Lawmakers know better than 99% of the voters, Obama implied.
September 6, 2013
In a speech today at the G20 Summit in Russia, President Barack Obama stated that members of Congress should listen to their voters but ultimately should act on their own, against their constituency, in order to make a decision that is “right for America.”
Segment begins at the 37:14 minute mark.
Obama made this revealing statement after a journalist asked, “One of your closest allies in the House said yesterday, ‘When you’ve got 97 percent of your constituents saying no, it’s kind of hard to say yes.’ Why should members of Congress go against the will of their constituents and support your decision on this?”
“Now, with respect to Congress and how they should respond to constituency concerns, you know, I do consider it part of my job to help make the case and to explain to the American people exactly why I think this is the right thing to do,” Obama said. “It’s conceivable that at the end of the day, I don’t persuade a majority of the American people that it’s the right thing to do and then each member of Congress is gonna have to decide, if I think it’s the right thing to do for America’s national security and the world’s national security, then how do I vote?”
“And you know what? That’s — that’s what you’re supposed to do as a member of Congress. Ultimately, you listen to your constituents, but you’ve also got to make some decisions about what you believe is right for America.”
In short, Obama will try to influence Americans into supporting his war, but failing that, Congress is supposed to just ignore the vast majority of voters against the war and approve military action in Syria.
As Obama implied, members of Congress should represent themselves rather than the voters who placed them in office, especially when Obama’s aims run contrary to the demands of the American people.
This is right in line with a senior State Department official’s earlier statement that “the president’s decision to take military action in Syria still stands, and will indeed be carried out, regardless of whether Congress votes next week to approve the use of such force.”
As we reported yesterday, Congress members across the nation are being overwhelmed by unprecedented opposition towards a war in Syria.
“I’m told the phone calls are 9 out of 10 against a strike in Syria, from my constituents in Kentucky,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Az.) told the National Review that out of the 500 voters who called his office recently, 498 of them adamantly wanted to stay out of Syria.
Anti-war sentiments are prevailing in both major parties.
“I can tell you 99 percent of the calls coming to my office are against it,” Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings said to MSNBC.
It is interesting to note that in 2012, 76% of his district voted for Obama.
Other representatives have tweeted similar statements:
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) September 5, 2013
My office has been inundated with constituent phone calls and emails about Syria. Virtually unanimous opposition to military intervention.
— Michele Bachmann (@MicheleBachmann) September 4, 2013
I've been hearing a lot from members of our Armed Forces. The message I consistently hear: Please vote no on military action against #Syria.
— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) August 31, 2013
As we have exhaustively documented in the past, American troops may find themselves fighting alongside al-Qaeda if they are deployed to Syria.
“We should be focused on defending the United States of America,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) said recently. “That’s why young men and women sign up to join the military, not to, as you know, serve as Al Qaeda’s air force.”