible. It is his bidding that they do, and by failing to fire or discipline them he implicitly endorses their malfeasance.

Outnumbered and fighting off wave after jihadist wave, Americans were left to die in Benghazi while administration officials huddled, not to devise a rescue strategy, but to spin the election-year politics. The most powerful and capable armed forces in the history of the world idled, looking not to their commander-in-chief but to a State Department that busied itself writing press releases about phantom Islamophobia. The president of the United States, the only constitutional official responsible for responding, was nowhere to be found.

We are left with four dead Americans, an emerging paper trail of dereliction stretching from Benghazi to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.