Pelosi: I don’t know if Obama can get a majority of House Democrats to support a Syria attack

posted at 12:41 pm on September 5, 2013 by Allahpundit

With every new whip count I see, I’m more confident that the Senate will spare O the humiliation of a House landslide by killing the Syria resolution itself. At last check, WaPo has the House at 19 likely yays versus 178 likely nays; Adrian Gray has it at 47/187; ABC has it at 45/199; and Think Progress, which counted 169 nays yesterday afternoon, has now hit the 200 mark with only 49 yays offsetting.

Remember, if you believe what Pelosi said yesterday, she’s not whipping House Democrats on this. There is, in theory, no pressure from the Democratic leadership in Congress to take one for the team here. Endgame for intervention?

Can you get a majority of your caucus? Is that important?

I don’t know. I think it would be important to get a majority in the Congress. But I don’t know if it’s important how you would break it down. These issues are not really partisan…

What was your reaction to the decision to bring this to Congress?

I was encouraging consultation. I did not believe that the President needs to get authorization from Congress. I think that it is great that he asked for it. I think that it strengthens his hand, and our country’s hand, and our moral standing to Bashar Assad to have Congress support it. But it’s a challenge for the reasons you mentioned. It’s a challenge because the country is weary of war. This is a president who has taken us out of two wars. He has unwound the Iraq War and now the Afghanistan War. He knows, as Commander-in-chief, better than anybody how weary of war our country is.

And so it came to be that Pelosi, who rose to power as Speaker promising that Congress would check the renegade president in his quixotic mission against a gas-wielding Baathist, now thinks congressional approval isn’t necessary against Assad. Follow the link and read the rest of the interview, where she strains hard to distinguish the Iraq war from this while also insisting that using WMD is an eternal international red line. I can only assume that if Assad promised not to use gas again for at least 15 years, Pelosi would be willing to let him slide the same way she was apparently okay with letting Saddam slide on the red line for having used it against the Kurds years before the U.S. attacked. You’d trust him if he said that, wouldn’t you? Nancy evidently trusted that Saddam’s gas-spraying days were over. Why not give the lunatic in Damascus the benefit of the doubt too?

Lots of stories in the news today about skittish House Dems balking at Syria — this one, about anti-war Rep. Gerry Connolly straining to find a “principled” exception to his philosophy for his party’s president, is my favorite — but Obama still has cards to play. There’s still a classified briefing on Assad’s WMD for Congress to come; there may be an Oval Office address in the works; there may also be a media campaign to show the public what a gas attack does to its victims, especially children. Polls show that public skepticism does tend to soften when WMD is introduced into the calculus of whether to go to war. And of course, there’s apt to be some out-and-out vote-buying. If partisan loyalty can’t dragoon Democrats into voting with O, maybe bribes can:

“I think the White House candy store is open,”said John Bolton, a former U.N. ambassador under President Bush who opposes a military strike against Syria, on Fox News Tuesday. “What do you need for your district or state? A post office? A new military facility? What do you want? I think anything you want you’re going to get because the White House is going to do whatever it takes to get a majority.”

So we have the irony that, even as the administration’s arguments for intervention become less coherent, its chances of prevailing by playing on tribal loyalties and the use of “non-policy” arguments are increasing.

And people thought the pressure and the wheeling and dealing that forced through passage of Obamacare were unseemly.

If I worked in the White House, my worry now wouldn’t be trying to win the House vote. It’d be trying to minimize the embarrassment of losing the vote overwhelmingly, along bipartisan lines. If he can win back some liberals and force the GOP to block the measure with a heavy majority of its own caucus, then at least Obama can blame Republican obstructionism for his problems. How likely is it that he can win those liberals over, though? Per the Journal, the lefty PAC Progressive Change Campaign Committee polled 55,000 of its one million members on Syria — and found 73 percent opposed. Democratic voters generally are also opposed, albeit less heavily. Which probably explains Pelosi’s reluctance to whip the caucus: If this thing’s headed for defeat via Republican opposition, with her own base perfectly fine with that, what’s her incentive to go to the mat for O?

