Keeping their distance. “Some of the Democrats least interested in lining up behind the president on Syria are the Democrats most likely to face a tough reelection campaign next year.”

(J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press) (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

There are miles to go and thousands of news cycles, but this suggests why Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is cuddling up to the far right. “The poll finds New Hampshire Republicans divided on who they want to see as their party’s nominee in 2016. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey leads the pack with 21 percent followed by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., with 16 percent. . . . This is a major step back for Rubio who took 22 percent in the Granite State poll back in February and 14 percent in an April one.”

Consider the widening gap between the campaigner and the president. “President Obama, speaking at the G-20 meeting in St. Petersburg earlier today, reminded me of an investment banker trying to sell a deal he doesn’t believe in. The customer
knows it. Halting. Hesitant. Uncertain. Uncomfortable. That’s what Mr. Obama’s statement and body language had to say. On the verge of a potentially huge defeat on the Syrian question in Congress, the President is in a box. He’s looking for a way out, but he can’t find one.”

Republicans should run from crazy arguments and nonsense sources, whatever side they are on regarding Syria. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) defends accusing Syrian action by the United States of acting as “al-Qaeda’s air force.” He said (I kid you not): “What I can tell you is that actual line initially was said by Dennis Kucinich.  And where I saw it after that was a current naval sailor who tweeted and said I didn’t sign up to serve as al-Qaeda’s air force.” Matters of war determined by Kucinich and Twitter? Good golly.

Some conservatives don’t shy away from a fight with gadfly right-wingers. “Most Republican lawmakers cower before the freshman senator because they are afraid to offend his tea party followers. But not Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a second-term Republican from Illinois who as an Air Force pilot served three tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan and is now in the Air National Guard.” He doesn’t appreciate Sen. Ted Cruz’s “al-Qaeda’s air force” shot.

This isn’t so far off  Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s amendment of the Syria resolution. Chief of staff Denis McDonough says, “There is no doubt that this military action will degrade [Bashar al-Assad’s] capability and it will send a very clear signal. We’ve seen now indications that for these several weeks since we’ve been having this debate in this country, the Syrians are on high alert. When they’re on high alert, worrying about what’s going to happen to them, it erodes their capability to attack the opposition. It erodes their capability to carry out these heinous attacks. That’s in our interests.”

It is essential for Israel not to have a chunk of its population separate itself from civic obligations. “As it turns out, rigorous observance of traditional Jewish law and a  determination to keep popular culture and contemporary moral sensibilities at  bay needn’t negate citizenship in a modern nation-state. Indeed, beneath the  radar screens of the majority of Israelis, encouraging trends can be discerned.  They bespeak a small, but noteworthy, Israelization of the ultra-Orthodox.” Read the whole thing.