President Obama dropped a double bombshell today. He announced that he has decided on military action in Syria, but he will seek congressional authorization before he acts.
President Obama said, “While I believe I have the authority to carry out this action without specific military authorization, I believe the country will be stronger” with the debate. Obama said that he has talked to House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and they all agreed to hold a debate and a vote on authorization of military action against the Assad regime
Obama asked members of both parties to take this vote, and said that he looked forward to the debate. He said that he wasn’t elected to avoid hard decisions, and neither were the members of the House and Senate. Obama also said that our democracy is stronger when the president and the members of the House and Senate stand together.
The president made his case that Syria’s use of chemical weapons against their own people should not be ignored or tolerated, but what Obama has really done is roll back decades of unilateral executive military action. Barack Obama is not George W. Bush. He is not going to go it alone.
The mainstream media is already spinning Obama’s decision to seek congressional authorization as a roll of the dice, but it is likely that Obama already has the votes that he needs. While some liberal Democrats in the House will vote against this, Nancy Pelosi will deliver most of her caucus. The White House should need a smattering of Republicans, which they probably already have.
The president should be applauded for letting the representatives of the people decide whether or not there will be a strike in Syria. Obama didn’t say that he wouldn’t act alone, but it seems unlikely that he will risk the serious political fallout that would come with going it alone.
The big news here isn’t that Obama is taking a gamble, but that he is returning the decision on military action and war back to its constitutional roots.
So much for the meme that Obama a warmongering dicator like Bush.