With Obama speech, America exhales over airstrikes it didn’t want

Lawmakers won’t have to vote anytime soon on a military strike in Syria.
MCT Regional News
Sep 11, 2013

Congress and the American people are exhaling Wednesday over Syria.

Lawmakers won’t have to vote anytime soon on a military strike, a vote few were eager to take. Their constituents, confused and skeptical about the Syria initiative, won’t see their sons and daughters sent on a murky mission.

The collective sigh of relief is the strongest signal yet that the nation may be entering a period of new isolationism, one where the public and its representatives have little taste for foreign conflicts.

President Barack Obama’s Tuesday-night speech did little to reverse the trend. He broke no new ground and offered no fresh logic. His tone vacillated between tough-talking commander-in-chief eager to teach a tyrant a stern lesson and the gentle leader ready to use diplomacy and reason to get out of a deep political mess.

Obama is struggling to adapt to this new skepticism over foreign involvement. He confronts a Congress unlikely to approve military action against Syria, and a nation overwhelmingly opposed.

He addressed a public, as well as the lawmakers, who were growing more wary and puzzled. Less than two weeks ago, Obama appeared ready to go into Syria. But on Aug. 31, sensing the public doubts, he asked Congress for approval. This week, as Congress returned from a summer recess and showed no enthusiasm for a strike, he pivoted again. Instead of a Tuesday speech once expected to launch a mission, the president turned lobbyist-in-chief.

He insisted his plan involved “modest effort and risk.” He patiently addressed widespread concerns about a broader conflict. His nod to working with Russia and the United Nations was a plea for time and understanding.

It’s what Congress wanted to hear. “The bottom line is we’re all going to try to work together. There is hope but not yet trust in what the Russians are doing,” said Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Charles Schumer of New York.

Obama still must adjust to this new, go-slow-and-maybe-don’t-go-at-all mood. Should he renew his effort to win support for a strike, he faces protests from the left and right that will not fade or be silent.

“I don’t have all the reasons why, but what I hear the most is that there’s no direct threat. There’s no upside. There’s no win. There’s no strategy. There’s no vision. There’s no trust. And the list goes on and on,” said Rep. Steve Palazzo, R-Miss.

Obama addressed the concerns of the left and right Tuesday night, and has bought more time to keep explaining. Congress is not expected to take any Syria votes or even debate the issue this week. Nor are leaders saying when, or even if, votes might occur.

After all, “a negative vote would make it less likely we’ll be able to get Russia and Syria to get rid of these weapons,” said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich.

The notion of a vote to authorize a military strike remains tempting, but its current value is more as a threat. “It is that prospect that has focused the minds of Russia and Syria,” said Levin.

Private talks among senators from both parties will continue Wednesday, aimed at some kind of legislation that would OK a strike but only after specific diplomatic steps have been exhausted.

Obama knows he’s in a difficult political position. When he met Tuesday with Senate Republicans before the address, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada, noticed the president seemed different. He often appears more casual and confident, but this time, Heller said, Obama sat with his hands crossed. “I’ve never seen that,” Heller said.

Obama’s message, said Heller, was clear. “He said basically give him room,” the senator said. “That’s all he asked.”

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By David Lightman - McClatchy Washington Bureau (MCT)

©2013 McClatchy Washington Bureau

Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau at www.mcclatchydc.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

Contango

Re: "Didn't George Patton claim to have shot Pancho Villa?)"

He shot and killed a couple of Villa's men from a moving car.

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"W.W.1 also pretty much ended the Socialist movement here in America.)"

Not quite. After Norman Thomas garnered almost 1 million votes in the 1932 election, FDR appropriated much of the Socialist platform - THAT essentially doomed the Socialist Party. Now we call 'em Democrats.

Read the 1932 Socialist Party Platform and see what I mean:

http://wps.pearsoncustom.com/wps...

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Lastly, a huge oil discovery was made recently in the Gulf.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/20...

The U.S. has a chance at oil independence. That would help remove our dependence on Middle East oil and change the foreign strategic dynamic.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango: Thanks for the info. Really hope, the gulf oil discovery combined with the oil sands of the west do bring positive change's to our oil dependency problems.

JACKEL

I am in favor of anything Bozo does as long as he goes in first and takes those other idiots as well.Seriously,The rebels are Bozo's Muslim Brotherhood and the enemy and if successful will be our future enemy.Wake up !If those people want to live like hogs so be it.Any one that smells like a donkey,marry 10 year olds,cook on camel shxt,wear rags,not shave men or women,they aren't worth one of our troops .

Contango

Re: "people want to live like hogs so be it."

I was talking with someone yesterday and asked:

What the h*ll other than oil do they give to the world anyway?

Can you name ONE SINGLE technological or medical advancement these yahoos have given to the world recently?

H*ll, their ambition is to take the world back to the 6th (bleeping) century!

Let the Shiites and the Sunnis be happy in their killing of each other for Allah.

JACKEL

No,they contribute nothing and they aren't happy in their own countries and yet they all seem to migrate to the Free World.They bring their crappy way of life and want us to accept it.I really don't give a crap about a few staged Taliban laying around.I was more concerned abut the thousands at The Towers and they were people from all over the world.

JACKEL

I was just wondering where are all Obama's friends from Columbia and his class picture etc.Where are all of Michelle friends from high school and college? Most sitting presidents have friends that talk about them and brag they were his classmates.He would probably be invited as a speaker at some of these events you would think.Wayne Alan Root says no one even remembers him.Where are his old girlfriends,I am sure one of them would say"Wow I dated the president".Yet here we are letting a President destroy our way of life and what does the Libs say"Get over it" Well,I say " Screw you" !

Contango

An intriguing question:

"If you were a country in the Middle East, whose protection would you want right now?"

http://www.businessinsider.com/w...

KURTje

All fact or all, some understand your posts. Other people never got around much.

Contango

Pres. Obama needs YOUR help.

"Help Kickstart World War III!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z...

MR.PERFECT

Got dam dum N1663R

MR.PERFECT

dumb N1663R

kal-el

Hm...since the dominant voices on here seem to post 24/7...just curious...how many of you are retired, and how many of you are on unemployment?

kal-el

JACKEL
THU, 09/12/2013 - 1:54PM

Contango
FRI, 09/13/2013 - 8:53AM

Aren't those work days/work hours?

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