Dear David Axelrod: Be very careful what you wish for
President Obama's political guru David Axelrod tweeted what many liberals have been saying on social media and across the cable nets since the president announced he would seek congressional approval for a strike on Syria.
Axelrod was in full gloat:
Big move by POTUS. Consistent with his principles. Congress is now the dog that caught the car. Should be a fascinating week!
Consistent with what "principles," Dave? The principle that the president stood on when he unilaterally and without congressional authorization took the country to war in Libya?
What Axelrod and many liberals are delighted about is that the GOP - especially in the House - will now be in a similar position to where Democrats were in early 2002 with Iraq; the prospect of political damage if they voted against war.
He don't know them very well, do he.
GOP sources say it is highly unlikely leadership will whip support for the proposal; such "votes of conscience" are typically left to members' discretion.
While there is still plenty of time for Obama to make the case for war, lawmakers are still seeking answers to big questions, chief among them being what a strike would accomplish.
That's true among Democrats as well. One Democratic aide says if the "strategic objective is to slap someone's wrist," that won't exactly be compelling.
Some liberal commentators have reacted with glee that Obama's plan puts the political onus on Speaker John Boehner. But the initial reaction by Republican insiders is that Obama faces far more risk, since he would look profoundly weak in defeat.
Democrats feel no compulsion to vote for a lame duck president's war - especially one where the consequences could be devastating. Iran has placed itself way out on a limb, threatening war against Israel of the US attacks. It could just be bluster - or they could mean it.
Does anyone on the Hill want to find out?
The bottom line, David, is that the president is likely to lose in the House in a bi-partisan manner. And there's no assurance of a positive Senate vote either.
Looks like that dog has gotten in front of the car and stopped it.