If this Russian scheme is happening, then Congress proceeding as planned on voting on a use of force resolution might be something of a moot point, as well as a downright humiliating prospect for the White House, seeing as how they have neither the votes nor the public’s support to back them up. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been obediently following the White House’s lead from the get-go on Syria, staying quiet at first, then coming out in full and outspoken support of the president’s plan, and then announcing an indefinite delay to the planned Senate vote on Monday afternoon. I suppose it’s possible they’ll be able to drum the votes up as time goes on, if they still move to go through with the exercise, but Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is officially moving from the “leans no” to the outright “no” category, as he made clear on the Senate floor this morning — putting him at odds with the Republican leadership over on the House side.
This decision was not easy. When the president of the United States asks you to take a question like this seriously, you do so. Because, just as our credibility in Syria is tied up with our credibility in places like Iran and North Korea, so too is the credibility of the commander in chief tied up to a large extent with America’s credibility in general. There’s no doubt about that, so let me repeat: I’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with this president or any other in any case where our vital national security interests are threatened, our treaty allies are attacked, or we face an imminent threat. … And this proposal just does not stand up. So, I’ll be voting against this resolution of vital national security risk clearly not at play. There are just too many unanswered questions about our long-term strategy in Syria, including the fact that this proposal is utterly detached from a wider strategy in the civil war there. … No one should be faulted for being skeptical about this proposal, regardless of what party they’re in, or for being dumfounded at the ham-handed manner in which the White House announced it. … There is absolutely no reason to signal to the enemy when and how, and for how long, you plan to strike them — none. You don’t send out a save the date card to the enemy