Breaking news. Not every single Republican elected to office took to the TV to decry President Obama last night or this morning after he announced authorizing targeted strikes in Iraq in what looks to be a perpetual clean-up of former President Bush’s misguided invasion.
McCain is bitter and wants more war, Boehner is confused and walking both sides of the fence, but a few Republicans have managed to hold onto their sanity and are not using a crisis as an opportunity to explore their bitterness. All in all, Republicans managed to look like they were supporting action they obviously support, while still sticking the knife in and blaming the President for Bush’s actions.
Representative Pete King (R-NY) tweeted, “It is essential that we support President’s decision to authorize air strikes”.
Both Boehner and McConnell’s offices admitted that the President had told them of the decision prior to the announcement, so the inevitable hearing on Obama’s use of his executive power may be delayed. Josh Lederman of the AP tweeted, “Aides to Boehner, McConnell tell me the White House notified them of Obama’s decision before he announced it today”.
But there is always room for criticism, so Lederman summed it up in a tweet, “Reaction from most Republicans to Obama Iraq decision so far seems to be ‘Yes please, but not enough'”.
Frank Thorp of NBC summed it up with Speaker Boehner’s statement, which tries to support while undermining at the same time — in other words, your typical confused Boehner statement, “In stmt, @SpeakerBoehner calls #Iraq airstrikes “appropriate,” but says he’s “dismayed by the ongoing absence of a strategy” to fight ISIS”.
Boehner’s statement in part:
“The president’s authorization of airstrikes is appropriate, but like many Americans, I am dismayed by the ongoing absence of a strategy for countering the grave threat ISIS poses to the region. Vital national interests are at stake, yet the White House has remained disengaged despite warnings from Iraqi leaders, Congress, and even members of its own administration. Such parochial thinking only emboldens the enemy and squanders the sacrifices Americans have made. The president needs a long-term strategy – one that defines success as completing our mission, not keeping political promises – and he needs to build the public and congressional support to sustain it.”
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) had time to blame the President for the situation in Iraq. Sure, he agrees with what the President is doing but it’s not enough and it’s all his fault. McCain wants military and other assistance.
In a statement, McCain wrote, “A policy of containment will not work against ISIS. It is inherently expansionist and must be stopped. The longer we wait to act, the worse this threat will become, as recent events clearly show.
“We need to get beyond a policy of half measures. The President needs to devise a comprehensive strategy to degrade ISIS. This should include the provision of military and other assistance to our Kurdish, Iraqi, and Syrian partners who are fighting ISIS. It should include U.S. air strikes against ISIS leaders, forces, and positions both in Iraq and Syria. It should include support to Sunni Iraqis who seek to resist ISIS. And none of this should be contingent on the formation of a new government in Baghdad.
And by the way, this is all Obama’s fault for ever trying to leave Iraq, “If ever there were a time to reevaluate our disastrous policy in the Middle East, this is it. Because of the President’s hands-off approach, the threats in the region have grown and now directly threaten the United States. We are already paying a very heavy price for our inaction, and if we do not change course, the costs of our inaction will only grow.”
Of course, Republicans are not happy and they find room for criticism, because the country can’t have a crisis that Republicans don’t use to divide us. But still. This is a momentary up in their rather appalling behavior. This is an attempt to look like they are supporting the President, whilst really undermining him.
Not to worry, it is only a matter of time before all Republicans are blaming Obama for Iraq again, as if George W Bush never happened, because nothing makes Republicans happier than pinning every humiliating, lawless action of a Republican President onto this Democratic President. (To wit, the little boys who cried wolf: “Obama’s Watergate! Obama’s Katrina! Obama’s Iraq!”)
For now, though, we have a soft landing.