Congressional Foreplay Before Syrian Money Shot
To begin this post, I’d like to feature a tweet from a rat—er, I mean Steven Rattner. Who, you may wonder? Here’s his wikipedia pedigree:
Steven Lawrence Rattner (born July 5, 1952) is an American financier who led the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry in 2009 for the Obama administration. He was a managing principal of the Quadrangle Group, a private equity investment firm that specialized in the media and communications industries. Prior to co-founding Quadrangle, he was an investment banker at Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, and Lazard Freres & Co., where he rose to deputy chairman and deputy chief executive officer. Rattner began his career as a journalist for the The New York Times.
Rattner is currently chairman of Willett Advisors LLC, the private investment group that manages billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s personal and philanthropic assets. He continues to be involved in public policy matters as the economic analyst for MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and he has returned to The New York Times as a contributing writer for its Op-Ed page.
Now, here is the brilliant tweet that should offer a little peak into the thinking of the disaster capitalist class:
Punishing #Syria for using chemical weapons isn’t declaring war. Shouldn’t require Congressional approval. POTUS is our CEO.
This tweet is in response to the allegedly last-minute decision by the president to do that whole constitutional thing with bombing another country—ask Congress. Cabinet-level discontent is already wafting out. War was expected, and now war will be delayed.
Here is another tweet worth noting, from Dennis Kucinich:
200 in #Congress demand #Syria vote. #Constitution art.1 sec.8 -@BarackObama risking #Impeachment?
Even though Obama is being the gracious executive by asking before escalating the conflict, he still maintains he has the authority to go it alone. This from the Washington Post:
The administration insisted Thursday that President Obama has both the authority and the determination to make his own decision on a military strike against Syria, even as a growing chorus of lawmakers demanded an opportunity to vote on the issue and Britain, the United States’ closest ally, appeared unlikely to participate.
Britain’s sudden withdrawal came after Prime Minister David Cameron, deserted by rebels in his own Conservative Party, lost a parliamentary vote for provisional authorization for military action in Syria.
Cameron, who had strongly backed Obama’s pledge to ensure that Syria would face “consequences” for its alleged use of chemical weapons, said he would respect Parliament’s will. Many in his government attributed the vote loss to the legacy of British participation in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, based on false claims about weapons of mass destruction.
So now the big question is, what will Obama do if he doesn’t get the vote he wants? Will he risk impeachment to punish Assad for acting predictably brutal in the face of various rebel groups trying to violently overthrow his government?
Another good question to ask is why Syria? Here’s a hint: the answer is NOT the use of chemical weapons.