September 9, 2013

The news this afternoon is that a plan for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to international groups, which apparently began as an offhand remark from Secretary of State John Kerry, has picked up momentum from the Russians and others. Will peace break out after all? No way to know. But it does add yet another complication to the ongoing fight in Congress (as well as a reminder that the main game going on here is one of international relations, not one of Barack Obama’s presidency).

1. More breaking news, from Robert Costa: Obama is attending the Republican Senate lunch tomorrow.

2. As Jennifer Bendry notes, add that to meeting with Democratic senators and delivering a prime-time speech, and it’s a busy day for the president.

3. Back to the Kerry/Russia scenario: Read political scientist James Fearon for a good analysis of why the administration should move forward with it (and plenty more about the conflict).

4. As for the consequences of Congress’ vote on Syria: Brian Beutler had a good post this morning arguing that it won’t really matter to the rest of Obama’s agenda.

5. While Ezra Klein echoes what Beutler (and Greg) were saying and also makes the key point that going to Congress is worthwhile because it generates information for the president.

6. Alex Massie on Kerry’s promise of an “unbelievably small” strike on Syria.

7. George Edwards III explains why Barack Obama’s speech tomorrow night won’t move public opinion.

8. I agree — but I explain why he will do it anyway, and why it’s good that he does. Combine the two pieces for an overview of everything you need to know about high-profile presidential speeches.

9. Steve Benen notes that the House Crazy Caucus went to Egypt and said a bunch of irresponsible, inaccurate and generally nutty things. The problem, of course, is that these are real-live members of the House of Representatives, and not everyone knows that they are massively irresponsible. Worth noting that the rest of the House Republican conference provides approximately zero disincentives for this sort of thing, and outside Republican-aligned groups actively encourage it.

10. “Obama administration to Congress: We’re tired of your dumb Obamacare questions.” Sarah Kliff explains.

11. Seth Masket: Colorado Republicans couldn’t find any examples of “impersonation” voter fraud, so one of them provided an example. They couldn’t find any, of course, because impersonation voter fraud basically isn’t a thing.

12. And Jordan Weissman on the House Republicans and their latest plan to slash SNAP even deeper.