During the Congressional hearings on the U.S. getting involved with Syria Senator Rand Paul told Secretary John Kerry that, “we play Constitutional theater for the President.”
Madison was very explicit, when he wrote the Federalist papers, he wrote that history supposes, or the constitution supposes what history demonstrates is that the executive is the branch most likely to go to war and therefore the constitution vested that power in the Congress. It is explicit throughout all of Madison’s writings. This power is a Congressional power and it is not an executive power. They didn’t say big war, small war. They didn’t say boots on the ground, not boots on the ground. They said declare war.
Ask the people on the ships launching the missiles if they are involved in war or not. If we do not say that the constitution applies, if we do not say explicitly that we will abide by this vote, you’re making a joke of us. You’re making us into theater. We play constitutional theater for the president. If this is real, you will abide by the verdict of Congress. You’re probably going to win. Just say it is real and let’s have a real debate in this country and not a meaningless debate that in the end you lose and say, ‘oh well, we had the authority anyway, we’re going to go ahead and go to war anyway.’