Obama: “I’m less concerned about style points” on Syria

posted at 8:41 am on September 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The debacle of the past three weeks on foreign policy in Syria doesn’t concern the man fumbling the ball at the top, as Barack Obama told George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview for ABC’s This Week.  All he cares about is getting to the best position for American and global policy, not how it looked getting there.  Worrying about “style points” is what got us into the Iraq War, Obama asserts:

President Obama says a tumultuous month as commander in chief, when his policy toward Syria took a number of unexpected turns, may not have looked “smooth and disciplined and linear,” but it’s working.

“I’m less concerned about style points. I’m much more concerned with getting the policy right,” Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview on “This Week.”

Obama said his surprise announcement on Aug. 31 that he would seek congressional authorization for U.S. military strikes against Syria, then the abrupt cancellation of a vote this week and pursuit of a diplomatic plan led by the Russians, has put the country “definitely in a better position.”

“My entire goal throughout this exercise is to make sure what happened on Aug. 21 does not happen again,” the president told Stephanopoulos of the large-scale chemical weapons attack outside Damascus that he said killed more than 1,400 civilians.

“We have the possibility of making sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Do we?  I referenced Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece in an earlier post, but further into his Bloomberg essay (which argues that Assad is the big winner in the deal), Goldberg gives two reasons why the US and the world are now worse off:

Eventually, though, this limited Western victory might feel like a moral and strategic defeat, for two reasons.

1. Our allies across the Middle East, having seen the U.S. promise to help remove Assad and then not follow through, will further doubt American steadfastness and friendship and will reorient their policies accordingly, with some adverse consequences for the U.S.

2. This plan probably won’t work. Assad is a lying, murdering terrorist, and lying, murdering terrorists aren’t, generally speaking, reliable partners, except for other lying, murdering terrorists. In any case, disarmament experts say that this process, properly carried out, would take years and years to accomplish, but of course they really don’t know how long this might take because no one has ever tried to locate and secure hundreds of tons of chemical weapons on an active battlefield, particularly one in which Hezbollah and al-Qaeda are vying for supremacy.

As for style points leading us into the Iraq War and having it “blow up in our faces,” what exactly does that mean?  If it means that our earlier invasion and 12-year enforcement of UN Security Council disarmament resolutions led us to a credibility point where we had to take action, well, how exactly is that different than what John Kerry claims is the deal with Russia on Syria?  And didn’t the White House and its defenders argue for two weeks that Congress needed to authorize military action primarily to restore the credibility of Obama himself?  How is that not a concern over “style points”?


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I despise and loathe this POS.

BeachBum on September 16, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Obama is trying hard to make chicken salad out of chicken feces but he can’t get rid of the stench..

rplat on September 16, 2013 at 8:47 AM

“Style points” are all he ever gets because nothing he’s done in his 4+ years in the Vermin House has worked. And all of those style points are courtesy of the polical fashion columnists in the Micro-Brained Media.

Marxism is for dummies on September 16, 2013 at 8:47 AM

As for style points leading us into the Iraq War and having it “blow up in our faces,” what exactly does that mean? If it means that our earlier invasion and 12-year enforcement of UN Security Council disarmament resolutions led us to a credibility point where we had to take action, well, how exactly is that different than what John Kerry claims is the deal with Russia on Syria? And didn’t the White House and its defenders argue for two weeks that Congress needed to authorize military action primarily to restore the credibility of Obama himself? How is that not a concern over “style points”?

The fact that you are even asking these impertinent questions proves that you’re a raaaaaaacist.

AZCoyote on September 16, 2013 at 8:48 AM

As for style points leading us into the Iraq War and having it “blow up in our faces,” what exactly does that mean?

He’s citing the Iraq War for 2 reasons. First, because he wants to emphasize to a war-weary nation that has no stomach for intervening in Syria that this is nothing like that “overseas contingency operation”. And secondly, because he’s desperately trying to remind his base which is starting to abandon him(hence his dip to 40% in some polls) that at least he’s not as bad as Bush.

