Just 25 likely yeses, with fully 184 reps still quietly undecided. Even if that group splits with roughly two-thirds in favor of attacking, the House will be in the ballpark of defeating this thing with nearly 300 votes.
A lack of any sort of obvious, coherent game plan for convincing the public action needs to be taken against Syria and a decision to leave congressmen in their districts to be confronted by angry voters is making it increasingly difficult for members to back President Obama.
“The calls have been overwhelmingly against. We should have been called back [into session] immediately, there should have been a national address, New Jersey Republican Frank LoBiondo said Thursday…
Leaving a hot button issue to linger in public is something of a rookie legislative move — leaders in both chambers will routinely keep controversial bills under wraps until after a recess to avoid opponents from picking it apart and building a public outcry against it.
But rather than bring Congress back into the protective cocoon of the Washington echo-chamber where they would be insulated from direct constituent contact, and more amenable to agreeing to strikes, the White House has left them vulnerable to public opinion.
According to Gallup’s new poll, support for hitting Syria is running at 36/51, the lowest level at the start of hostilities for any major American military action over the past 25 years. (Conservative and liberal opposition is similar at 33/59 and 37/51, respectively.) Only the intervention in Kosovo in 1999 saw public approval similarly underwater early on, and that was within the margin of error at 43/45. Not only that, but here’s a useful comparison from the Cook Report:
It’s one thing to plan a big nationally televised pep talk to rally your allies in Congress when you’re sitting at 60 percent job approval. When you’re sitting at 44, and your party’s already facing a heavy lift in the midterms, there’s no such thing as “allies.” Not even Pelosi, who was willing to gamble the House majority on ObamaCare, is willing to twist arms on this one. Yet.
Via Mediaite, here’s Dana Bash of CNN telling Tapper that the White House’s classified briefings for House members aimed at persuading them to vote yes are … having the opposite effect. So that’s why the no’s in the whip count keep rising.
Update: Pelosi to the rescue:
Pelosi sent yet another “Dear Colleague” letter Friday to her Democratic cohorts urging them to attend two caucus meetings: one with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough at 9 a.m. Tuesday and another on Wednesday…
House Democrats are likely to hear from McDonough and Pelosi that they need to support the president in his bid for intervention or risk compromising Obama’s efficacy on a number of issues.