President Obama's decision to seek political cover for his plan to bomb Syria by going to Congress is on the verge of blowing up in his face Friday, as two outside vote counters now show a majority of the House of Representatives oppose granting Obama authorization to strike Syria.
Not the appropriate response
“The use of chemical weapons against innocent civilian populations is deplorable, violates international norms, and must not be tolerated," Rep. Susan Bonamici, D-Ore., said in a statement late Thursday, "but military action is not always the most appropriate response.”
Bonamici became the 217th "no" or "lean no" vote on the progressive blog Firedoglake's Syria Whip Count. FDL shows 83 Republicans and 23 Democrats as firm "no's" on the Syria vote, with another 78 Republicans and 42 Democrats leaning against. An ABC News whip count also shows 217 votes against bombing, although they show only 71 firm votes against (57 R, 14 D) and 146 likely to oppose (106 R, 40 D).
Not an issue to organize around
Even worse for Obama, his own outside lobbying organization, Organizing for Action, announced Thursday that they would not be pushing Obama supporters to support the president on Syria. "The debate in Congress over the Syria vote is not one that OFA is planning on organizing around," OFA Executive Director Jon Carson told the Washington Examiner's Rebecca Berg.
The phones are melting in opposition
Meanwhile, Americans already opposed to bombing Syria are melting the Capitol switch board. “Over 560 constituents have contacted Broun by phone and e-mail this week and only two of them support military action in Syria,” an aide to Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., told National Review. “We have had a little over 800 contacts to our DC and district offices," an aide to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Katrina Trinko, "with about 90 percent being against intervention.”
The case for war is falling flat
And while the Senate will probably still vote for war, it does not appear that the administration is changing many minds in their favor. "After nearly three hours behind closed doors, senators left a classified hearing on Syria unswayed by testimony from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey," the Washington Examiner's Tim Mak reported Thursday.
Only pure partisanship can save Obama nowAs bad as the situation looks now in the House, there still is a strong possibility that Democrats will rally around Obama and delivers the votes he needs to save his presidency. “At the end of the day, a lot of these Democrats are going to be with the president,” a House Democratic aide told Politico. “Because the choice is to vote against [the Syria resolution] and turn the president into a lame duck and destroy his credibility, or swallow it and vote for something that you’re not wild about. When you’re faced with that kind of decision, most of these fence-sitters are going to come aboard.”
From the Washington Examiner
Editorial: Congress should reject Obama's Syria attack
Susan Crabtree: Why Obama switched direction on Syria
Susan Ferrechio: Senate on Friday will advance Syria resolution in deeply divided Congress
Rebecca Berg: Obama lobbying organization silent on unfolding Syria debate
Byron York: Can U.S. separate the good guys from jihadists in Syria?
Sean Higgins: House committee chairmen want to know cost of unions' Obamacare fix
Joel Gehrke: Top Congressional Black Caucus member mocks Obama's Syria proposal
Conn Carroll: Democrats fight against Obamacare privacy oversight
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Greg Sargent: Why House Dems think Syria resolution could still pass
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