Doughboy on September 16, 2013 at 8:50 AM

How is that not a concern over “style points”?

You really didn’t expect consistency from a guy who said he had no intention of forcing Assad out, but now has everybody pretending he always meant to force Assad out, did you? Obama contradicts himself in the same speech, heck, in the same sentence sometimes.

Fenris on September 16, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Not concerned about style?! THAT’S all you have EVER been about, Mr. President. It’s always only been about style over substance with you. Pathetic.

trader67 on September 16, 2013 at 8:51 AM

This guy shows more every day what a lying sleaze he is.

bluegill on September 16, 2013 at 8:51 AM

Obama: “I’m less concerned about style points” on Syria…

….”I’m more concerned about growing the power and influence of the Muslim Brotherhood (like we’ve tried in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and now Syria).”

…but why Mr. President? Why?

PappyD61 on September 16, 2013 at 8:53 AM

So, even 0bama admits this was a total screw up?

cozmo on September 16, 2013 at 8:54 AM

This guy shows more every day what a lying sleaze he is.

bluegill on September 16, 2013 at 8:51 AM

And yet I bet if an election were held tomorrow, he’d be reelected. People in this country…

philoquin on September 16, 2013 at 8:55 AM

“I’m less concerned about style points”

Sure thing there 0. Quite smitten with yourself I’m sure. Lolz!

Bmore on September 16, 2013 at 8:55 AM

When in doubt, blame Bush. This seems to be the #1 strategy of this administration.

Scotty J on September 16, 2013 at 8:56 AM

“Why should I be concerned with “Style? I define style.”

davidk on September 16, 2013 at 8:59 AM

http://www.westernjournalism.com/breaking-egyptian-media-says-barack-obama-muslim-brotherhood-member/

Why the Muslim Brotherhood Mr. President?

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/08/25/TIME-Egyptians-Believe-Obama-Backs-Muslim-Brotherhood

TIME Magazine reports that Egyptians “remain convinced that President Obama is backing the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohamed Morsi.”

Speaking on August 22, the head of Egypt’s Social Democratic Party Mohamed Abou El-Ghar said: “America is losing Egypt… There is a very strong perception that they are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and they are against other parties.

El-Ghar said this perception began growing when Senator John McCain (R-AZ) met with representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood in February 2012 but would not meet with with representatives from other parties. He said the perception “was furthered” when U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson “criticized Egypt’s military” for deposing Morsi in July.

PappyD61 on September 16, 2013 at 8:59 AM

And didn’t the White House and its defenders argue for two weeks that Congress needed to authorize military action primarily to restore the credibility of Obama himself? How is that not a concern over “style points”?

It would seem that way to me but I’m not exactly sure I understand the concept when it comes to the Presidency or foreign policy.

Style points are what you get on one of the competitions on the Food Network for using fresh wildflowers as a garnish in your plating. Style points are what you get for an outstanding floor exercise in gymnastics or performance in ice skating. Style points are what you get when you got the extra yard on a first date.

But, if we are keeping score of style points for Obama, then I get to be the East German judge.

Happy Nomad on September 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM

“I’m less concerned about style points.”

Well, that explains the mom jeans and the girl bike.

TXUS on September 16, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Narcissist, Style–2 peas, 1 pod.

hillsoftx on September 16, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Style points like this?

http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/mt/assets/politics/Obama-feet-up-montage.jpg

PappyD61 on September 16, 2013 at 9:02 AM

“I’m less concerned about style points.”

“And more concerned with political points. Because they are the only points I know how to score.” He went on.

Gatsu on September 16, 2013 at 9:03 AM

1. Our allies across the Middle East, having seen the U.S. promise to help remove Assad and then not follow through, will further doubt American steadfastness and friendship and will reorient their policies accordingly, with some adverse consequences for the U.S.

