John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


It’s All On Obama

Posted on September 5, 2013


The Syrian vote, if it happens at all, is all on Obama.

He can’t blame the Republican leadership.  He can’t blame the news media.  He can’t blame the British, the Russians, the French, the United Nations or the American people if Congress rejects his position.

He has nobody to blame but himself.

Yesterday, he said that it wasn’t his Red Line, but a Red Line drawn by the world.

That’s not true.  He was the one who said it, he was the one who put his reputation on the line with unwise words, he was the one who doesn’t have a broader strategy to deal with the intractable problem of the Syrian dissolution.

Right now, the President doesn’t have the vote in Congress.  Not even close.

He doesn’t have the votes on the right (which is predictable) or the left (which is predictable) or the center (which is really troubling).

He doesn’t have the vote because he doesn’t have much of a case.

He doesn’t have much of a case because he doesn’t have a broader strategy.

According to news reports, his case is purely based on emotion.  But emotion doesn’t work for members of Congress.   Not when their constituents are emotionally telling them “Hell no.”

The natural reaction of the American people when it comes to getting into war is “Hell no.”

They have to be convinced that going to war is worth the blood and the treasure.  Their blood and our treasure.

Is it worth killing people we don’t know to achieve some bigger objective?  Killing people is serious business and it always has ramifications beyond the people killed.

And the American people have to convinced that it is worth their tax dollars being spent.

There is a front-page story in the New York Times about how people in Tennessee can’t afford to eat three square meals a day and about how Congress is scaling back the SNAP program because of our budget problems.

Guns and butter is still the choice Congress makes every day.  They can’t justify another war in the Middle East, because people are just plum tired of wars in the Middle East.

Their view is pretty simple:  This ain’t our problem.

The President, if he were still a Senator, would undoubtedly take the same position as Jimmy Duncan, who told the media that there was no way he would vote for the Obama Syria resolution.   Duncan is from Tennessee, and he voted against Iraq too.

Turns out Duncan was right about that, and he might be right this too.

Obama has to sell this like he has never sold anything else in his life.

He needs to put this in a broader strategic perspective, just as he has to make it emotionally important to each and every American mother and father.

This is all on Obama.  If the Congress doesn’t agree to his Syrian adventure, it’s not their fault.  It’s his fault.