Prez Cuts Off Own Balls

And maybe the balls of future presidents…

With his announcement that he won’t do missile strikes in Syria in response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons without going to Congress for approval, President Obama is now effectively neutured for the rest of his term in both domestic and foreign policy.  If he can’t take this teeny, tiny step — which is not going to war with Syria — then he can’t do anything militarily without going to Congress.  He was already stymied on domestic stuff because of the filibuster in the Senate and the crazies in the House, and now he’s basically given up as Commander in Chief.  The Constitution calls for one Commander in Chief, not 536.

Whether or not we should intervene in Syria’s civil war is another question entirely.  This was simply Obama telling Assad that he was welcome to continue his civil war with impunity, he just couldn’t use chemical weapons.  This was about enforcing an almost hundred-year-old, broad international consensus against the use of chemical weapons.

As for the American people being war weary, look, using our military power comes with the territory of being an American, which most of you seem to enjoy.  If you don’t like it, there’s lots of places to cross the Canadian border.  Which maybe explains Ted Cruz’s attitude, since that’s where he’s from.  I myself would like to leave Afghanistan tomorrow, but I’m weary (and wary) of Hamid Karzai, which is not at all the same as being war weary.  But again, this isn’t about starting a new war, this isn’t at all analogous to sending 150,000 troops into Iraq.  This is the military equivalent of a “cup of coffee” in baseball.

So now he’s helped the Rand Paul-Ted Cruz wing of the GOP.  So now they’re laughing at us in Moscow, Damascus, and Tehran.

And how does he think he’s going to win this vote? If he’s counting on the “hawkish” Republicans, fuhgeddaboudit.  They’ll tell their constituents they voted no because the President didn’t want to do enough against Assad.  See McCain, John and Graham, Lindsey.   Plus losing the votes of those on the left and the libertarian right who don’t want to do anything against Assad.

You lost me today, Barry.  From now on, you’re only someone that I used to love.

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4 comments on “Prez Cuts Off Own Balls

  1. danielfee says:

    I totally disagree with you on this one. After our BBF’s the Brits smacked down Cameron, and the only international support we have gotten so far are France and Turkey, it would be a huge mistake to move forward with a strike at this time. If Obama went it alone without going to Congress then there is no doubt in my mind that we would be spending the next year on impeachment hearings. You already hear Republicans talking impeachment, including Obama’s friend Sen. Tom Coburn. They have got nothing. But a unilateral strike on his own would have given them something to sink their teeth into. Issa would have the scandal he has been looking for. By dragging Congress into this it does two things.
    1) provides Obama with more time to build the international coalition, and
    2) puts the Republicans, particularly the House Republicans in a put up or shut up position. There is no doubt that the Senate will support Obama in striking Syria. The wild card is the House. But if they won’t vote to support the President, the Republicans will loose all credibility as the “strong on defense” party.
    The Constitution clearly gives Congress the authority to declare War (yes, I know they haven’t done it since WW 2) and it is not clear to me that the War Powers Act gives the President the authority to strike when there is no immediate threat to us. Whether or not it does or doesn’t provide that authority to the president, there is no doubt in my mind that if Obama launched an attack without going to Congress we would have a Constitutional crisis and an impeachment. They were setting him up for that. Don’t you think he could see it coming?
    Another thing to consider; if a military action was taken without the Congress being forced to go on the record, then you could count on the House Republicans pushing to restore all of the defense sequester cuts and probably insisting on more domestic cuts for offsets. They will still try to restore the defense spending in the upcoming budget battle. But if they have voted for military action then Obama is in a position to demand they pay for it. A unilateral strike by the president would have given the Republicans everything they could have hoped for. They could look strong on defense by demanding the restoration of the defense spending and had their impeachment issue. The Prez didn’t cut off his own balls, he just grabbed the Congressional Republicans by theirs. Now he will start to squeeze.

    • There isn’t going to be an international coalition. All we had was France, and I’m sure they’re gone.
      I don’t think the thing will pass. Neither Boehner nor Pelosi is going to lobby for it. And the Prez is a terrible lobbyist for his own causes, not exactly an LBJ. And it’s not “put up or shut up” because those who vote no from the neo-con right as opposed to the libertarian right will just say it didn’t go far enough in terms of intervention.
      The GOP will see this first and foremost as a chance to weaken Obama — that’s more important to them than anything, even children killed by sarin gas.
      There’s no impeachment issue here.
      I don’t see this impacting the defense budget one way or the other.
      It’s not the GOP getting squeezed here.

  2. danielfee says:

    You may not think there is an impeachment issue, but that doesn’t matter. You are correct when you say the Republicans want to weaken Obama. But the best way to do that is to drag out an impeachment process. If Obama went it alone without going to Congress, while the polls showed that 80% of the people thought he should go to Congress first, then it would give the Republicans a running start on impeachment. Obama would be on the defensive trying to explain why he had the authority to act alone, trying to convince the American people to change their opinion. You are in the minority 20% on this one.
    Remember the Clinton years. There was nothing there in Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster. etc. but they kept investigating until something came up. (pun intended). Issa has tried to turn fast & furious, IRS, Benghazi into an impeachable scandal. With absolutely nothing they are still throwing the I-word around.
    I think most Americans are tired of the “cowboy” foreign policy of Bush Cheney. It sounds to me like you have bought into the right-wing framing that in order to be a “strong” president that he must make unilateral decisions. The neo-con Republicans will try to claim that Obama is weak because he didn’t follow the Dick Cheney school of foreign policy, but they won’t get very far when the majority of the country is predisposed to think going to Congress is the right procedure to follow.
    I think that it will pass in Congress, even the House. They need a little time to posture and then a majority of both parties will vote for a resolution. The anti-war left and the isolationist right will never vote for any resolution to use force no matter what. The Congress will place some restrictions, like no boots on the ground without prior Congressional approval, and this will satisfy the Democrats who want to support the president and the neo-cons who want to go even further. They will accept it as a first step hoping they can push it further later.
    Neither Boehner nor Pelosi is going to lobby for it “publicly.” But they will quietly behind the scene. I also think that by the time Obama gets back from the G-20 meeting, the UN will have issued some finding that will result in the British holding another vote and supporting a limited action.

  3. danielfee says:

    I was wrong, both Boehner and Pelosi came out publicly in support of a resolution.

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