Friday, February 09, 2007

Video and trancsript now available - Cantor/Iran/Stupidity

I will be sure to post the transcript and video as soon as they are available, but here is the rundown of what happened on Hardball with Chris Matthews tonight with "special" guest, Rep. Eric Cantor.

Update: Video
Update II: Transcript
Update III: Kos link
Cantor's "performance" last night is now getting more play on Daily Kos. Please rec and comment; we need to get this out in the MSM. Thanks.

Here's the "best" of Cantor, courtesy of the transcript now available from last evenings episode of Hardball:
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this war is—war, this word is being used like it‘s a regular war with an army against another army with the other side, you try to get them to capitulate. When we got to Berlin, we knew we won the war because the allied forces reached that city and overtook the capital of Nazi Germany and won. Hitler was dead, the top guys were hanged. And that was it, we know we won, because the bad guys gave up, they lost. We know the same thing happened in Japan because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Who has to surrender in Iraq for this war to end? Congressman Cantor, be specific. Who is the person who has to sign a surrender document? Who is this person?

CANTOR: I think your point is a good one. We‘re in a new wage war against an enemy unlike that which we‘ve had before. The enemy—you‘re right. There‘s a lot of enemies out there. We‘re in a long-term war with an irreconcilable wing of Islam, number one. We‘re at war certainly with the Sunni insurgents. We‘re at war with some of the Shias. Muqtada al-Sadr. And certainly, ultimately, the drivers, the funders. Those providing help and resources in rogue regimes such as that in Tehran. That‘s who we‘re at war with.

MATTHEWS: How many wars are we going to have to fight in our lifetime? You want to go to war with Iran now?

CANTOR: I‘m not saying we should take anything off the table.

MATTHEWS: Do you think we should go to war with Iran?

CANTOR: I don‘t think that‘s responsible for to us take that option off the table right now.

MATTHEWS: I‘m asking you, do you think we should go to war? Yes or no?

CANTOR: I think all options including the military option should be left on the table.

MATTHEWS: This isn‘t an option question. This isn‘t multiple choice. Right now, February 8, 2007, do you believe we should go to war with Iran?

CANTOR: I‘ll leave that decision up to the commanders on the ground and those in our military ...

MATTHEWS: Commanders on the ground whether we go to war with another country?

CANTOR: I will leave the decisions in the military arena to—this is exactly the point.

MATTHEWS: This is Barry Goldwater taking. He used to say that. Regional commanders can decide whether we want it use nuclear weapons. You‘re obviously saying soldiers should decide which country to go to war with.

CANTOR: I‘m here to say the military experts are those which might come up with the recommendation to the commander in chief that makes the decision. It is silly for us to expect.

MATTHEWS: I‘m not talking - I just asked you a very simple question.

CANTOR: We‘re going 535 commanders in chief.

MATTHEWS: I‘ve never heard of anything like this in my life. Never in my life.

ISRAEL: Congress has a constitutional responsibility to decide whether we‘re going to war or not. That‘s what we‘re elected to do. Those are the debates we should have.

CANTOR: Every president since.

MATTHEWS: The idea of declaring war as a soldier is unimaginable.

We‘ll be right back to talk HARDBALL with the two congressmen.


MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. We‘re back with Republican Congressman Eric Cantor to of Virginia and Democratic Congressman Steve Israel of New York.

Let me ask you Congressman Cantor, very clearly, to clear up our discussion, if the U.S. Congress were to discuss tomorrow morning whether to declare war on Iran, would you vote yay?

CANTOR: This congress is not going to do that because it‘s the commander in chief‘s role, Chris, and Steve knows that as well. It‘s not Congress that will ask for that. It is the commander in chief that will make that decision. Every president whether republican or Republican or Democrat since the War Powers Act was in place has interpreted it as being the commander in chief‘s role to do that.

MATTHEWS: Would you support the president if he declared war in Iran tomorrow morning? As things are right now.

CANTOR: I will support what is in the best interest of securing this homeland and providing our troops with what they need and if there is a threat on the ground in Iraq and in the region that our troops need us, I will support them and that‘s exactly the point on this Iraqi resolution because the Democrats want to have their cake and eat it, too. This is a nonbinding resolution. It‘s a sense of Congress. It doesn‘t mean anything. In fact it pollutes the message and sends the wrong message to our troops.

