Matt Lewis

Why Obama is losing the Syria war resolution vote

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

Some people seem surprised the votes just don’t seem to be there for Syrian intervention. I’m not. Call it the Vietnam syndrome redux, but after a decade of war, Americans are understandably war weary. Thus, the only way to overcome this difficult obstacle would be to have a). an ironclad case for war, and b). a president who uses personal relationships to twist arms.

In this regard, he’s 0-for-2.

There are way too many holes to ignore; the objective is obviously unclear. But even putting that huge problem aside, there is little reason for Congressmen to carry this water for Obama — not when he’s asking them to carry it off a cliff.

As one smart reader emailed me: “No relationship with congress + too many questions = no 218.”

* * *

Talk about dissonance. On one hand, we were told that Syria is a moral problem we absolutely must confront. But if Assad is Hitler, then why aren’t we trying to oust Hitler?

Even in regards to the “limited” strikes Obama says he wants, his recent actions belie the bellicose words. As Byron York described it on Twitter: “Obama 4-point Syria plan: 1) Surprise Congress by asking for war authority. 2) Play golf. 3) Make some phone calls. 4) Leave country.”

Why carry water for a man who isn’t carrying it himself?

To say Obama seems to lack urgency would be an understatement. He’s not even using all his political tools such as Organizing for Action to gin up support (this is no small thing, considering many Congressmen have noted that their constituents seem to be nearly unanimous in their opposition to intervention.)

Still, absent a “slam dunk” case for intervention, personally persuading Members of Congress to vote for bombing Syria (in this environment) would require some elbow grease. For years, Obama has been criticized for failing to develop relationships with Members of Congress. Until now, he has mostly (miraculously) skated on this. But one gets the sense that it has finally caught up with him.

“The key to this business,” Dickey Fox told fictional Jerry MaGuire, “is personal relationships.”

This is a movie Barack Obama must have missed.