Making Congress Decide

September 3, 2013 10:24 a.m.

As I signaled over the weekend, I’m not clear on the best way to proceed with the poor set of options we appear to have in Syria. I’m also of mixed mind on Obama’s decision to take the question to Congress. I think there is no question that the President does not need Congress’s approval to take the action he seems inclined to take. And I’m surprised how many people now seem to think or pretend otherwise. That said, it is often wise to seek such authorization. And what we’ve seen over the last three days shows some of the perversity that grows up when Congress is not involved in questions of war and peace.You now have Republican members of Congress deploring 1) President Obama’s refusal to take military action against Syria, 2) insisting that he requires congressional authorization to do so or he should be impeached, 3) saying they won’t vote to authorize it because he won’t go far enough and 4) also because he’ll go too far. And the kicker is that it’s often the same person saying each of these mainly or in some cases totally contradictory things at the same time. I say Republicans. And in this case, their extreme animus toward the president intensifies the nonsense. But the shoe might well be on the other foot if a president of the other party were in office.

So if nothing else this is a good result of Obama’s decision: making people decide. You want to make this happen or prevent it from happening. Without accountability and some say in the process, you have this perverse process of everybody coming up with their own boutique war policy. I’m for it but only if it’s limited and gets the job done. I’m totally for kicking ass and saving the children, but I’m going to vote no because of Obamacare. Everybody just show their cards and live with it without excuses.

Support The TPM Journalism Fund
  • Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
  • Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: