Late last night news broke that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had proposed a resolution for US involvement in Syria which among other things, would limit Obama's Syrian military strike - whose "clinical" purpose and intentions are still very much unclear - to 90 days. As reported earlier, Republican war hawk John McCain said he would not support the resolution, arguably because he hopes to see a wider, more spread out campaign, one which would certainly infuriate Russia and China. Or a simpler reason: the usual bipartisan breakdown in Congress strikes again. Moments ago, yet another republican who previously said he was for Obama's campaign following Boehner's support, the committee's top republican Bob Corker got cold feet, and as Politico reports, may delay if not scuttle the Senatorial vote altogether.
The leadership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is weighing a delay of an expected Wednesday committee vote on the authorization of the use of military force in Syria.
The committee’s top Republican, Bob Corker of Tennessee, said he doesn’t want to rush into a vote given that the draft language of the authorization was released on Tuesday night.
“My guess is we will probably move that back. I hope so,” Corker told POLITICO as he entered a classified briefing with Secretary of State John Kerry and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on the proposed military action.
Corker said more time will be beneficial to the difficult task of accruing 60 votes to break a potential filibuster and that several senators have already told him that they would like to alter the draft resolution. He also said much work remains for his committee and that the Senate might need to work this weekend given that a Jewish holiday begins Wednesday evening.
A delay would also signal the resolution is in trouble, given that Corker is the only Republican on the committee who is a solid yes vote. Sen. John McCain of Arizona told reporters he will vote no according to the AP.
Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said it was still his hope to hold the vote Wednesday. But if there was a delay Menendez still aims to wrap up a panel vote by the end of this week so the full Senate could take up the resolution when Congress returns from summer recess next week.
“We’re going to talk to members about process and make sure everyone is comfortable,” Menendez said.
Two senators who are leaning no on the resolution said that a delay on the vote wouldn’t affect their positions. Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) said more time to mull the strike wouldn’t make any difference in his calculation, although he said he wants to hear the Obama administration out
Of course, there is a different explanation: republicans in Congress, surprised by Obama's weekend punt, and having superficially "agreed" to intervention but not on Obama's or the Senate's proposed terms, will now delay such a decision indefinitely, tearing it apart piece by piece along partisan lines, until ultimately the delay forces Obama to regain unilateral control of strike command, in the process bypassing Congress as was his intention in the first place.
In other words, the Kabuki theater that Obama started to gain some popular support by diluting the responsibility, may be punted right back at him, once Congress shows just how dysfunctional it truly can be.
Unless, of course, Obama just gives up entirely on the escalated Syrian action, and just lets it drift into the collective memory, much as all other previous attempts to instigate a war in Syria have met with failure.