Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) is right to call on President Obama to follow the War Powers Act vis-a-vis Libya but for all the wrong reasons, namely political opportunism. If the president folds over the use of force in Libya, Boehner and Co. get to portray him as weak. If President Obama decides to either fight or ignore them, it is an opportunity to show him as either guilty of recklessness, contempt of the rule of law, power mongering or all of the above as part of their warmup for the 2012 election. The War Powers Act has been a flog with which the majority party in Congress can beat an other-party president since it was enacted over Richard Nixon's veto in 1973. Democrats have used the act to their advantage with presidents Reagan and both Bush's and Republicans used it on President Clinton.
Perhaps it is the simplicity of the act that leads both Congress and presidents to abuse this law; it simply requires that the President get the permission from Congress to enter troops into hostilities that last longer than 60 days. What defines hostilities is left for interpretation and therefore manipulation. The Obama administration has argued that we are not engaged in hostilities because there are no US troops on the ground and, because of our battlespace dominance, there is no serious threat to our aircrew and craft. That kind of Clintonesque parsing of terms doesn't help make the case that our support of Libyan rebels is a just and worthy cause and diminishes the perception of danger that our pilots face as they fly missions in defense of rebel forces.
Over at The National Review, Victor Davis Hanson wrote, that if three years ago, someone had predicted that “Yale Law Dean (and now State Department Legal Counsel) Harold Koh and then–Senator Obama ...would be crafting legalistic and sophistic arguments to justify bombing an Arab Middle Eastern oil-exporting country that did not pose a threat to either the U.S. or the region (Gaddafi is no Saddam) while circumventing congressional oversight, he would have been considered quite unhinged,” and he is correct.
President Obama should skip the sophistry and put the Libyan War to Congress for approval. None of the chickenhawks in Congress would dare vote against it and there isn't enough real opposition to stop such a move.