Not so much this as the recognition that obama is simply inept and can’t be trusted.

davidk on September 16, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Breaking: http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Confirmed-Shooter-at-Navy-Yard-One-Person-Shot-223897891.html

davidk on September 16, 2013 at 8:58 AM

Move along, work place violence. /

hillsoftx on September 16, 2013 at 9:03 AM

This guy’s an effing genius. We’re just too stupid to see it.

Arnold Yabenson on September 16, 2013 at 9:05 AM

This clown is dangerous. He is all over the map trying to make it look like this was his plan all along. I worked with a guy for 10 years that had NPD, and I know NPD symptoms very well. This is clinical textbook example of how a person afflicted with NPD tries to rationalize their behavior and actions and make it appear “they meant to do that” if something they had even the slightest part of works out well. Conversely, if the project is a dud, they will perform the same mental gymnastics in reverse to make sure they get zero blame.

Johnnyreb on September 16, 2013 at 9:06 AM

“Hey, I’m not concerned about style point, and I won the battle, right?”

-Pyrrhus

Bishop on September 16, 2013 at 9:07 AM

.

Bmore on September 16, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Breaking: http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Confirmed-Shooter-at-Navy-Yard-One-Person-Shot-223897891.html

davidk on September 16, 2013 at 8:58 AM

Move along, work place violence. /

hillsoftx on September 16, 2013 at 9:03 AM

Maybe Obama can give a shout out to the victims before his economic speech in the Rose Garden this morning.

Happy Nomad on September 16, 2013 at 9:08 AM

George Stephanopoulos is such a a cupcake interviewer….it’s almost as if he is a Democratic party insider and is only pretending to be a journalist for the cash.

Deafdog on September 16, 2013 at 9:15 AM

As for style points leading us into the Iraq War and having it “blow up in our faces,” what exactly does that mean?

No kidding.

Dear Barry,

This is a link to the transcript of a speech you gave to your antiwar friends in Chicago in 2002 (the “good war/dumb war” speech).

Allow me to excerpt some paragraphs for you. You’re welcome in advance:

What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income — to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Now let me be clear — I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaida. I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.

*BOOM*

Buy Danish on September 16, 2013 at 9:16 AM

George Stephanopoulos is such a a cupcake interviewer….it’s almost as if he is a Democratic party insider and is only pretending to be a journalist for the cash.

Deafdog on September 16, 2013 at 9:15 AM
You think that’s not the case?

chewmeister on September 16, 2013 at 9:17 AM

He fell off the high dive and belly flopped into the pool because he was not concerned with style points?

I guess that’s a good thing because he got a 0.0 from the Russian judge.

DeweyWins on September 16, 2013 at 9:19 AM

This whole fiasco is all about style and appearances. 1400 supposedly are gassed and “we have to act.” 100k are killed prior to Aug. 21 with conventional weapons and that’s O’tay?

chewmeister on September 16, 2013 at 9:21 AM

This is classic Chicago-style politics on display here! It is nothing but deflect-deflect-deflect, and place the blame on someone or something else instead of the politician responsible for the whole debacle in the first place!

And what angers me the most is that people will watch this and say “Yes, that makes perfect sense!”, when it does anything but!

pilamaye on September 16, 2013 at 9:23 AM

@Happy Nomad:

“Maybe Obama can give a shout out to the victims before his economic speech in the Rose Garden this morning.”

Ugh, you mean this brain dead tyro is going to read someone else’s words about the economy off a teleprompter today?

Gads, can’t the preening, mincing lil’ pony go play golf (poorly) again instead?

GrassMudHorsey on September 16, 2013 at 9:23 AM

George Stephanopoulos is such a a cupcake interviewer….it’s almost as if he is a Democratic party insider and is only pretending to be a journalist for the cash.