Exit question: Why isn’t OFA pushing hard for Syria intervention either? Does O want to lose this vote?

Update: Hope springs eternal:

Aides believe that many of those who say they are leaning No are not necessarily at that point. Aides believe there’s a lot of pressure on Dems — given the unpopularity of strikes with constituents, as reflected in the polls, and given some of the pressure being directed to offices by liberal groups — to downplay the possibility of a Yes vote later. So aides think the whip counts don’t tell the real story…

Dem aides believe they probably need around 120-130 Dems for the resolution to pass, because they think they’ll get around 90-100 Republicans (with most voting No). They think that they can get there. This would draw on Yes votes from 40 or so hawkish, interventionist Dems types who will be persuadable by groups like AIPAC; plus a sizable bloc of moderate Dems who aren’t too worried about the Dem base and will be genuinely gettable; plus some more votes drawn from around several dozen hard-to-classify Dems who are more focused on domestic affairs. Dem aides think they can get the numbers they need even if around 60 progressive Dems prove ungettable.

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Bmore on September 5, 2013 at 4:26 PM

What? The Wicked Witch can’t deliver the votes? Or maybe she knows she’d better not.

RebeccaH on September 5, 2013 at 4:27 PM

So call your Congress people and let them know how you feel. This is one time that a liberal may listen to you!!!!

These guys need to be able to say the phone calls are over whelming against!!!!!

I called both my Senate offices today.

petunia on September 5, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Go to hell Pelosi. Take Fineswine with you.

TX-96 on September 5, 2013 at 5:57 PM

You’ll have to pardon Nancy-poo. She’s EVOLVING.

GarandFan on September 5, 2013 at 6:01 PM

You’ll have to pardon Nancy-poo. She’s EVOLVING.

GarandFan on September 5, 2013 at 6:01 PM

She’s dying of Alzheimer’s.

slickwillie2001 on September 5, 2013 at 6:11 PM


GarandFan on September 5, 2013 at 6:01 PM

In this upside down world where down is up and up is down:

Evolving really means devolving and progressive really means regressive.

CW on September 5, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Our Trolls sure are being awfully quiet about Syria, aren’t they?

kingsjester on September 5, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Our Trolls sure are being awfully quiet about Syria, aren’t they?

kingsjester on September 5, 2013 at 6:18 PM

brainfree, from this morning’s Syria thread in Headlines:

Would you describe the Bush Administration’s public stumping for the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan as “coherent?” Really? What was “coherent” about claiming that we would be greeted as liberators? What was “coherent” about failing to ensure proper armor for ground troops? What was “coherent” about Abu Ghraib? What was “coherent” about the notion that Iraq oil revenue would pay for the costs of the war. And what was “coherent” about the Bush administration’s plans post-shock and awe? You can stick your head in the sand all you want. The fact of the matter is that the American people didn’t *care* about coherence after 9/11. They were mostly operating on emotion. I’m not here to adjudicate the morality of going to war for revenge, but lets please not try and re-write the history.

libfreeordie on September 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Del Dolemonte on September 5, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Del Dolemonte on September 5, 2013 at 6:28 PM

In other words, Booosh!

Yeah, that’s been the meme of the day.

kingsjester on September 5, 2013 at 6:33 PM

The Air Force Magazine, April 2012 Issue,

“SYRIA IS NOT LIBYA” by John A. Tirpak


We’d only do MUCH more harm than good to the fully integrated Syrian populations via Air Force bombing raids, making matters worse for everyone, more harm to our own military personnel (God forbid US ground troops there) in guerrilla warfare, harming our troops who are already too-many-times redeployed and worn thin, to our military’s overall ability to respond to any other US national crisis defending our borders or abroad defending our Military installations [not to mention defending as our Military is being used to protect the global corporatist too big to fail nation building schemes causing disasters funded by US Taxpayers], and yes, much more harm to the American Taxpayers, and depleting our already depleted (via Libya bombing raids) supply of missiles and out-worn long-past-expiration-date fleets of ships and manned aircraft. As per drones doing the work? Far too many OOPS in civilian casualties.

