In a parliamentary system, a rejection of a war authorization pushed by a prime minister could easily turn into a vote of no confidence and the end of a government.  In the American system, it might just mean the  end of the President’s credibility — and a historic humiliation for the Commander in Chief.  Chuck Todd tells Today that this is what is driving desperation at the White House, as Congress grows increasingly hostile to hostilities:

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Will the public buy the “patriotism” argument? That it’s our duty to intervene in the Syrian civil war because, er, America? Not only will that fail to convince anyone — and it’s certainly been tried over the past week and is failing so far — but that expresses even more desperation.  An old adage warns that “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel,” but in this context it’s the last refuge of the desperately incompetent as well. In the earlier CNN poll, almost three-quarters of Americans reject the idea that this will address any national interest, and waving the flag isn’t an argument that will change a lot of minds on war.  It might change minds on Obama himself, though, and not for the better.

This is a perfect time to remind people of Morrissey’s Axiom: In politics and dating, desperation is not an aphrodisiac.