MATTHEWS: Congressman Israel, what‘s the role of Congress in war and peace?

ISRAEL: Congress under the Constitution of the United States authorizes war. The War Powers Act requires Congress to vote on whether we should insert troops into hostile situations. The law is clear.

CANTOR: Absolutely not.

ISRAEL: Come on, Eric.

CANTOR: As a commander in chief the constitution gives.

MATTHEWS: Congressman Cantor, why did the president ask for approval of Congress before he went to Iraq?

CANTOR: I certainly think his counsel gave him guidance why he need to do that but the Constitution gives the commander in chief the right to send our troops into battle.

MATTHEWS: Maybe when it comes to war we don‘t need a Congress according to that. Thank you very much Congressman Cantor, thank you Congressman Israel.
I think we can all agree that E.R.I.C. "Every Republican Is Crucial" Cantor is a fool who doesn't understand the Constitution of the United States of America. He desreves to lose his seat, and if he continues along with this kind of "intelligence", he probably will.

End Updates

The following, as we all know, is the law:
"The Congress shall have Power. . .To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water. . ."

--United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8
Rep. Cantor doesn't seem to know that rule, as he declared that a. only the President can declare war, and that he thinks that no option, INCLUDING WAR WITH IRAN, should be left off the table, and b. the soldiers in the field and on the ground should be the only ones to help the President determine whether or not the U.S. Army could invade Iran...

So, he doesn't know the law, he doesn't understand government, and he has no grasp of his own job as minority whip. He also apparently thinks that our brave troops have time to sit down with President Doofus to discuss Iran, while they take a break from what they are doing in Iraq, I presume.

Another embarrassment by the Virginia Republicans...


Blogger Dannyboy said...


This guy is out of his mind. Are Republicans really dumb enough to go to war with Iran? After all, theres some theories going around that the reason our carriers are in the golf is because they're fishing for some kind of trouble.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Catzmaw said...

Agreed, Dannyboy, as Webb said the other day, the reason we used to keep the Navy out of the gulf was to prevent incidents arising out of the tight quarters and shipping there. Now all the carriers there are almost bound to cause an incident which can be blown out of proportion into a deliberate Iranian provocation justifying commencement of military action. I think Webb put his finger on it very well and people should listen to his warning.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Riley, Not O'Reilly said...

It would seem that Iran has already declared war on us given that SecDef Gates just said that they have evidence that Iran is supplying the insurgents in Iraq with the IEDs that are killing our soldiers.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Phriendly Jaime said...


What, same comment on every blog that is covering this?

You must know how bad Cantor looks. You're right.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Ward Smythe said...

Congress has not officially declared war since World War II.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Phriendly Jaime said...

So it's ok that Cantor is less educated than the average 4th grader?

You're reaching....

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Terry said...

Eric Cantor knows nothing of foreign policy what so ever, and he proves it anytime he opens his mouth on the subject.

It's a shame he is the Congressman for my district too (although I'd hardly say he represents me).

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...


There's a certain sense of satisfaction when you see a guy make this much of a douche out of himself.

Just wow. In a sane country he would be ejected from office and have his G.E.D revoked.

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

God, I can't believe I moved from Jo-Ann "Country Crafts and Global War" Davis land for this.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Mosquito said...

Great Post Jaime

Cantor is crazy...Why do Virginians allow such ignorant extremists to represent them? The oath of a Congressman is USELESS with Cantor because he doesn't even know what the Constitution stands for.

Congress is the one with the authority to declare war, NOT the President and surely NOT a soldier...

Bush has already "unofficially" declared war on Iran and has been provoking them trying to get them to launch an attack so he'll have an excuse to start another disaster....Iraq part 2 in Iran....These people are CRAZY...We need folks who know how to work diplomacy not the extremist "LYING" thugs currently in the white house.

5:35 AM  
Blogger AnonymousIsAWoman said...

Shame on Eric Cantor for not knowing Civics 101. As a representative, he should know that it is Congress who would declare war, not the military.

Certainly, the president can, and has, gone to Congress to request war powers. But the president can't unilaterally order our troops to invade a country.

