The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

A vote of no confidence is in order

What with our president having received the Nobel Peace Prize and leading us in a pivot to Asia, I guess the White House wants to pretend that the humiliating debacle America is suffering — in front of the world — isn’t happening. What’s wrong with asking Congress for authorization to go to war? The Obama apologencia will tell us it is what the president meant to do all along. They will tell us things are going according to plan. What’s the rush? But no, for the first time ever, an American president is saying, “The buck does NOT stop here.”

The president is a spent force, both domestically and internationally. Congress should help by voting to cut our losses; it should resist opening the door to the uncertain consequences of a military campaign conducted, without conviction or clear purpose, by this commander in chief. If Republicans can limit the president’s authority to wander and blunder on the world stage, there is a moral obligation to do so.

Of course Syria should be viciously punished for using chemical weapons, but who trusts this president to do so in such a way that also sends a clear message to Iran? No one does. Why would they? Better to leave Iran with a modicum of doubt than let them witness any more of the tepid uncertainty, lack of conviction or absence of moral clarity from President Obama.

The only thing worse than no response from America is a floundering response, so Congress should stop it while they can. We don’t need to go through the half-hearted lobbying effort in Congress, which will just underscore the incompetence and incapabilities of this administration. Republicans should vote to end this disaster now.  A vote of no confidence is in order.

The problem is that we have serious problems that require an able president both at home and abroad. It is too soon for our president to be a marginalized lame duck. Doing nothing is one thing, but doing harm by not properly wielding the power a president holds is another.

The only possible remedy — and one that is probably impossible for this president’s ideology or ego to allow — would be for him to demand that Congress return early from their summer break, deliver a prime-time speech before a joint session, win the vote and then unleash a blistering punishment. This is probably the only way to salvage some of the president’s credibility and give Iran pause.

Unless the members of the national security team who surround Obama are so addicted to the personal grandeur and perks of office, surely someone will resign rather than be a part of the humiliation and harm this president is doing.

It is too early to take today’s headlines and extrapolate out to the next election; and national security issues don’t drive votes. I’ve resisted making 2014 election predictions, except to acknowledge that the natural midterm political cycle in 2014 favors Republicans. Fourteen months is a lifetime in politics blah blah blah, but the tectonic plates are beginning to shift and the first sign of a wave election could be forming. If the big issues of peace and prosperity are going to matter, what do the Democrats have to say for themselves?

What aspect of the economy instills confidence — never mind enthusiasm — for the future? Where in the world is America stronger as a result of the Obama presidency? Nothing is getting better for the Democrats.