Quote of the Day

“Legislators are not arguing between preferred policy options, as they would on issues such as health care or welfare. They are deciding if they will send the chief executive into the world with his hands tied behind his back. This would be more than the repudiation of the current president; it would be the dangerous weakening of the presidency.

“A limited military strike may be symbolic. But for Congress to block that strike would be more than symbolic. It would undermine a tangible element of American influence: the perception that the commander in chief is fully in command.

“The refusal to authorize force would be taken as an ideological pivot point. Nations such as China, Russia and Iran would see this as the triumph of a political coalition between the peace party of the left and the rising isolationists of the right. And they would be correct. The strategic calculations of every American enemy and friend would be adjusted in ways that encourage challenge and instability.

“I would prefer to defend a form of internationalism less conflicted and hesitant than President Obama’s [Me too!]. But even so, it is better than the alternative of seriously compromising the credibility of the presidency itself. And those who claim that this credibility has already reached bottom are lacking in imagination.”

Michael Gerson, “A stand for Syria — and Obama,” WaPo

Senate Foreign Relations Approves Syria Resolution

The vote was 10-7.

Dems voting for — Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Barbara Boxer of California, Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Christopher Coons of Delaware, Dick Dubin of Illinois, Tim Kaine of Virginia.

Dems voting against — Tom Udall of New Mexico, Christopher Murphy of Connecticut.  That profile in courage from Massachusetts, Ed Markey, voted Present.

GOP/Tea Party voting for — John McCain of Arizona, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Bob Corker of Tennessee

GOP/Tea Party voting against — Rand Paul of Kentucky, James Risch of Idaho, Marco Rubio of Florida, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, and John Barrasso of Wyoming.

The resolution gives the president up to 90 days to act against Syria and prohibits ground troops, except for a small rescue mission in case of emergency.

“Utter Revulsion” Is an Emotion, Not a Policy

“I accept that Britain can’t be part, and won’t be part, of any military action on that front but we must not in any degree give up our utter revulsion at the chemical weapons attacks that we have seen and we must press this point in every forum that we are a member.”

British P. M. David Chamberlain Cameron

You’ve gone all wobbly, David.  What would Maggie say?

GOP Leaders Not on Same Page

So far, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have come out in support of the President’s proposed Syria missile strike, but Senate  Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, dealing with a Tea Party challenge in his re-election campaign, has not.

McConnell is obviously afraid of straying from Rand Paul.  I think we know who is really the senior senator from Kentucky!

We Could Have Been Done Here

Instead of just beginning an unnecessary fight at home, the President could have finished up his piddling, slap-on-the-wrist strikes on Syria today and headed off to Sweden and Petersburg tomorrow.

The country could have started to focus on the fast-approaching budget and debt ceiling deadlines.

If the President believed he had the authority to strike Syria (and he clearly does), he should have used it.  Especially because this Congress is the worst in my memory in terms of being jam packed with the crazy and the ignorant.  I mean, you have Tea Party congressmen arguing that a default would improve the credit rating of the United State.

You don’t rush to this Congress expecting a rational response, you do end runs around it.  The Tea Party these reps evoke isn’t Boston Harbor, it’s Alice in Wonderland.

I don’t feel sorry for Obama — he knows where the rabbit hole is, but instead of taking care not to fall down it, he’s jumped right into it.  And taken all of us with him.


Setting the Stage for U. S. Missile Strikes

Secretary of State John Kerry says Assad definitely used chemical weapons:

“What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality.  Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable. The meaning of this attack goes beyond the conflict in Syria itself. That conflict has already brought so much terrible suffering. This is about the large-scale indiscriminate use of weapons that the civilized world long ago decided must never be used at all.”

The Magic Red Line Reappears

Remember when Obama said that if Syria’s President Assad used chemical weapons against his own people, it would be a “red line” and the U. S. would do, um, something?  Remember when Assad used those forbidden chemical weapons, and O went all Emily Litella on us and said “never mind”?

Well, the red line is back.  The White House says that Assad used sarin gas, and we are now going to give weapons to the rebels, but just the good rebels, not the radical Islamist rebels.  Good luck with that.

We’ve been getting them some arms unofficially, so now it will be done openly and on a larger scale.

And we’re at war with Russia and Iran, by proxy.

That “Red Line” Was an Ad-Libbed Line

When President Obama said that the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Civil War would cross a “red line,” he did so in an unplanned, unscripted way, taking his advisers by surprise.

One thing that’s gotten lost in the apparent use of small amounts of chemical weapons and the President’s efforts to back away from the “red line” comment is that he did say “large quantities,” meaning an event with mass casualties.  But that’s not much of an excuse because really you either have a problem with the use of chemical weapons or you don’t.

The president clearly got ahead of himself when he talked of that “red line” last August, and he may find himself now pushed into actions he really doesn’t want to take.

But no president should use phrases like “red line” or “line in the sand” or anything unequivocal like that as casually and carelessly as it seems this president did.  An adviser or cabinet member or senator can shoot his mouth off and back track, but when the commander in chief does, he’s stuck with either following through or losing credibility.  This was an unforced error that might initiate a long string of them.  I don’t see the wisdom in helping a bunch of Islamic extremists.

Assad Paints Obama into a Corner with His Red Line

President Obama said that if Syria’s Bashar Assad used chemical weapons, that would be crossing a “red line” for the U. S.  Well, now it seems that Assad has used sarin, and Obama needs to put up or shut up.

Not just Republicans like John Boehner, John McCain, and Buck McKeon (Chairman of the House Armed Services Committees) are saying the Prez needs to do something or look weak, Dem Sen. Dianne Feinstein is too.