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Obama bets big on attacking Syria
The Hill ^ | 09/09/13 06:00 AM ET | Justin Sink

Posted on 09/09/2013 3:41:26 AM PDT by onyx



The fate of President Obama’s second term hangs on his Tuesday speech to the nation about Syria.


If Congress votes against a military attack on President Bashar Assad’s regime, Obama’s credibility may be shot, perhaps for the rest of his tenure. At a minimum, it would cement the idea that he is weak in Washington, let alone worldwide.

Ever since his surprising announcement on Aug. 31 that he would seek Capitol Hill’s approval for a strike on Syria, votes have piled up against the idea, especially in the House.

The president might yet turn the tide. But, if he does not do so, experts say the damage would be far reaching. “If he loses this vote, not only is he flummoxed in domestic policy but he’s frustrated in what he wants to do on foreign policy,” said Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “It would be kind of shocking to the political system.”

Syria could be Obama’s Hurricane Katrina, condemning him to irrelevance at the same point as his predecessor, in the first September of his second term. Humiliation would come just as Obama is girding to battle Republicans over raising the federal debt ceiling, funding the government, implementing ObamaCare and pushing an immigration bill through the House.

His leverage in those fights stems from his reelection and a Democratic caucus that has found political advantage in supporting his agenda.

But he is out on a limb over Syria. Nearly 60 percent of the public opposes a military strike, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll last week.

If Congress rebuffed his request for support, it would compound defeats he has already suffered this year on gun control and on an economic plan that never gained traction despite Obama’s nationwide campaigning this summer.

“Politics is a lot like sports — momentum matters,” said Democratic strategist Tad Devine. “If you get good positive momentum, you can achieve your goals. But if you lose, then you start going backwards. For the president, he starts off with all the indicators being there won’t be a lot of support, and if he wins this it will be by the narrowest of margins, so it’s very risky.”

A presidential loss would embolden House Republicans already disinclined to give ground in autumn’s battles.

“It would be a tremendous blow to the president’s legacy that ...Congress refuses his request for an authorization to act on the world stage,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean. “We’re in uncharted territory. He’d have a weakened hand and be seen as a weak leader going into a very hard fight.”

The president himself acknowledged Friday that he “knew this was going to be a heavy lift.” He was aware, he said, that he was “elected to end wars and not start them,” and he ruefully conceded that he had a “pretty good sense” of how unpopular strikes would be.

“I understand the skepticism,” Obama said. “I think it is very important, therefore, for us to work through systematically making the case to every senator and every member of Congress, and that is what we’re doing.”

Tuesday’s televised address from the White House will be crucial. It will be the administration’s closing argument after a week courting lawmakers.

While traveling in Europe this week, Obama has worked the phones, calling lawmakers that the White House sees as critical to securing a winning coalition. He canceled a Monday fundraising trip to Los Angeles, and a White House aide said he would use the time instead to make his case.

Vice President Biden gave a dinner for a dozen Republican senators on Sunday to discuss the Syria authorization resolution. White House chief of staff Dennis McDonough will meet the House Democratic caucus on Tuesday.

Obama will find it hard to convince the public that a military attack on Syria is justified and important to their security, Devine said, adding, “It has to be tangible and persuasive and emotive to change minds and get people invested, and that’s what’s necessary to break through.”

Another element of that effort is the president’s decision to give interviews to six major TV networks on Monday.

Democrats say the White House’s strategy is high risk, but also high reward.

If Obama succeeds, he’ll have the authority of a wartime president, and a major victory headed into budget negotiations. So the outreach effort to lawmakers, who often complain that the White House is standoffish, could also pay dividends.

“You could see the political tension ease a bit because you’ve had the president dealing with [House Speaker John] Boehner, dealing with some of the Republican leadership on Syria,” said Democratic strategist Doug Thornell. “They aren’t going to be entering the debate on the debt ceiling and funding the government after several months of not dealing with one another.”

Moreover, Obama’s bets are partly hedged by the willingness of top Republicans, including Boehner (Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), to support him. “It’s not just the president who has skin in the game here,” Thornell said.

