Wow: Senior Senate aide says Obama was short of 50 votes for Syria strike; Update: Obama wants vote delayed

posted at 2:41 pm on September 10, 2013 by Allahpundit

How bad has it gotten for The One? Quote: “In their private moments, Mr. Obama’s allies said even the argument that his presidency would for all intents and purposes be over did not sway some unsympathetic Democrats, frustrated over how few victories there have been to hang on to in Mr. Obama’s fifth year in office.”

The House was always going to be a heavy lift, and cracking 60 in the Senate wouldn’t have been easy given the depth of public opposition, but a bare majority in a chamber controlled by O’s own party? That’s a fait accompli.

Isn’t it?

On the Democratic side, the impact [of the Russian proposal] is less clear. Aides suggest it could make some Dems marginally more inclined to support strikes, on the theory that a more credible threat of force later could make a diplomatic solution more likely. “With news that the White House is open to working with the UN, I think this is in furtherance of passing whatever the final resolution is,” one Dem leadership aide tells me.

It’s my understanding that senior Democrats and White House advisers have not yet begun to make such a case internally to wavering lawmakers, though it seems possible you may hear it being made before long.

The overall impact of all this, as best as I can determine, is that it’s allowed Dems to, in effect, stop the internal bleeding of support in Congress for Obama’s strikes.

A senior Senate aide tells me that support for the authorization of strikes had not yet reached 50 Senators, even privately, meaning its passage is in doubt, even in the Senate. “This allows for a pause in the decision-making process,” the aide says.

How could there not be 51 votes in a chamber with 55 Democrats? WaPo breaks it down. Some are hardcore liberals and therefore likely to vote no on principle; some are up for reelection next year in red states, knowing that Republicans are trending hard against intervention; some are retiring and thus have nothing to lose by disappointing The One; and some are thinking about running for president and worried that voting yes might be a liability in the primaries in 2016. Or maybe they were all simply turned off by the White House’s classified briefings on Syria? Anecdotally, per ABC, those seem to be generating a lot more nays than yays in the House:

After listening to a classified briefing from five senior administration officials this evening, two more lawmakers came out in opposition to strikes against Syria, one went from undecided to leaning against, while another dozen hardened their positions from “lean against” to opposed…

Perhaps more troubling for President Obama are the tougher positions of many lawmakers who, until the briefing, had been only leaning against the resolution.

Tonight, Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Charles Boustany, Scott DesJarlais, Tom Graves, Brett Guthrie, Gregg Harper, Sam Johnson, Frank LoBiondo, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Kenny Marchant, Alan Nunnelee and Steve Womack all closed the door on supporting authorization for military force.

I’m honestly curious now to see what O’s going to say tonight at this big White House “red line” pep rally. Usually there are few things more predictable than a presidential speech, but Putin keeps tossing curveballs at him. Up until an hour ago, it was a cinch that Obama would endorse the Russian weapons proposal and call for a “pause” in Congress or whatever while things play out diplomatically. That would get him off the hook from an historic humiliation in both the House and Senate while letting him boast that his muscle-flexing finally forced Assad to cough up his WMD. Now, with Putin insisting that O has to renounce muscle-flexing as a condition of the deal, what happens? Obama can’t say “to hell with Russia” and demand that Congress vote immediately; he’ll still lose badly and then he’ll have no diplomatic option with which to kinda sorta save face. I think he’ll end up endorsing the Russian plan but emphasizing that under no circumstances will the U.S. promise not to attack if Assad drags his feet. That’s the only way to thread the needle on “credibility,” simultaneously ducking a congressional vote that would destroy it while defying Putin’s demands.

Exit question: What happens if Putin then turns around and says, “Okay, if you won’t renounce force, the deal’s off”? What’s Obama’s move then?

Update: And there you have it.

His “strategy” now is simply to buy time. If things work out for him at the UN, great. Then he can walk away from this “red line” crap. If they don’t work out and Russia ends up obstructing, that’s okay too. Watching Putin try to thwart the U.S. at every turn will only help build support in Congress for striking a blow at his Syrian client. And if, while we’re waiting for the UN to decide, Assad does something nutty by using gas again, that’s A-OK by Obama too. He’ll attack straightaway and can forget about congressional logistics.


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I can’t believe the White House’s strategy on Syria is working out this well. I doubt they can, either.

— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 10, 2013

LMFAO! WHAT strategery?

Resist We Much on September 10, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Quick somebody get the emperor some clothes for cripes sake!

neyney on September 10, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Obama has two BFFs now, John Roberts and Putin.

fogw on September 10, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Don’t forget Petraeus. They must really have the goods on him too.

viking01 on September 10, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Okay that makes me feel better in a point and laugh sort of way. Needed as I go into a meeting that will most likely result in layoffs for my department.

WOO HOO Obama rules!

gophergirl on September 10, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Oh no…unless the layoffees voted for Obama…

22044 on September 10, 2013 at 4:02 PM

You are just repeating the Obama line as it is by no means a certainty it was Assad who used CW.

