If the republicans haven’t figured it by now after 4 ½ years of an Obama presidency, then they should just concede the 2014 elections right this instant. Every action that President Obama takes is a purely political move. He is moving his chess pieces around to get the victory that he wants and when he wants it. The Administration’s latest move is to obtain permission from Congress to strike Syria after its use of chemical weapons. The move is a reversal of this Administration’s initial position amidst a rift between Republican congressional factions. This reversal is no doubt a move to take advantage, yet again, of a divided Republican party, despite the precedent set by prior administrations that obtained tacit congressional approval to carry out similar strikes. In short, the Obama Administration’s move is to further divide the Republican party and set up a deflection mechanism to blame Republicans regardless of the outcome.
We have already been given a preview that any strike would not affect the outcome of the Syrian civil war. The US would just lob a couple of missiles towards Syrian, giving Assad a proverbial slap on the wrist. So why then does President Obama want to now bring the issue to Congress?
Republican opposition will be met with yet another reinforcement of the “party of no” mantra. After 12 years of war in the Middle East initiated by the GOP, anything but a war mongering approach will be easily criticized as being a political move solely to undermine President Obama. The political opposition can then be turned into a trump card to play against the GOP in the 2014 elections.
If Republicans approve of actions against Syria, they will still come out on the bottom. The current outreach by President Obama to the GOP old guard representatives, Sens. McCain and Graham, is a scapegoat mechanism aimed at generating a GOP plan that will then be used against them. These two senators are playing into the trap by assisting with the development of the US response to the Syrian crisis. Once the plan is developed and endorsed by these Republicans and enacted by Congress, the Obama Administration has their “get out of jail free” card. The GOP will be blamed. Ask yourselves why there is not a contingent of Democrat Representatives and Senators ardently working out a Syrian response?
The last scenario is the further implosion of the Republican Party due to infighting amongst the Republican establishment and the next generation of libertarian-conservative members being elected.
Basically, no matter the scenario President Obama is using this approach to gain cover against any criticism by squarely positioning the blame on the Republicans. So, what should the GOP do then? If I were the RNC chair, I would demand all factions of the Republican Party to begin to adhere to a singular policy on all issues. Specifically in this case, the response to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons, the GOP should carry out the following two unconventional responses.
Before issuing the responses, let’s revisit the background. It is well established that President Obama issued his redline ultimatum and has skirted a response up until this point. He has had 2 years to respond to the situation and in delaying he has been perceived as being weak. In the beginning, there was an opportunity for the US to intervene with the rebels that could have produced a workable partnership with pro-Western groups. Now the lines are blurred and most agree that the rebels are an amalgam of radical jihadist elements. Partnering now will result in another Afghanistan-Taliban-like emergence.
Ok, back to the response. The Republican response should include: 1) a full accounting of the Administration’s actions, as above, and handling of the situation by issuing a statement indicating a detailed timeline of President Obama’s Syrian response over the past two years. They should include that they have advocated that the administration should have intervened early, on the behalf of pro-Western rebel forces and emphasize that the Administration’s delayed response has compromised national security; and 2) all Republicans in both chambers should abstain from voting to approve the use of force, based on the above assessment. The former will document the rationale for abstaining, with cause, and the latter will remove them from the political blame that President Obama seeks to associate with them. By abstaining, the burden of using or not using force in Syria will squarely be on the backs of the Democrats. This is the only way the Republicans can score a political victory. The alternative is playing along with the chess master and ending up further alienated in 2014 elections, at a time when we need a shift from the new Obama normal.
That’s where I stand. If I haven’t offended you, then I haven’t tried hard enough.