Will Dems go to the mat for this president? “When Nancy Pelosi delivered Barack Obama big victories in the House during his first term — from the passage of a sweeping health-care law to a controversial cap-and-trade bill, she relied on a band of her top lieutenants to ensure the caucus held together on the tough votes. But now, as she tries to rally House Democrats to authorize Obama to strike Syria, her closest allies aren’t squarely in her corner – never mind out shoring up votes.”
At this point, Dems don’t have much reason to go the extra mile for Obama. “Now, nearly nine months into the president’s second term, Obama is already developing the symptoms associated with lame duck syndrome. Most of Obama’s predecessors who were not wrestling with an unpopular war or a debilitating scandal had already or were on track to achieve their legacy accomplishments by this point in their second terms. But this president seems to be captive to events. Never having had the best relationship with Congress, Obama’s every effort to pass major legislative reforms has been stymied by unwilling allies and unhelpful adversaries. . . . As a result, Obama’s political capital is today greatly diminished.”
Obama really doesn’t want to go for broke on Syria. “Despite the high stakes, however, the president has not activated one of his most powerful tools of political persuasion to help him win approval for the strike: Organizing for Action.” it’s almost like his heart isn’t in it.
Maybe the president has figured out he will lose unless he decides to go all out. “President Obama has scrapped a planned two-day trip to Los Angeles early next week ahead of a congressional vote on a military strike against Syria. The cancellation of the trip suggests the urgency with which Obama needs to press his case to win approval from Congress for military action.”
House Dems are not willing to go beyond the call of duty (to the anti-war left, that is) for this president. “Facing the prospect of waging war against Syria unilaterally, President Obama belatedly gambled that Congress could give him some political cover for a risky decision. He’s not likely to get it, based on the initial reaction from House members from both parties. Despite the show of support from House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday afternoon, that’s not going to move many votes. Neither is putting any pressure on their members to vote for a military strike against Syria despite their personal support.”
For the sake of flattering the hard right, Rick Santorum would go all the way from Iran hawk to anti-war isolationist. “What is happening there is tragic, but it is not in the United States’ best interest to intervene with a military strike. I urge my former colleagues in the House and Senate to defeat any measure calling for the use of force in Syria.” A profile in presidential ambition.
The country had to go to hell and back, suffering through Jimmy Carter and recovering with Ronald Reagan. It looks like we’ll have to do it again: “[A] president who fails to see the power of perceptions . . . that lead men of ill will to the deployment of violence is a danger to any country of any size whatsoever — and a calamity in the case of a truly great power on whom the fate of us all must depend. We had a president like that for four years in the late 1970s, and now it appears that we have one again, another Nobel Peace Prize winner (mainly for platitudes); another false messiah . . . another man who believed in reducing the military. . . . We got over Carter, but it wasn’t easy. Let’s pray a new Reagan is there waiting in the wings.”