Even more important, generals can't order our troops to attack a country either. The military does not set foreign policy or declare wars, they implement the policy decisions of elected civilian leaders.

That to me is a large issue. How can somebody serve in Congress who doesn't even know what his own responsibilities should be?

3:48 PM  
Blogger Phriendly Jaime said...

How can somebody serve in Congress who doesn't even know what his own responsibilities should be?

Ha. Easy. Since when have FACTS deterred Republicans? ;)

Seriously though, E.R.I.C. needs to be at the top of our list of people who need to be voted out of their seat. It was hard to focus this year with the Senate election, but we have got to make this a top priority.

3:53 PM  
Blogger spankthatdonkey said...

No one wants the bloodshed of war, especially the warriors...

But that place is ruled by Islamic Leaders that make Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson look like boy scouts in terms of religious adherence..

I don't see the difference in Jimmy Carter championing human rights with rhetoric, and Eric Cantor simply rattling a sabre? (using a bully pulpit of a political talk show)

What about women's rights in Iran? They have a long, long way to go to catch up to Western Standards...

Plus the Iranians have given $$ to families who send their relatives to blow them selves up in the name of God? (killing innocent civilians)

Furthermore, evidence is being gathered that they are sending heavier explosives to Iraqi Shia bent on killing American Soldiers and Iraqi Civilians....

These religious zealouts are exporting mayhem.... while oppressing their own people.

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been out of town -- so I haven't had a chance to write on this subject.

But, since you have seen fit to quote from the Constitution, I am going to respond in more detail at some point very soon.

The President's powers to wage war are plenary. The weight of legal authority and precedent tells us that the President does not need Congressional authority to launch military strikes against Iran.

If Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons, they will use them. It cannot be allowed to happen.


1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted some of this on NLS...but here are some portions...

The text, structure and history of the Constitution establish that the Founders entrusted the President with the primary responsibility, and therefore, the power, to use military forces in situations when national security is in peril. Article II, Section 2 states that the "President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States...."

This section of the Constitution gives the President plenary power to use military fore in response to threats around the world. See Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U.S. 763,789 (1950) (holding that the President has authority to deploy United States armed forces abroad or to any particular region); see Loving v. U.S., 517 U.S. 748, 776 (1996) (acknowledging that the powers of the Commander in Chief are 'clearly extensive'); see also Maul v. U.S., 274 U.S. 501, 515-16 (1927); Mass. v. Laird, 451 F.2d 26, 32 (1st Cir. 1971) (holding that the President has the power to station forces abroad); see also Authority to Use U.S. Military Forces in Somolia, 16 Op. O.L.C. 6 (1992).

Indeed, as you can see, the weight of authority as propounded by the United States Supreme Court and Circuit Courts holds that the President's powers as Commander in Chief are plenary.

Thaddeus, you misread Article II and misunderstand the nature of a declaration of war. Declaring war is not tantamount to making war. Indeed, the Constitutional Convention specifically amended the working draft of the Constitution that had given Congress the power to "make" war. When it took up this clause on August 17, 1787, the Convention voted to change the clause from "make" to "declare." See 2 The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, at 318-319. Many of the Founders recognised that without the change, the Constitution would limit the President's ability to respond to emergency situations.

The Framing generation well understood that declarations of war were obsolete. No less than Alexander Hamilton noted that "the ceremony of a formal denunciation of war has of late fallen into disuse." See the Federal No. 25, at 133. Instead, of serving as authorization to begin hostilities, a declaration of war was only necessary to "perfect" a conflict under international law. Given this context, it is clear that Congress's power to declare war does not constrain a President's independent and plenary constitutional authority over the use of military force.

The United States Supreme Court is the final arbiter of Constitution -- not Congress.

Clearly, Congress has the power of the purse strings. Yet, the President is fully vested with authority to strike Iran with airstrikes should that become necessary.

If international efforts fail, military action will be necessary to prevent Iran from developing nuclear capability. When that day comes, who knows.

The issue of Iran's involvement in Iraq should not be confused with the issue of nuclear capability.

To deal effectively with Iran, we must continue with international pressure. However, we must also keep all options on the table.

Some American President, whether it be Bush, Clinton, McCain or Guliani will have to deal with Iran sooner or later.

All the best,

10:08 AM  

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