Posted on | September 5, 2013 | 46 Comments
Governing is so much harder than campaigning:
Chris Matthews of MSNBC, who served on Capitol Hill for years as a top Democratic aide, put the party’s dilemma in stark terms on Wednesday: “I think the Democrats are going to be forced to sacrifice men and women who really, really don’t want to vote for this. They’re going to have to vote for it to save the president’s hide. That’s a bad position to put your party in.”
In its lobbying effort to get support for military intervention in Syria, the Obama administration now has one clear target: the left. Yesterday, per the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, White House officials held a conference call with House progressives. Today, Secretary of State John Kerry chats with liberal bloggers, and he also sits down for an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. Here’s the logic behind the effort: Locking down House Democratic — and liberal — votes allows the White House to go back to House Speaker John Boehner to get the remainder of available Republican votes. But the White House will have to deliver a large share of Democratic votes. And consequently, we can report that momentum is growing for President Obama to address the nation in a primetime speech. If Democrats — many of whom were elected in the aftermath of Iraq — are going to have to cast a tough vote for military intervention, they’re going to need cover from Obama.
What’s amazing is that Obama has turned what should have been a simple decision into this grinding ordeal. If all we’re talking about is lobbing some missiles at Damascus, Obama could have ordered that and explained it later. George W. Bush would not have hesitated.
It’s like, you never ask your wife for permission to go play poker. You tell your wife you’re going to go play poker — or, perhaps, you don’t even tell her, you just go, and explain it later.
But because Obama wanted to give the appearance of acting on behalf of a coalition — in the name of “the international community” — he has turned this into a huge drama. I’m not in favor of attacking Syria (and according to a survey of conservative bloggers by John Hawkins, I’m not alone in my opposition), but either you do it or you don’t.
This drawn-out phony “debate” is just annoying. It looks weak, and weakness is synonymous with failure in foreign policy. Anyway, here are the latest headlines:
The “no’s” keep piling up on
Syria resolution in the House
– Washington Post
Do it or don’t, but stop all this hand-wringing. Ali Akbar and I discussed Syria, among other things, in a two-hour podcast Wednesday.