Still, it is Obama who has the most to lose. Boehner and Cantor said they would not whip on the Syrian resolution, and a big loss in the House would be seen as a defeat for Obama, not for them.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said Obama’s leverage in the looming fiscal fights would suffer if Congress shoots down the Syria resolution.

“If Obama doesn’t come into those debates with some momentum,” Moran said, then “the Republicans will have the upper hand.”

“He’s got to have some leverage and he’s got to be able to use the bully pulpit on those issues,” Moran said Friday in a phone interview. “It’s not just his status with Congress, it’s his status with the public.”


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: obama; syria

Remember to call your senators and representatives after his speech to tell them to vote NO!



1 posted on 09/09/2013 3:41:26 AM PDT by onyx
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To: onyx

yes call em all.

and dont forget to pray


2 posted on 09/09/2013 3:44:02 AM PDT by kingattax (America needs more real Americans.)
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To: onyx


3 posted on 09/09/2013 3:46:40 AM PDT by Diogenesis
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To: onyx
And the walls came crumbling down. . . . .
About 5 years too late! ! ! ! !
4 posted on 09/09/2013 3:48:53 AM PDT by DeaconRed (He was a community organizer. He has never even run a candy store. WTF do you expect?)
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To: kingattax

Right. Always pray.

And make certain, you call on Wednesday... AFTER his speech.


5 posted on 09/09/2013 3:51:14 AM PDT by onyx (Please Support Free Republic - Donate Monthly! If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, Let Me know!)
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To: DeaconRed

Indeed, but better late than never.

We must make our Wednesday calls!


6 posted on 09/09/2013 3:52:03 AM PDT by onyx (Please Support Free Republic - Donate Monthly! If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, Let Me know!)
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To: onyx
Moreover, Obama’s bets are partly hedged by the willingness of top Republicans, including Boehner (Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), to support him. “It’s not just the president who has skin in the game here,” Thornell said.

Morons fell right into his own little trap. They're now in the same boat with him.

7 posted on 09/09/2013 3:52:10 AM PDT by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: Diogenesis

BUMP


8 posted on 09/09/2013 3:52:22 AM PDT by onyx (Please Support Free Republic - Donate Monthly! If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, Let Me know!)
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To: onyx

wouldnt it be funny if the dummyprompter got loaded with the wrong speech ?


9 posted on 09/09/2013 3:54:33 AM PDT by kingattax (America needs more real Americans.)
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To: Timber Rattler

Unprincipled, spineless traitors.


10 posted on 09/09/2013 3:55:36 AM PDT by onyx (Please Support Free Republic - Donate Monthly! If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, Let Me know!)
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To: kingattax

LOLOL.


11 posted on 09/09/2013 3:55:56 AM PDT by onyx (Please Support Free Republic - Donate Monthly! If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, Let Me know!)
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To: onyx

Every real poll says 90%... 90% at ^own Halls, 90% on every other poll... communists say 60%. I hate liars. They still can’t get close to a majority even with their lying.


12 posted on 09/09/2013 3:59:21 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!)
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To: LibLieSlayer

Bennie RAT Thompson is even leaning and almost a solid NO.
Oh my!


13 posted on 09/09/2013 4:03:10 AM PDT by onyx (Please Support Free Republic - Donate Monthly! If you want on Sarah Palin's Ping List, Let Me know!)
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To: onyx

This is all Bulls....,I have seen this crap for decades,Obama will come out on top,thanks to Republicans,oh but fear not,it will be by just one or two votes FOLKS we did our best but we must stand behind the President.
Face it FOLKS,we have no control over anything,we are all manipulated from one crisis to the next,when the most secretive,incompetent buffoon can get elected twice,you know the jig is up.
Need more proof,we had AlQueda fly airplanes into the world trade center buildings killing thousands,we are fighting AlQueda in Iraq,Afghanistan,Africa,they murder us any place they can,now Our President is pulling out all the stops to convince us to attack Assad,weakening him and as a result allowing The same Al Queda to acquire the same Chemical Weapons we store right here in the old U.S.,for what,we would never use them right? Also this is the same AlQueda that murdered Americans in That Phony scandal in Benghazi,and you think this is all sane? We are going to be their Air Force?!!
There is something in the water FOLKS,either that or we are getting subliminal messages from our phones or tv’s.