The Air Force Magazine, August 2013 Issue, leading editorial warning that our government must exercise much more scrutiny before ordering our Military into any more fronts. In fact, our Military would be better off allowing our Afghan troops to return home rather than be redeployed in the ME, and our Military Amory needs to be rebuilt, resupplied which takes time and more taxes.

Over the recent years, editorials and letters to the editor express deepest concern with the rising rate of suicide amongst our military personnel, after perpetual redeployments. One retired general wrote that what our Presidents are requiring of our volunteer Military Forces is their redeployment until they are either killed, suffer such severe injuries as to be forced out of service, or they commit suicide. Our VA services are not sufficient, are poorly provided, and fall far short of long term care.

maverick muse on September 5, 2013 at 6:49 PM

…19 likely yays…


Tzetzes on September 5, 2013 at 6:57 PM

“At the end of the day, a lot of these Democrats are going to be with the president,” said a House Democratic aide close to the issue. “Because the choice is to vote against [the Syria resolution] and turn the president into a lame duck and destroy his credibility, or swallow it and vote for something that you’re not wild about. When you’re faced with that kind of decision, most of these fence-sitters are going to come aboard.”

Rats on display

Schadenfreude on September 5, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Support Our Troops: Let Them Come Home!

maverick muse on September 5, 2013 at 7:11 PM

DailyKooks’ kommissar:

No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle.

Resist We Much on September 5, 2013 at 7:20 PM

DailyKooks’ kommissar:

No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle.

Resist We Much on September 5, 2013 at 7:20 PM

You know…I’d never been to that site before…and now I wish I hadn’t.

Hard to get to the ‘stupid’ out of my head now…


a5minmajor on September 5, 2013 at 7:31 PM

Mr Obama has said that using chemical weapons would be a “red line” for intervention, Mr Cameron pointed out.

“I absolutely believe that having set a red line on the further big use of chemical weapons, I think it would be wrong if America was to step back and having set that red line to do nothing,” the Prime Minister said.

“I think that would send an appalling signal to President Assad and also to dictators elsewhere.”

Looks like David Cameron is also calling Obama, who now says he never set any red lines, a liar.

bluegill on September 5, 2013 at 8:14 PM

The witch better have fire insurance in her home district.

claudius on September 5, 2013 at 8:39 PM

It’s so bad Politico is reporting that Biden had to call in the big gun Al Franken to the situation room today…….Bwahahahahaha!!!

dddave on September 5, 2013 at 9:01 PM

chris cuomo hosting a townhall on cnn…what a crock…he’s got his WH talking points down pat

cmsinaz on September 5, 2013 at 9:17 PM

our basis is absolutely solid
-wh talking head on cnn

the new ‘SLAM DUNK’

cmsinaz on September 5, 2013 at 9:22 PM

this won’t be an iraq or afghanistan war
-wh talking head

yeah, dream on buddy

cmsinaz on September 5, 2013 at 9:22 PM

this won’t be an iraq or afghanistan war
-wh talking head

yeah, dream on buddy

cmsinaz on September 5, 2013 at 9:22 PM

He11 no – we’re talkin full up Viet frikin nam, baby…..
Heinz-Kerry wants to show everyone how to do it right…….

dentarthurdent on September 5, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Y’all do realize the date on which they’ll be voting?
My take.

kingsjester on September 6, 2013 at 7:00 AM

If he can win back some liberals and force the GOP to block the measure with a heavy majority of its own caucus, then at least Obama can blame Republican obstructionism for his problems.

If? Have you not been watching for the last 5 years? This is going to happen no matter what republicans do.

In fact, it’s already started. Please at least try to do a little research before writing such silliness.

runawayyyy on September 6, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Today Obama made some illiterate and tortured comparison to the days of the London Blitz to argue that sometimes Congress must ignore the wishes of the voters and do what’s right. Getting them to vote for this war would be one way to prompt anti-incumbent frenzy in 2014, which would harm the GOP in the House more than the Dems. No, I don’t think this is a deep laid diabolic scheme; he’s obviously making it up as he goes along. Somebody probably whispered it into His Royal Horse’s Ass’s ear the other night in the situation room.

dhimwit on September 6, 2013 at 4:03 PM