Fox News senior political contributor Brit Hume predicted Tuesday that President Barack Obama will likely get approval from Congress Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government for its use of chemical weapons.
Hume noted, however, that early in his first term Obama had a different approach, which was rooted in belief he could change the world’s view of the United States just by his presence as commander in chief.
“His problem is, of course, that he made a couple of calculations at the beginning of his presidency,” Hume said on Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom.” “One was, he would never put it this way, but to some extent he clearly believes that America and its interventions abroad are a big part of what’s wrong with the world. And he intended to pull those back, and he intended as well that people in the Muslim world in particular by virtue of his mere presence as president of the United States would take a different and fresh look at the United States and relations with these countries in that part of the world would get better and with the peoples in that part of the world would get better.”
“Well, clearly, that hasn’t happened. But his desire not to intervene places has been overtaken by events a couple of times, as witness Libya where he acted without any effort to get Congress on-board ahead of time at all,” Hume continued. “So he’s shown that he believes that that’s legal, and he’s shown a willingness to do it in the past. I think he thinks Syria is a mess, and he doesn’t want to get deeply involved in it, and I think he didn’t want to do this. But having said what he said about red lines, he was sort of forced to do something. So now in his own sort of halting way, he’s proceeding toward doing something, exactly what remains a bit unclear.”
In the end, Hume suspects Obama would get the votes he needed, which would include a coalition of the Democratic minorities and some Republicans in both chambers of Congress.
“If you look at the Senate, the chances are that there are enough John McCains and Lindsey Grahams to join with most of the Democrats to get a majority for this in the Senate,” he continued. “The House, you’ve got to figure that the president will be able to round up a majority of the Democratic caucus. His challenge will be to get enough Republicans to create a majority over there. My guess is he’ll probably be able to do it. My guess also looking at it at this moment is that the vote could be pretty close, and it won’t be easy. But my guess is he can probably get this.”
“And, you know, whether — then the question becomes whether what he does is effective. Remember, Martha, he talks about degrading Assad’s capability with regard to chemical weapons and capabilities generally,” Hume added. “He’s also talking about giving a lift to the opposition. None of the military aid that was promised however long ago it was has yet to reach the rebels. So there’s all kinds of competence questions that get raised here and a lot to look at.”