By Yossef Bodansky, Senior Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs
Recent findings point increasingly toward the conclusion that the chemical weapons attack in Syria was indeed a self-inflicted attack by the Syrian opposition in order to provoke a U.S. and Western military intervention against the Ba’athist government of President Bashar Assad.

The claim that the agent used was a “military sarin” is problematic because military sarin accumulates (like a gaseous crystal) around the victims’ hair and loose threads in clothes. Since these molecules are detached and released anew by any movement, they would have thus killed or injured the first responders who touched the victims’ bodies without protective clothes, gloves and masks. However, opposition videos show the first responders moving corpses around without any ill effects. This strongly indicates that the agent in question was the slow acting “kitchen sarin”. Indeed, other descriptions of injuries treated by MSF – suffocation, foaming, vomiting and diarrhea – agree with the effects of diluted, late-action drops of liquified sarin. The overall descriptions of the injuries and fatalities treated by MSF closely resemble the injuries treated by the Tokyo emergency authorities back on March 20, 1995. The Tokyo subway attack was committed with liquified “kitchen sarin”.

VorDaj on September 10, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Excellent report, far better than anything I’ve seen to date. TFP.

slickwillie2001 on September 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Alleged chemical attack in Syria, Aug. 21, 2013
Syrian civil war

Report: Secretary of State Kerry to meet Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Geneva on Thursday to discuss Syria, source tells @AP

6 mins ago from bigstory.ap.org by editor

canopfor on September 10, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Update: Obama wants vote delayed
==================================

They’re Circling the Wagons,in zee Bunker!!
(sarc)

canopfor on September 10, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Oh no…unless the layoffees voted for Obama…

22044 on September 10, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Nothing yet more waiting :(

gophergirl on September 10, 2013 at 4:12 PM

I really wanted to lean toward conspiracy theories myself. But let’s face it, most often the obvious answer is the correct answer. Our president is a moron.

JusDreamin on September 10, 2013 at 3:53 PM

As much as I would like to agree with you, he is smarter than most people give him credit for. Unfortunately it is “smart” in a devious/manipulating/sinister way…pushing some agenda that if sane people bothered to vote (once and only once mind you) he would still be a state senator from Illinois.

teejk on September 10, 2013 at 4:13 PM

His “strategy” now is simply to buy time continue leading from behind.

FIFY

deepdiver on September 10, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Saw something funny on twitter, but can’t remember who said it. Putin checks Obama in 3-d chess, but Obama thought they were playing Go Fish.

txmomof6 on September 10, 2013 at 4:23 PM

VorDaj on September 10, 2013 at 2:55 PM

Excellent report, far better than anything I’ve seen to date. TFP.

slickwillie2001 on September 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Then, there is this: when Kerry showed this video to Congress to get them to approve the war, he didn’t show the last two seconds.

LegendHasIt on September 10, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Good thing there are adults in the White House.

getalife on March 27, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Del Dolemonte on September 10, 2013 at 5:01 PM

If obama calls off the war, will Bob Beckel say he hates children?

Ronnie on September 10, 2013 at 5:04 PM

Is Biden for or against it?

Schadenfreude on September 10, 2013 at 5:18 PM

I can’t believe the White House’s strategy on Syria is working out this well. I doubt they can, either.

— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) September 10, 2013

Goebbels, did you get out of yer grave?

Schadenfreude on September 10, 2013 at 5:39 PM

had not yet reached 50 Senators, even privately

Yeah and it hadn’t reached 30, either.

Zero was about to be humiliated, oh wait!

“Never mind.” – Emily Litella

dogsoldier on September 10, 2013 at 5:50 PM

canopfor on September 10, 2013 at 4:11 PM

To which Reid replied, “No problem. This ain’t happening anyway.”

dogsoldier on September 10, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Obama wants to get this over with so he can go back to fighting the real enemies: conservatives, Christians, and white males.

PackerBronco on September 10, 2013 at 2:53 PM

You forgot to mention those sand traps, water hazards and hard-to-read greens.

Gator Country on September 10, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Harry Reid and John Blundering Kerry screwed this up and must be blamed!!!!

New MSM meme in 5….4…3….

PappyD61 on September 10, 2013 at 6:13 PM

By the way, sorry if this has been noted…

Another big loser: Kinzinger. May he go pound sand for a while.

22044 on September 10, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Is Biden for or against it?

Schadenfreude on September 10, 2013 at 5:18 PM

We’ll find out just as soon as he is allowed to return from an ordered exile.

riddick on September 10, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Is Biden for or against it?

Schadenfreude on September 10, 2013 at 5:18 PM

We’ll find out just as soon as he is allowed to return from an ordered exile.

riddick on September 10, 2013 at 6:16 PM

ValJar must be pulling her hair out. First Joke has to be watched night and day to make sure he doesn’t say something stupid, now JF’nK is going the same way.

slickwillie2001 on September 10, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Comment pages: 1 2