Brawl Over Syria an 'Uphill Slog,' 'Amateur Hour'
White House tries to make its case as GOP roars
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2013 2:19 PM CDT
Karl Rove supported the White House's push to seek congressional approval to strike Syria, but now thinks that was a mistake.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

(Newser) – It was all Syria, all the time on the Sunday talk circuit today, with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough hitting all five networks in making the administration's case for action. "The question is very simple for Congress this week... Not a single (member of Congress) rebuts the intelligence," McDonough said, according to Politico. "So, the question for them is, should (Assad) be held to account for carrying out this activity?" The United States' answer, he said, "will be followed in Tehran, will be followed in Damascus, will be followed by Hezbollah." Republicans, meanwhile, picked apart the White House, with Karl Rove calling its push "amateur hour at the White House" and arguing that Obama's decision to consult Congress on the strike has taken all the momentum out of the plan. He clarifies that he originally “thought that (Obama) needed to take it to Congress but, in retrospect, that was a mistake." Elsewhere on the Sunday debate over action in Syria, as per Politico:

  • Rep. Mike Rogers: "I think it's an uphill slog from here. It's a confusing mess," and the White House has "done an awful job" in making its case.
  • Sen. Rand Paul: “When I see the horror of the attacks, my first impulse that is whoever would order that deserves death. Someone who is a war criminal who would execute citizens and kill innocent people with any kind of weapon deserves death." But, "I don’t think we’re going to do anything to Assad."
  • Sen. Tom Udall: "I’m very disappointed that the administration has given up on the United Nations and rallying the world. We haven't exhausted all of our political, economic and diplomatic alternatives. We ought to be rallying the world. Because all the world agrees, you shouldn’t use chemical weapons."
  • Rep. Pete King: “I just wish the president had laid this out better. I wish he’d quit backing away from his own red line. And I wish he was more of a commander in chief than a community organizer. I can’t imagine Harry Truman or John Kennedy or Ronald Reagan or Dwight Eisenhower ever putting the nation in a position like this on a military policy."
  • Sen. Ted Cruz: “This attack is not based on defending US national security. It’s not based on defending Americans or our allies. Rather, it is explicitly framed by President Obama, by Secretary Kerry, as a defense of what they call international norms. I don’t think that’s the job of our military, to be defending amorphous international norms."

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Sep 10, 2013 3:28 AM CDT
I wonder if this is a replay of what the people of Germany and the world acted in response to mass killing of Jews? In order to kill millions of humans in Gas Chambers , someone had to know about the crimes and did nothing. Now we all know that people are being killed with gas. Is the world responding in the same manner as the world responded before the 2nd world War to mass killings by a country called Germany? There had to be leaders of a lot of countries that knew about the mass killings long before 1945.
Sep 9, 2013 11:54 AM CDT
Someone should tell Rove that his criticism will only work on his base.
Sep 9, 2013 9:13 AM CDT
Translation: The GOP is scared to death to make a decision on Syria. They are annoyed that Obama won't do it for them so they can simply assume their usual role in the peanut gallery slinging insults and accomplishing nothing.