President Obama’s decision to kick the Syrian can down the road, by punting the issue to Congress, has a whole lot less to do with Constitutional delegation, and a whole lot more to do with politics. The President previously expressed interest in acting unilaterally – only to throw congress an apparent bone, by announcing that even though he didn’t feel like he needed to, he would seek congressional approval. Many pundits have thought the move might be to kill some time (while his Middle East policy continues to deteriorate) for political cover. Reuters, unwittingly, presented a possible alternative motive for the President’s sudden bow to lawmakers: Political distraction.
As Congress returns for nine (yes, nine) whole days of work in the month of September, their calendar is already full. This comes as little surprise with the looming debt ceiling negotiations and the new fiscal year approaching. The addition of a debate over the merits of supporting Al-Qaida sponsored rebel forces and engaging in another Middle East boondoggle is only expected to complicate congressional schedules. According to Reuters:
The focus on Syria, however, could provide a convenient excuse for Republicans to agree to short-term extensions that provide two or three months' worth of government funding and borrowing capacity.
The “how-to-avoid-conservative-principles” research paper, masquerading as a news story, made the point that Lawmakers on both sides of the isle will likely concede to a short term increase in the Nation’s debt; if only because they will be allocating more time and energy to the important topic of Syria. . . After all, the government’s fiscal solvency is clearly not as important as lobbing some missiles with no intention of impacting the outcome of a civil war that has no bearing on US security interests. Right John McCain?
However irritating the Reuter’s analysis of events might seem, it also could be quite possible. With debates about Syria, the noise over funding Obamacare and passing Continuing Resolutions (since the Democrat led Senate seems incapable of passing yearly budgets) might very well be drowned out. Even with 80 House Republicans initially saying they would vote against any CR that funds Obamacare, the issue might be relegated to the back burner as Obama veers the conversation toward his flawed Foreign Policy.
Which brings into focus the utter incompetency of the White House agenda. As this administration jumps from one hot-button issue to the next, their only motivation seems to be distraction and misdirection. For the time being, Obama’s incomprehensible failure to forge a sound Middle East Policy is a slightly more appetizing conversation than a discussion on Obamacare, economic matters, and the Federal Budget.
The move also goes to show that this President is, in fact, crazy like a fox. . . Albeit, a fox with ADHD and some serious socialist tendencies. By agreeing to give the issue of Syria to congress, the President will be able to claim that the horrendous outcome (of which we can be assured, given our starting point on the issue) will be the fault of lawmakers and legislators. . . Not the Community Organizer in Chief. Moreover, the President will compound the already heavy schedule for Lawmaker’s frenzied nine days of work this month. So, not only will the President have the flexibility to place blame on congress for the eventual failings of Middle East policy, but he may very well obtain a short term increase in the National Debt without much fanfare.
It also seems strange that a political win for the White House will result in indiscriminant military action (supporting Al Qaida sponsored rebels) and a short term increase in government funding. . . In other words: The President would like to punt on the largest issue driving the Markets and economic conditions, while simultaneously increasing violence in the Middle East.
A political win for the President, in this case, looks an awful lot like political ammunition for Republicans.