Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

September 6, 2013

LEFFLER: Obama's politics opened up can of worms.

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — President Barack Obama pulled a bit of political genius out of his magic hat when he sought Congressional approval to use military action in Syria, putting the onus on Congress to decide whether we should go all “America” on their … posteriors.

In doing so, he climbed up on his stump and used the bully pulpit to tell Congressional leaders that if they didn’t go along with his plan to use force in the Middle Eastern country, we’d look weak. Congress never likes looking weak and as such will likely approve the measure overwhelmingly.

Right?

Well just hold on a minute there. There’s a large contingent of Congress that is opposed to military action in Syria, mostly for legitimate reason — but some for political purposes of their own.

As of the writing of this column, no less than 14 members of the House of Representatives have said that if Congress disapproves of military action and the president goes through with it anyway — which he has said he may — that they’d consider that to be an impeachable offense.

So would I.

At first I was impressed with the president’s decision to ask Congress for permission to use force. It is, after all, what he’s supposed to do according to the Constitution. I thought, “Wow. How refreshing to see a commander in chief who follows the law.”

Then the politics occurred to me and I realized that he wasn’t so interested strict Constitutionalism as he was in spreading the blame for a military action that we just plain shouldn’t be involved in in the first place. If Congress says yes, then no matter how poorly it goes, he can say, “But you told me to!” If he acted without asking then the blame is completely on the White House.

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