14 posted on 09/09/2013 4:12:08 AM PDT by ballplayer
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To: onyx

Pigs fly!


15 posted on 09/09/2013 4:19:05 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!)
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To: onyx

I think this article and meme may be baloney. He may desperately want Congress to vote it down. He is then off the hook. His blunder is fixed. He cannot defeat Syria Russia and the rebels/Al Qaeda all at once. Buy he can and has continually bested rino dupes in congress, his favorite enemy. Behind closed doors he will crack the champaign, light up a cigar (or choom), then call and thank slick Willie for the idea.


16 posted on 09/09/2013 4:39:43 AM PDT by epluribus_2 (he had the best mom - ever.)
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To: onyx
History repeats itself...Or in obama's case, a cartoon.

Click on image:


17 posted on 09/09/2013 5:27:44 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Communists... Socialists... Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: Caipirabob
I love that episode!

. . . the jolly candy-colored button . . .

18 posted on 09/09/2013 5:33:21 AM PDT by Hoodat (BENGHAZI - 4 KILLED, 2 MIA)
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To: onyx
Obama Liar continues to show his totally empty Morality on Syria!

The same mentally ill, empty moralism on Syria, agendas of Obozo Liar, Queeg McAinal, Kerry the Faux Vietnam hero, and congressional rats wanting to bomb Syria could apply to 9/11!


19 posted on 09/09/2013 5:59:43 AM PDT by Grampa Dave ( When insane/feral Islamics are killing each other, stand back and let Allah sort them out!)
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To: onyx
No way Obama sways congress or the American People. When the American people don't want war, it takes a lot to move them. Even in WW1 with the sinking of our ships, Wilson had to make a big pitch to win support. Remember the "War to end all Wars". Then after that failure, it took the US getting attacked by Japan and Hitler declaring war on the US to draw us into WW2. The feeling in the US is equal or more to the sentiment in the US before both World Wars.

I can not see Obama making a compelling Wilsonian argument (lie) to draws the US into the war. The speech will most likely be to abdicate his duty as commander in chief onto the congress and UN. This will set him up to blame everyone else no matter the outcome in Syrian Civil War.

20 posted on 09/09/2013 6:17:36 AM PDT by 11th Commandment (http://www.thirty-thousand.org/)
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To: onyx
Joke's on him because America will be watching Storage Wars


21 posted on 09/09/2013 6:18:34 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: onyx

What ever happens—Obama loses. If the crisis is defused, he will be seen as weak and there will be new challenges and more crisis coming. I can see a bunch more in the Middle East and then Asia (Korea and Islands off Japan) and even South America and Africa (So. Africa—Zimbawee, the Sudan, Mali, etc...) If Obama loses —so will America. I fear lots of people are going to die because of his weakness —in one way or another.


22 posted on 09/09/2013 6:31:15 AM PDT by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: onyx
Hey Boner and McConnell - let me refresh your short memory........

Obama Tells Republicans to 'Sit in Back' .....October 25, 2010• Associated Press
23 posted on 09/09/2013 6:39:16 AM PDT by Cheerio (Barry Hussein Soetoro-0bama=The Complete Destruction of American Capitalism)
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To: onyx

Arrogant, self-loving, clown.


24 posted on 09/09/2013 7:41:07 AM PDT by madison10 (I miss America.)
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To: onyx

“...The fate of President Obama’s second term hangs on his Tuesday speech to the nation about Syria....”

All the more reason to ensure he doesn’t get his way.


25 posted on 09/09/2013 8:32:12 AM PDT by NFHale (The Second Amendment - By Any Means Necessary.)
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To: onyx

He canceled a Monday fundraising trip...

My god, this IS a crisis!!!!


26 posted on 09/09/2013 8:37:30 AM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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