September 2, 2013
The first rule for President Obama: It’s all about 2014. The second rule for President Obama: See Rule No. 1.
Make no mistake: The president couldn’t care less about the plight of Syrians, the 1,500 gassed to death — including nearly 500 children. It’s all about 2014. Win the House, reign supreme.
Consider this: Mr. Obama made his dramatic Rose Garden statement Saturday — then headed to the golf course. Congress has no plans to cut short its 30-day vacation, and the president did not call lawmakers back. So much for urgency.
The conventional wisdom is, as usual, wrong. Losing the congressional vote won’t be an embarrassment for the president, as all the talking heads are still parroting. A loss would be a double win. First, because a “No” vote would allow the foreign policy neophyte to walk away from his blundering “red line” declaration on chemical weapons (“I wanted to go in, but Congress said no”). And second, should Republicans who voted for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars now oppose Syria, the president would be armed with clear “evidence” that their opposition is purely political.
Keep in mind: This president knows no way to campaign other than to blame others. He’ll batter Republicans for all of 2014 as obstructionists should they be the reason the effort fails.
But the bloviating politicos are also wrong that the “Republican-controlled House” could reject the plan for partisan reasons. It is Democrats who seem most squeamish — and they were the most vocal in demanding their say before intervention in Syria. Remember, two years ago, as the president prepared to bomb Libya, 70 Democrats joined Republicans in voting against military operations. Mr. Obama bombed anyway.