Friday, August 1, 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

Trifecta: ‘The Who’s Tommy’ third play in three months

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Gemstones shine at Solano County Fair

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Japan Summerfest returns this month

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Vallejo police arrest suspect in shooting death

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Fairfield man settles suit against Raley’s

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Solano Tea Party Patriots schedule meet

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Details limited after shooting leaves 1 with injuries

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Highway 12 to close overnight in Jameson Canyon

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

Air district calls Spare the Air alert

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Stabbing victim dies in Vacaville

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

Fairfield police log: July 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: July 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

A look at the impact of Wisconsin’s union law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Union: California prison staff told to fake checks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Abbas seeks broad support for war crimes charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US, UN announce deal on 72-hour Gaza cease-fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

As US job market strengthens, many don’t feel it

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Dow plunges as multiple worries vex investors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds 2011 union law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Report: Secrecy enveloped Bay Bridge construction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Yosemite wildfire weakened, evacuations to end

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Candidate goes homeless to show economic gap

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

California ex-mayor sentenced in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Californians to see increase in health plan costs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Appellate court overturns high-speed rail rulings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Demoted worker shoots CEO, kills self in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
NASA to test making rocket fuel ingredient on Mars

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Investigators reach Ukraine jet wreckage site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Congress races to finish VA, highway bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

See-through mice reveal details of inner anatomy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
CIA spied on Senate, internal review finds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Opinion

Why do so many Americans support Hamas

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
Nice guy becomes House majority leader

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 
Should union organizing be a civil right?

By Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis | From Page: A11

.

Living

Community Calendar: Aug. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

 
Review: Boseman drips with charisma as James Brown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Sports

Safety Bethea finding a groove with new 49ers team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
A’s deal Tommy Milone to Twins for Sam Fuld

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

A’s get Lester, Gomes from Red Sox for Cespedes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Chekwa taking reps with Raiders while Hayden sits

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Expos fall short in 10-9 loss to Leghorns

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7

 
Phelps to compete in 4 events at US nationals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Another decent start for Woods at Firestone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Ravens’ Rice: His actions ‘totally inexcusable’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Dustin Johnson takes leave of absence from golf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Commonwealth Games athlete convicted for assault on rival

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Lynch ends holdout, arrives at Seahawks camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Nick Watney leads PGA Barracuda Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Rich get richer: Rays’ Price traded to Tigers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Dumdumaya takes third in World Junior/Junior Olympic tourney

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

AP Source: Trump advances in Bills sale process

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Mudcats get 15-7 win in Auburn Classic

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

Signups for Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
Derrick Brooks set standard for NFL linebackers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

.

Business

Daimler launches new version of tiny Smart car

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
SeaWorld, Southwest Airlines ending partnership

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Target taps outsider as CEO for needed shakeup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Iliad of France makes surprise bid for T-Mobile US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Facebook’s Internet.org expands in Zambia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
In San Francisco real estate, $1M won’t buy much

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Debit overdraft fees often exceed cost of purchase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

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

 
Frank and Ernest

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

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

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

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9