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Obama in no-win situation with left/right coalition
by Dick Morris/Eileen McGann
Sep 13, 2013 | 48 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Opposition to American involvement in the war in Syria is uniting the far left and the far right in a new coalition for peace and the Constitution. The coalition made its debut when it lost by seven votes in its attempt to get the House to put limits on NSA surveillance. It is not just a conjunction of strange bedfellows. It may be the harbinger of a national partisan realignment in post-Obama America.

The left and the right agree the twin issues of war and intelligence surveillance forming the basis for a new political movement. Their mutual distain and disgust for Wall Street speculators enriched through currency manipulation, crony capitalism and Fed policy makes it a trifecta.

The most important thing both the left and the right have in common is that they are outsiders. If the Syria resolution comes to a vote in the House -- one doubts that President Obama is nutty enough to demand it in the face of Vladimir Putin's proposed settlement -- it will feature a sight not usually seen in Washington. On the one hand, the speaker of the house and the majority leader will be united in voting for a major piece of legislation, which the overwhelming majority of their party caucus opposes. On the other hand, the president and the floor leader of his own party in the House will be supporting the same measure against at least a third or even more of their party's representatives in the chamber.

Obama, Boehner, Cantor, McCain, Graham, Corker and Pelosi may appear to have nothing in common. But they do. They are the insiders who represent the military industrial complex on Capitol Hill. Their support of war and crony capitalist economic policy is anchored by the dependence on the goodwill and generosity of the K street lobbyists who feed the complex with daily massive helpings of public funding.

If Obama pushes the war resolution to a vote and loses, he will be cast into the most dangerous place for a second term president to be: irrelevance. Diplomacy takes place without him, led by Vladimir Putin. He can't pass legislation and faces a growing revolt in his own party against the expanding IRS/CIA/NSA intelligence scandals. And his party's members in Congress know they can vote against him with impunity.

But it may not come to a vote. Vladimir Putin has pulled Obama's chestnuts out of the fire.

Putin's proposal to place Bashar al-Assad's gas weapons under U.N. supervision must have been vetted by Damascus. Assad wins anyway. He gets a pass on his past use of gas. He just has to not use it again. But he knows full well that he can't anymore anyway. The world will go nuts and topple him from power if he attacked with gas after all this. So he is not really relinquishing anything. He doesn't get bombed. He can play games with the U.N. inspectors for months. He acquires an international legitimacy through his acceptance of peace terms -- proving he is no Saddam Hussein. And his Syrian opposition looks so bad, and so riddled with al-Qaida, that the American people probably won't allow even their covert arming to proceed.

Putin gets to be at the epicenter of diplomacy after Obama is consigned to the sidelines. Already he has gained the upper hand over us in Egypt and Saudi Arabia -- formerly our two strongest Middle Eastern Arab allies -- by supporting the military in Cairo while Obama bet on the Muslim Brotherhood. Syria makes it a trifecta.

Obama has to say yes. He can't bomb a country that is in the process of suing for peace. He has to know he would have lost the war resolution and be grateful that he can save face and not be put to the test. But everyone will know that he would have lost and that will change things mightily.

(Daily Corinthian columnist Dick Morris, former advisor to the Clinton administration, is a commentator and writer. He is also a columnist for the New York Post and The Hill. His wife, Eileen McGann is an attorney and consultant.)
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