The Buzz

September 3, 2013

Yoder, Cleaver say no — for now — on Syria

Obama has big problems in the House if he can’t gain the backing of members like Cleaver, Yoder

The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

The hot political yak making the rounds this morning:

•  “I do not believe a military attack against Syria is warranted at this time.” — Kansas Congressman Kevin Yoder, an Overland Park Republican.

“I am still opposed to military intervention, but I want to hear more from constituents and get more information.” — Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, a Kansas City Democrat.

The biggest challenge for President Obama when it comes to gaining congressional approval for an attack on Syria will be the Republican-controlled House. If he can’t win over members like Cleaver and Yoder, the climb for Obama may be too steep. The result would be a significant political embarrassment. (See next quote).

•  “A rejection of this resolution would be catastrophic, not just for him but for the institution of the presidency and the credibility of the United States.” — Arizona Sen. John McCain after meeting with Obama.

McCain, though, remains uncommitted because he wants more details about the president’s plan of attack. Win over McCain, and Obama has a fighting chance in the Senate. But still, there’s the House.

• 

“A two-bit dictator” who will “continue to act with impunity.” — Secretary of State John Kerry on Syrian President Bashar Assad in a call to House Democrats Monday.

Kerry is amping up the rhetoric, but he failed to convince some Democrats, including Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan. During the call, Nolan openly challenged the administration’s evidence of Asad’s use of chemical weapons. The hole the Obama administration has dug itself is deep and wide.

•  “After leaving office, George W. Bush said he wasn't going to publicly second-guess Obama and he hasn't, including today on Syria. It's admirable.” — John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC.

Excellent point. Bush has had opportunities and has remained out of the fray. The unwritten rule of the President’s Club: Speak no evil of your successors, a rule not always followed.

•  “You never are too old to chase your dreams.” — 64-year-old Diana Nyad on completing her 110-mile, 53-hour swim from Cuba to Florida Monday.

Amen.

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