This is speculation. Generally, one of the benefits of blogging is the ability to embed authoritative links – to polls, to news articles, to expert analysis. This week there are no links, just speculation.
The premise: President Obama understood that he’d been badly thrashed by Vladimir Putin and he reached out to the one resource who could match the Russian’s political cunning and ruthlessness – the former House Speaker who had delivered Obamacare for him in 2009. They’ve been out of touch for a few years; now they need each other.
1. Foreign policy is different from domestic politics. Flowery speeches and a pliant media don’t matter and your inner circle looks like a bunch of amateurs. Stay with what you are good at.
2. The minority leader cannot deliver the House Democrats for a strike on Syria; even core Bay Area supporters like Anna Eshoo and George Miller are publicly against their president. With isolationist Republicans and those who just want Obama to be taken down there is no way to get a House majority to support the proposed strike – and there won’t be next time. Mutter something about presidential perogatives, but don’t push it – a future president will be a Republican and your base doesn’t want her to be bombing somewhere without their permission.
3. A defeat in the House would be a disaster. Pushing 30 or 40 Democrats to support their president when a strong majority of the public opposed his Syria policy would invite a repeat of 2010 when Democrats lost 63 seats and the Speakership. Grab Putin’s lifeboat, whatever it costs.
4. The American public has a short attention span. They’ve largely forgotten about Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, and the ongoing NSA revelations. Don’t worry about Fox and Darrell Issa. See what the New York Times is writing about – but don’t read that ingrate Maureen Dowd’s columns. She didn’t get the memo.
5. Spin a yarn that the public will want to buy. Tell them that you really came up with this idea for Assad to give up his chemical weapons in a 20 minute conversation with Putin at the G20 meeting, that it was your insistence on a military strike that got the Russians and Assad to the table, that anything you agree to must be complete and verifyable, that you’ve made the world safer from future use of chemical weapons, that Iran recognized your steely resolve. People will want to believe that their president is up to the task, and your faithful need something to hang on to.
6. Let Kerry take it from here. He loves the spotlight, just don’t let him commit to anything that will cause a problem in the next six months – or maybe until after November 2014. Get an inventory; let the UN discuss it; agree that the weapons will be dealt with sometime next year. Just no milestones.
7. Oh, and you’ve got to give something to your liberal base that is feeling abandoned. Maybe give the Federal Reserve Chairman gig to Janet Yellen instead of that misogynistic Clinton lackey Larry Summers. And lets really go for it: appoint Barbara Lee, the most liberal anti-war member of the House as your representative to the UN General Assembly. She and UN Ambassador Samantha Powers, now that would send a message to the world.
Bullet dodged. On to the budget, the debt limit, and Obamacare. As Hillary would say, “What difference does it really make?”
To provide a bit of balance, this week’s video shows the state of the Obama presidency on late night television.
www.RightinSanFrancisco.com – 9/20/13