Thursday, August 28, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Barry’s war within

By
From page A9 | September 08, 2013 |

The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize had been up late pleading for war.

The president looked exhausted as he met the press in St. Petersburg on Friday. The man elected because of his magical powers of persuasion had failed to persuade other world leaders at dinner the night before about a strike on Syria.

He said he had told his fellow leaders, “I was elected to end wars and not start them.’’

But in life, and especially in Washington, people sometimes end up becoming what they start out scorning.

It is uncomfortable to watch the president struggle to reconcile his two conflicting identities as he weighs what he calls the unappetizing choices on Syria, and as he is weighed down by the malignant choices on the Middle East made by his predecessor.

In his head, is Barry at war with the commander in chief?

One side of him is Barry, the smooth consensus builder and community organizer, the former constitutional professor and the drive-by senator who must stand by the argument he made when he ran for president excoriating W.’s and Dick Cheney’s highhandedness: checks and balances must be observed. As he told Charlie Savage, then reporting for The Boston Globe, in 2007, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.’’

W. and Tony Blair were not honest about the imminent threat from Saddam. Obama said in Russia Friday that “I put it before Congress because I could not honestly claim that the threat posed by Assad’s use of chemical weapons on innocent civilians and women and children posed an imminent, direct threat to the United States.’’

When it came time to act as commander in chief, he choked and reverted to Senator Barry – even though many lawmakers in both parties privately wish the president had just gone ahead and hurled a few missiles, Zeus like, and not put them on the spot.

Now the president who saw no benefit in wooing Democrats on the Hill is desperate for their love. Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco peacenik, will have to win Barry the right to bomb.

Those around him say that, after the British poodle slipped its leash, Obama faced a gut check on his decision to have a strike. He had to dig deep and decide “This is who I am,’’ and be true to himself. To be Barry, editor of the Harvard Law Review.

In some ways, his reaction reflects his tendency toward mixing high principles with low motives. He believes it is proper to get congressional approval and let the people chime in. But he also wanted to make life difficult for congressional Republicans who like to “snipe,’’ using his word, from the sidelines with no accountability. He wanted to call their blustery bluff.

But who is going to get bluffed?

Obama had to know that once he threw this into the Congress, it was likely done for. Congress now is a paralyzed domestic version of the U.N., with Republicans going “nyet” as often as the Russians, and Democrats acting like the don’t-look-at-us-for-help Chinese.

Many Republicans are trying to use this as an attempt to emasculate the president, but can they really send the message that the U.S. president is weak?

Obama has told Israel, when it has threatened to go it alone on striking Iran, to back off, guaranteeing the U.S. would use force if necessary to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. If Congress ratifies that there’s no appetite among Americans to police the Middle East, does it doom any chance of a U.S. pre-emptive strike on Iran and indicate that the U.S. won’t be there for Israel?

Barack Obama first made his mark as an Illinois legislator with a speech in 2002 about Iraq, which he warned would be “a rash war, a war based not on reason but on passion,’’ a war that would “distract” from our own problems with the economy and poverty.

Now agitated constituents at town halls across the country are asking why the president wants to distract from our own problems with the economy and poverty.

As Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings said on NPR, a nurse at Johns Hopkins confronted him, saying: “Folks have been using chemical weapons for a long time. Do you realize when I took my son to school, they didn’t even have books for him to’’ learn from?

As commander in chief, Obama knows that if he doesn’t punish Bashar Assad, America and his presidency will be forever reduced. He thinks a limited strike — not a war, as some are calling it — is the right thing to do.

But as Barry talked to the press in St. Petersburg, his lack of enthusiasm came across. He was not thundering from the top of the moral ramparts. He made his usual nuanced, lawyerly presentation, talking about the breach of international “norms.” It’s a weak, wonk word.

Norms don’t send people to the barricades.

Maureen Dowd is a columnist for The New York Times.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensSeptember 08, 2013 - 7:35 pm

    Maureen Dowd has obviously entered a 7 step program for recovering liberals. All her previous assumptions and platitudes about her once adored media messiah have evaporated and dissapeared. See, there is hope!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Locke an unparalleled universe in the Delta

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Small-town heroism on display in Napa

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2

 
 
Review set for Vacaville fitness center suit

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield motorcyclist hurt in Beck Avenue crash

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Logue misses meet with Libertarians in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

Chamber event looks at health care law

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B5 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

Winterhawk Winery up for auction

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B5 | Gallery

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

.

US / World

Boy hurt in California quake: ‘I should be dead’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Lawmakers approve groundwater management bill

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California sets ride-sharing insurance standards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Feds allow logging after huge California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California beach town sees flooding from hurricane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California Senate passes gun restraining order

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US to consider spousal abuse in immigration claims

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
UK sex abuse report prompts outrage, reflection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Dad acquitted in slaying of driver who killed sons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Q&A: Few laws govern children at shooting range

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Mom pleads for release of captive US journalist

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Israeli premier, Hamas declare victory in Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Q-and-A on Westerners who join the fight in Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Sources: US considering new relief mission in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Shooting by 9-year-old girl stirs debate over guns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

 
.

Opinion

Let’s improve entertainment control units

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
Seizing the day with old friends

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11

Signs of possible healing in Ferguson

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A11

 
Poor constituent service no longer acceptable

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11

 
Editorial Cartoons: Aug. 28, 2014

By Kim Durbin | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My boss insists that we all eat lunch with her in cafeteria

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 28, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Chris Soules is ABC’s new ‘Bachelor’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

John Lennon’s killer sorry for being ‘an idiot’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Reality star accused of rape, child molestation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Source: BET suspends producer after Blue Ivy joke

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Judge lets ‘X-Men’ director’s accuser drop lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Rapper Young Jeezy pleads not guilty to gun charge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Cops’ crew member killed in Omaha police shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Sports

Maria Sharapova comes through in 3 sets at US Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders rookie QB Derek Carr to start vs. Seahawks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Fuld’s homer in 9th lifts A’s over Astros 5-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Posey hits game-ending 2-run homer for Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Keenum, Savage to settle Texans’ backup QB duel vs. 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

USC’s Shaw admits to lying about injuries, rescue

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
IndyCar sets April 12 New Orleans date

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

No. 23 UNC suspends 4 players for opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Clippers sign Doc Rivers to 5-year extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cal needs more from its running game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Stanford’s Kevin Hogan a ‘stabilizing agent’ at QB

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Chicago’s Little League champs return as heroes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
NFL suspends Browns star WR Gordon for 2014 season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders hope rebuild pays immediate dividends

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
After trio of near misses, 49ers chase Super Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

US economy forecast to grow by 1.5 percent in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Reports: FBI probes JPMorgan hack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Time Warner Cable says outages largely resolved

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Video games come of age as spectator sport

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Malaysia Airlines set for shakeup after disasters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
IMF chief Lagarde under investigation in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

SEC adopts rules on loan-backed securities

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Stocks drift higher; S&P 500 holds on to 2,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

.

Obituaries

Gary Allen Person

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Fernanda Dee Villarosa

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Herman P. Sorensen

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Lyle R.C. Cullum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Frank W. Moy Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9