Skip to comments.Pelosi scrambling, if not whipping, for House Democratic votes on Syria
Posted on 09/04/2013 1:44:17 PM PDT by neverdem
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has launched an aggressive campaign designed to maximize Democratic support for President Obamas proposal for U.S. military strikes on war-torn Syria.
The California Democrat emphasized Tuesday that she and other Democratic leaders would not twist arms with a formal whip of a Syria vote. But in a press conference at the White House, and then in a letter sent to all her troops, Pelosi is laying out a very public case for intervention with an unequivocal humanitarian message aimed to rally wary Democrats behind their president.
It is in our national interest to respond to the Syrian governments unspeakable use of chemical weapons, Pelosi wrote in her Dear Colleague letter. Indeed, it has been, and remains, a core pillar of our national security under Democratic and Republican administrations to prevent, limit, and halt the spread and use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
This is a matter of national, regional, and global security, she added.
The remarks come as a number of liberal Democrats are warning that U.S. intervention would do little to help the civilian victims of Syrias yearslong civil war or unseat the regime of President Bashar Assad. Instead, the critics say another military operation in the Middle East would simply fritter away taxpayer dollars better spent on humanitarian aid to Syria and projects at home.
Were in a situation where were not going to do anything thats going to do any good, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said Tuesday in an interview with CNN. No one in the administration says this will cause regime change, this attack thats being contemplated. No one in the administration is even saying it will prevent Assad from using chemical weapons again. Theres no contemplation that any attack that we launch will end the civil war.
I feel bad about it, Grayson added, but sometimes you have to recognize your own limitations. Otherwise, its hubris.
Pelosi conceded that she wont get every Democrat on board Some wont ever be comfortable with it, she said but shes hoping emerging evidence about Assads alleged chemical attacks will convince on-the-fence Democrats that intervention is necessary.
On these kinds of issues, its not a question of whipping, its a question of discussion to make sure that people have the information that they need to make an informed decision, to make sure that they have the full value of the intelligence that says this is how this happened, she said, following a meeting with Obama and congressional leaders.
And then members have to decide, are they willing ... to ignore the fact that this humanitarian disaster took place or not?
Pelosi also argued that the president has the authority to intervene in Syria even if Congress votes against the authorization hes requested. That puts the Democratic leader at odds with more than 50 liberal Democrats in her camp, who penned a letter to Obama last week warning that any strikes without congressional approval would be unconstitutional.
While we understand that as Commander in Chief you have a constitutional obligation to protect our national interests from direct attack, Congress has the constitutional obligation and power to approve military force, the lawmakers wrote.
The debate puts Pelosi in somewhat of a tough spot, as the Democratic leader has often touted Democratic opposition to the Iraq War as a central distinction between the parties. Now, with a Democratic president urging Congress to authorize an unpopular attack in the same region, Obama is counting on Pelosi to deliver the votes.
Pelosi got a good deal of political cover on Tuesday, when Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) both endorsed Obamas desire to use force against Assad.
America has a compelling national security interest to prevent and respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction, especially by a terrorist state such as Syria, and to prevent further instability in a region of vital interest to the United States, Cantor said in a statement.
Still, even some Democratic leaders are withholding their endorsement of a new military campaign. Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), for instance, said Tuesday that he wants more information before deciding how to vote.
Issues of war & peace require thoughtful consideration, Clyburn tweeted. I reserve judgment on Syria until a resolution and more details are forthcoming.
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), head of the Congressional Black Caucus, has also yet to take a position, her office said Tuesday.
Much will likely depend on the scope of the authorization language. Indeed, many Democrats have been critical that the resolution proposed by the White House over the weekend is too broad.
In response, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) is crafting alternative language to narrow the powers granted to the White House, his office said Tuesday.
“We have to pass the resolution so you can see what’s in it”
A vote for this is a vote for WW3.
Democrats always start the big wars.
Thought this was one of yours.
Do the democrats want to put the war on the credit card as they claimed W did?
Is this a war for oil?
Show me the WMD’s.
Alan, please don't make me have to use this . . .
Interesting article, but seriously, “Pelosi” and “whip” do not belong in the same sentence...
They know they have the Senate.
The fight will be in the House.
With Boner and Red Nancy in charge, I hold out very little hope.
Pelosi is so f***ing nuts, she makes Alan Grayson sound sane.
Her Troops?! Isn’t weird how the ANTI-WAR LEFT sure loves to use military terminology when it suits them.
Takes a whole lot of crazy to do that...
Pelosi is trying to determine which democrats are to be sacrificed at the
alter of WW3.
But wait!! She had to get counseling from one of her strongest advisors. Top three threads:
Nothing was found. Literally: nothing.
Implications, implications about women and children as victims. If that doesn’t work, the issue of rape is used to convince Democrats in favor of military action (see Bosnia).
Pelosi scrambling to ensure the killing of Syrian Catholics and the endengerment of Israelis by the Jihadis she is supporting
Not one democrat will lose his or her seat over their vote. Nor will many republicans.