BOEHNER: If the goal is to destroy ISIS, as the president says it is, I don't believe the strategy that he outlined will accomplish that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why not?
BOEHNER: At the end of the day, I think it's gonna take more than air strikes to drive them outta there.
At some point somebody's boots have to be on the ground… That's the whole point-
BOEHNER: Listen, the president doesn't want to do that.
If I were the president, I probably wouldn't have talked about what I wouldn't do. And maybe we can get enough of these forces trained to get ‘em on the battlefield. But somebody's boots have to be there.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And if no one else will step up, would you recommend putting American boots on the ground?
BOEHNER: We have no choice. These are barbarians. They intend to kill us. And if we don't destroy them first, we're gonna pay the price.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you've said that - assuming you're speaker next year - you'd want to have a vote on a resolution - why not now?
BOEHNER: I'd be happy to.
The president typically in a situation like this would call for an authorization vote and go sell that to the American people and send a resolution to the Hill. The president has not done that. He believes he has authority under existing resolutions to do what he's done.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You don't agree?
BOEHNER: I think he does have the authority to do it. But the point I'm making is this is a proposal that the Congress ought to consider.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Our reporter Jeff Zeleny has talked to a couple sources on Capitol Hill - said you and other leaders actually warned that if it came up now it would splinter both parties and might not pass.
BOEHNER: I did not suggest that to anybody in my caucus, or to the president for that matter.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So to be clear - if the president put a resolution forward now, you'd call Congress back?
BOEHNER: I'd bring the Congress back.
So there it is, John Boehner danced around a lot, but he appears to be willing to bring Congress back now to authorize soldiers on the ground to combat ISIL. That's right, American soldiers, back to Iraq. And he is willing to have a vote on it, with one caveat: he's not willing to vote on it until next year. So either he was lying yesterday, or he was lying when he said this 4 days ago:
Boehner is increasingly convinced that Congress must hold a full debate on granting President Obama the authority to use military force against terrorists…. But Mr. Boehner believes a post-election, lame-duck session is the wrong time for such a weighty decision.
“Doing this with a whole group of members who are on their way out the door, I don’t think that is the right way to handle this,” he said.
Mr. Boehner, who is open to a more expansive military campaign to destroy the Islamic State, thinks lawmakers should take up the issue after the new Congress convenes in January. At that time, he said, President Obama should come forward with a proposal for consideration.
Now back to that vote, that he is so willing to have. In the interview, Speaker Boehner said he believes the President has the authority to go forward, but also believes Congress should hold a vote in support of the current situation. From the interview: "I think he does have the authority to do it. But the point I'm making is this is a proposal that the Congress ought to consider."
Do Republicans really want to go here, given that many GOP lawmakers’ position is to send in ground troops, a course of action that is broadly opposed by the American mainstream? (snip) But there are some factors that could — or at least should — complicate this new strategy. For one thing, a large number of GOP lawmakers voted to authorize Obama’s plan to arm and train the Syrian rebels, which gives Democrats a pretty easy response to GOP criticism.
Apparently Republicans think they can endorse Obama’s strategy grudgingly, as a step in the right direction, while saying they don’t think it goes far enough, in order to be able to continue hitting Democrats on the issue. Maybe that will work, but point number two is that the response to ISIS preferred by Republicans themselves is broadly unpopular. Dana Milbank had a good piece the other day detailing just how many GOP lawmakers have called on the administration to be open to sending in ground troops. Milbank concluded: “it would appear that many Republicans are clamoring for a new ground war in the Middle East.”
That’s not a popular position. This week’s NYT/CBS poll found that Americans oppose sending in ground troops by 55-39; independents oppose it by 59-34. Of course, Republicans support this course of action by 62-35, so perhaps this new strategy is yet another way to get all those GOP voters out to the polls.
While so many Americans take what is happening quite seriously, the Republican party is just using this as another political game. As I said last week, they will have two days in Congress for the rest of this year - TWO DAYS. They want to hold a vote to support this, but they really want President Obama to ask them to hold a vote and even then they are afraid of that vote because of the upcoming midterms and…. WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE according to Lyndsey Graham. This is all so exhausting isn't it?
They want us to be very afraid, just like they them. Don't be afraid. While they likely will not hold a vote, you and I can. We have the power to vote this do nothing majority out of the House on Election Day. Then maybe we can see things actually accomplished that won't include the blood and treasure of more of our soldiers. Americans are tired of more war. We are tired of being told to be afraid with the shadow of more war held over our heads while this majority in Congress is out campaigning to elect more people to tell us to be afraid.
I'm Tired. Now for something completely different.