Deafdog on September 16, 2013 at 9:15 AM
You think that’s not the case?

chewmeister on September 16, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Crickey! You mean the press may purposely being easy on BHO to give him a platform? I’ll be darned!

Deafdog on September 16, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Ugh, you mean this brain dead tyro is going to read someone else’s words about the economy off a teleprompter today?

GrassMudHorsey on September 16, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Yepper. This is “economy week” at the White House where there are several events all highlighting what a super awesome job the thin-skinned rat has done to the economy.

Happy Nomad on September 16, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Sounds like another repetitious chapter in “How to blame Bush 101″

BettyRuth on September 16, 2013 at 9:34 AM

He fell off the high dive and belly flopped into the pool because he was not concerned with style points?

I guess that’s a good thing because he got a 0.0 from the Russian judge.

DeweyWins on September 16, 2013 at 9:19 AM

DAMN FINE POST.

ToddPA on September 16, 2013 at 9:35 AM

WHATEVEAH,…WHATEVEAH, I DO WHAT I WANT! (Obama)

Offhanded on September 16, 2013 at 9:41 AM

And secondly, because he’s desperately trying to remind his base which is starting to abandon him(hence his dip to 40% in some polls) that at least he’s not as bad as Bush.
Doughboy on September 16, 2013 at 8:50 AM

Precisely. Whenever Obama and his minions say “War in Iraq” it’s a dog whistle for the Leftist base. They have 2 cards to play: race and Buuuush.

conservative pilgrim on September 16, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Obama thinks this is a success because Obama thinks he’s figured out a way to avoid being blamed for any failure in U.S. policy on Syria, by outsourcing the blame to Vladamir Putin. But that assumes that either Putin or Assad actually care about living up to the deal other than in the short term.

All Obama’s really done is kicked the can down the road for six months or so. Any new report of chemical weapons in Syria puts he right back in the same spot he’s been in for the past three weeks, if Assad denies their his chemical weapons and Putin back him up (as for the actual civil war in Syria that the president was supposedly so concerned about, expect to see Obama move away from the issue at light speed, just as he’s washed his hands on the Libyan situation because the risk/reward level isn’t stacked completely in his favor).

jon1979 on September 16, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Obama’s most pressing goal is to get the US media to totally ignore Syria. Watch the number of stories on Syria drop to zero. Just how all the chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan is being ignored by the press.
The perfect example of how they will do it:
“Time mag hides Putin’s success from U.S. voters”
http://dailycaller.com/2013/09/16/time-mag-hides-putins-success-from-u-s-voters/

albill on September 16, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Once again he has it backwards: It’s substance that’s lacking, not style… Style is all he ever had…

Pest on September 16, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Jihadist live for “style”…that is what drives them, not victories, but the way they achieve their goals.

They will die for their cause as long as it’s with “style”.

And this is a win for them because Obama backed down and they achieved what they wanted…thumb their nose for months at America, and we did nothing. They crossed the “line” and we did nothing.

Yeah, they give up a little “freedom” to Russia, but they won on style and the recruiting will be stronger than ever.

They made us capitulate to Russia…they won on “style” and substance.

right2bright on September 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM

This sounds like what a 6th grader would say after getting burned by a 3rd grader on the playground at recess.

Oboobi and sKerry got burned talking tough and all high and mighty. POS.

AH_C on September 16, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Troll Free Thread.

CurtZHP on September 16, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Obama’s most pressing goal is to get the US media to totally ignore Syria.
albill on September 16, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Yeah, but Syria was originally a handy pivot to get the US media to totally ignore the patriotic effort to defeat obamacare. Syria was in fact two birds in that it was also needed to help his al qaeda / muslim bros. expansion efforts. A billion dollars in military humanitarian aid should have done it but Assad isn’t going the way of Musharef/Khadaffi that easy.
Putin spank (and I say again, he phoned it in at that) so the “pivot” to the economy.

