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Confidence v. No Confidence

It looks like we’re on the “confidence” theme this week. I admit that I came down pretty hard on Paul Vallely in my article, “Former general confuses US with UK,”  mocking his call for a vote of “no confidence” on President Obama in the House of Representatives. Granted, I correctly noted that such a vote has no legal significance, but I did not fairly label it what it really is, a political ploy. (The idea that a vote by a majority of the Republican-controlled House would result in an Obama resignation is  ludicrous.) In this country, the political party in power governs, and the opposition tries to get them out. And those out of power in Washington today use every trick they can to make the Obama Administration look bad, and this “vote of no confidence” scheme should be viewed as what it is, politics.

One of the reasons that I wanted to back off a little on the current “no confidence” move is that it is not just something that right-wing nut jobs cooked up in their anti-Obama program. The other side tried the same gambit when it was the Bush administration in power. Turn the clock back to May of 2007 and read this from Think Progress:

Last week, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) called on the Senate to hold a no-confidence vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The White House and its conservative allies quickly derided the vote, calling it “nothing more than a meaningless political act.” This morning on Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called it a “gotcha game.”

So what happened with that move? A resolution of no confidence was introduced, but even though  53 Senators voted to debate the issue (38 opposed), it fell shy of the 60-vote supermajority necessary to fend off a Republican filibuster. Although the “no confidence” vote was not held, Gonzalez did resign (for more on this controversial figure, check out the Wikipedia).

Folks like me on the Internet try to get good information, but we don’t govern the country, or try legal cases. If I make a mistake, the only consequence is a little hit on my credibility. When it comes to members of Congress, they have to make real decisions that affect real people, and their standard of correctness must needs be far higher than mine. When Congress needs a legal opinion, they may seek guidance from the Congressional Research Service, an arm of the Library of Congress, and that’s exactly what some did in 2007 regarding the “no confidence” question, resulting in the production of this report: “No Confidence” Votes and Other Forms of Congressional Censure of Public Officials from June of 2007.

The report concludes (in part):

Aside from obvious symbolic, political or publicity implications, there are no specific legal consequences in the passage of such a resolution, nor is there any legal significance or consequence for the Senate or the House to choose one phrase of disapprobation or condemnation over another, or to include or not to include the concept or expression of a loss of “confidence” in an official.

The report is of particular interest in its tabulation of historical resolutions of this type, going back to 1973.

Former general confuses US with UK

My heart goes out to the victims of dementia and their families. I’m not a real doctor, and I don’t make psychiatric diagnoses on the Internet, but there certainly seems to be something wrong with retired major general, Fox News military analyst Paul Vallely and frequent source at WorldNetDaily.

Vallely started having memory problems as early as 2005, regarding some probably imaginary conversations about Valerie Plame. In that instance, he could just have been lying, but no one lies when everybody knows what they are saying is false, and this is exactly what we see in a blog post last month from Vallely, on his Stand Up America blog. Plain and simple, Vallely’s plan to get Obama out of the White House is to hold a “vote of no confidence” in the US House of Representatives.

While the necessity of confidence in the executive by the UK House of Commons is a fundamental requirement of the British Constitution, we don’t do that in the United States.  He also seems to be having some delusional thoughts about the President’s birth certificate. This is an editorial comment at the Stand Up America blog, which has Vallely’s name on the masthead:

By now, even the most ardent nay-sayer of so-called ‘Birthers’ must admit, this Obama document fraud issue, and ignoring the eligibility question stinks to the high heavens. In the privacy of their own abodes they surely must admit it when they look in the mirror in the morning.

His articles attract the usual rabid birthers and usurper haters as commenters.

Vallely is confused. Poor fellow.

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