Monday, September 02, 2013


Politico on the president's decision to ask for a congressional vote on Syria:
The upside to a win: Obama could get some of his juice back, both at home and abroad, and Congress would co-own the fallout if anything goes wrong in Syria.
I'm sure you've read many variations on that "co-own" bit -- usually in the form of "Congress will co-own the outcome regardless of the vote." I just don't believe it's true -- it certainly won't be true if Obama loses the vote and launches an attack anyway, and I don't think it will be true even if Obama abides by the results of the vote.

What group of Americans is going to be upset at Congress if it votes down an attack, Obama stands down, and Assad's abuses increase? Americans are sick of war. To use the phrase Frank Rich started using in the waning years of the Bush administration, Americans have tuned out war -- this war, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, whatever. Average Americans don't like the wars and feel powerless to alter their course. They can't figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, who's on our side (is anybody?) and who's a dangerous enemy. Whatever happens in Syria will just seem like more of that muddle.

And if there's an attack on Syria, most Americans will associate it exclusively with the administration. The president isn't going to announce the beginning of the attack in a prime-time speech flanked by John Boehner and Harry Reed. Members of Congress aren't going to be briefing reporters on how the attacks are going -- that's going to fall to John Kerry and Chuck Hagel and other members of the Executive Branch.

If there's a real benefit for Obama and Democrats, it might be that a vote to endorse the attack will make crazy-base Republicans even angrier and more determined to root out "RINOs" (yes, supporting military action now make you a "RINO"), which means even more energy devoted to primarying fellow Republicans. Some Republican voters may succeed in making some Republican officeholders "co-own" any attack.

But there'll be a dozen hot-button issues between the time the bombs stop dropping and November 2014, so I think even that effect will be limited. Remember, we have Obamacare kicking off, and Republicans have a government they want to shut down or drive into default. That's going to mean much, much more in next year's elections.


Ten Bears said...

Again, it occurs that "make the crazy-base even angrier and more determined" is the plan. An irrequivical demonstration of the white dogs' obstructionism. Everybody loves War... except the Republicans when there is a half white dog running the show. Not a bad plan, really, a bit extreme but under the circumstances...

No fear.

Victor said...

Sadly, you're probably right, Steve.

But tell me, "Oh Great Harbinger of Doom, Despair, and Agony on Me- You, and Everyone," how long has it been since you're had a POSITIVE vibe? ;-)

I'm with @Ten Bears on this - if all this accomplishes is to help the Republican Party keep tearing apart at the seems, then there IS something positive in at least that.

It'll be kind of fun watching the people who'd normally never turn down an opportunity to brown some brown Muslim people, try to explain to the part of their base who wants to brown Muslim people, for no other reason than that they're brown Muslim people, why they're not going to bomb the Syrian brown Muslim people, because our brown "Muslim" President, wants to bomb them, too.

There could be some major head explosions.

Victor said...


Kent oui gat "Edit," pleeze???

Victor said...

Also too - OY! OY!

"...people who'd normally never turn down an opportunity to BOMB some..."

Not "brown some."

Though, we did do some of that, when we bombed Tokyo and Dresden during WWII.
Most burned to a crisp, but I'm sure at least some of the bodies were only 'browned.'

White Hat said...

"Average Americans... can't figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys..."

True. Average Americans are only fed spin. Good information is "intel," usually classified.

I suspect Average Syrians don't have the same problem, though. No matter which side of the rebellion they line up on, giving The Great Satan a foothold in their country can't seem like a good idea. Not after all the mayhem and murder we caused in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen.

Ten Bears said...

That's pretty much all we're good for: browning brown people.

At Israel's behest.

No fear.