onomo on September 16, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Also have you noticed the incredible consistency of this administration to reveal exactly what the truth is because they always tell you the exact opposite? Transparency thru a reflective principle I’ll give that, but they’ve become an easy read. Straight up, to this administration, will be straight down.
Lead off or in conclusion, “Let me be clear” prepares you for exactly what the truth isn’t. For B not be concerned about style points is… well not just a first, it would be unprecedented.

onomo on September 16, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Obama sort of reminds me of an Ivy League football coach, getting ready to play a Southeast Conference Team, first thing he does is make sure he has a good punter. If Obama thinks it’s good policy to vote Present in a situation like this, he lacks the character to be Commander in Chief. The jobs comes with a lot of responsibility and this President has shown a remarkable tendency to avoid responsibility for everything.

bflat879 on September 16, 2013 at 10:21 AM

“I’m less concerned about style points”

Really? You’re whole administration has been built on “style” and no substance.

GarandFan on September 16, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Barky gives himself a “solid B+” again. Sure, he wrote, “2 + 2 = 7.3241″, but he thinks that trying to give the answer to 5 significant digits earns him the B+ even if his answer was off by a little bit. That’s how affirmative action goes …

What a moron. But the people who support him are just as dumb and hate America just as much.

This idiocy surrounding Syria and the incredibly stupid and pathetic R2P idea rises to the level of an impeachable set of acts, once again. When is someone going to put an end to this nightmare?

The national divorce can’t come soon enough. It really can’t.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on September 16, 2013 at 11:03 AM

What a loathsome cretin.
How the hell did this clown get to be president?

justltl on September 16, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Michael Ramirez strikes again….

Captures the hubris of Obama perfectly…

Athos on September 16, 2013 at 11:12 AM

So, he’s not interested in “Style Points”? Now why would King Barry invoke that exculpatory defense when that is exactly his “style”?

“We have the possibility of making sure it doesn’t happen again,” – el Commandante Ø

Meanwhile, back at the Pentagon, the clueless Chief Joints merrily go along with yet another radical left-wing order from Ø, the P-in-C.
Again: This is neither our fight nor our responsibility. Those who actually have a clue know full well that securing any, and especially all, of those WMDs, supplied by Iraq and Iran by the way, does in fact require American troops – Who ELSE?
Despite the overwhelming NON support of the American people, the “community organizer” can’t see the graffiti on the wall.
Emperor Øligula is blind to everything but his own greedy ambition.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on September 16, 2013 at 11:14 AM

The debacle of the past three weeks on foreign policy in Syria doesn’t concern the man fumbling the ball at the top, as Barack Obama told George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview for ABC’s This Week. All he cares about is getting to the best position for American and global policy, not how it looked getting there. Worrying about “style points” is what got us into the Iraq War, Obama asserts:

Not a word of truth in any of this. The only thing Obama cares about is appearance. The only reason he talked about bombing Syria was to keep from looking weak and wishy-washy (heckuva job there, too!). And he tops it off with a smear at Bush, who was 5 times the leader Obama will ever be.

Whatever else you might say about Bush, he was not overly concerned with looking good. He did what he did in Iraq because he was convinced it was the right thing to do.

Smearing Bush just to pretend he’s a better man is reprehensible. But it’s hardly surprising, from Obama.

There Goes the Neighborhood on September 16, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Seriously, did someone wake up one day and say, “Hey, I have an idea. Let’s find the absolute least qualified POS on the planet and see if we can get him elected president.”

justltl on September 16, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Seriously, did someone wake up one day and say, “Hey, I have an idea. Let’s find the absolute least qualified POS on the planet and see if we can get him elected president.”

justltl on September 16, 2013 at 11:16 AM

A whole bunch of people who have always hated America and Americans woke up one day and found out that they could sic the most inept, retarded America-hater on the nation.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on September 16, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Obama has always been more concerned with substance than style points.

OK, you can stop laughing now.

Socratease on September 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM