The Syrian crisis has preempted nearly everything in America with the possible exception of the celebration in Denver over Payton Manning’s 7-touchdown game crushing the Ravens Thursday night. Syria even hijacked the discussions at the G-20 conference in Russia this week.
No one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria to kill over 1,400 sleeping men, women and children. There is a dispute about who used them and for what purpose. Most people believe the intelligence agencies of the western powers that say without any doubt that Syrian strongman Basher Assad ordered the attack on his own people.
Another group consisting of Assad, his sponsor Russian President Putin, and a group of conspiracy theorists like Rush Limbaugh maintains that Obama ordered the attack in order to frame Assad.
No matter who did the gassing at the end of the day there will be two winners: Putin and the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Everyone else has already lost even if they don’t know it.
The Syrian people lost. They are dying or being forced out of their homes by war and atrocities on both sides but mostly by their own government. Syria’s neighbors lost because they are being over run by millions of Syrian refugees fleeing for their lives. The world is ignoring them because of the sins of George Bush.
Assad thinks he is winning but when he is of no further use to Putin, he'll go the same route of Egypt's President Morsi.
British Prime Minister Cameron lost. He asked Parliament to back him to punish Assad for using chemical weapons. Cameron was rejected and humiliated by his own party as well as the Labor Party. More than likely Cameron lost because the British got burned when George Bush and Dick Cheney coerced Tony Blair into supporting the invasion of Iraq based on a bare-faced lie.
Secretary of State John Kerry is losing. Republicans have sniped at him since he ran against Bush. Now liberal Democrats are now calling him names, the nicest of which is “ridiculous.” Liberal commentators and talk show hosts are calling him the “mouthpiece of the bomb-making military industrial complex.” Tea Partiers call him complicit in Obama’s gassing of the Syrians. As a result Kerry is losing any clout he had on Capitol Hill.
The Democrats who are supporting the Obama Administration have lost. They are being criticized by liberal Democrats and talking heads as well. Once the vote is taken, they will pay the price if they support the Administration—not just from Republicans and liberals in their own party, but the American people.
The few endangered moderate Republicans are losers also. Speaker Boehner and others have broken ranks and come out to support Obama on Syria. They are being attacked by liberal Democrats, but now by the Tea Party wing of the GOP. Boehner’s move sealed his fate as Speaker.
The President is in a no-win situation. President Obama is opposing Barack Obama. If he does what he believes is best for our national security as president, he suffers the wrath, of the liberals that put him in office; but also the 59% of all Americans who are opposed to intervention in Syria. He is spending all his political capital on this.
So who wins? It isn't liberal Democrats. Syria is dividing the Democratic Party the same way the government shutdown is dividing the Republican Party. War makes strange bedfellows. In this fight, liberal Democrats and Tea Partiers are on the same side, Obama, moderate Republicans, and some Democrats are on the other side.
The Tea Party is laughing because liberals are helping them slap Obama down. This threatens any real chance for the big items left on Obama’s agenda like the budget, immigration reform, gun violence, and jobs.
The Tea Party under Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are isolationists. Their policies will do nothing to threaten Putin or anything he wants to do in Syria or anywhere else. A Congress further controlled by the Tea Party is what Putin dreams about. Putin has the most to gain by Assad using chemical weapons. Perhaps the former KGB boss with short-man syndrome put Assad up to it.
At the end of the day, the Tea Party triumphs because a divided Democratic Party and a decapitated president will not have the political clout to fight the Koch Brothers in the 2014 elections. Putin did what Romney couldn't--divide the Obama coalition.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama deserves the Profiles in Courage award from the foundation Ambassador Caroline Kennedy heads for doing what he believes is right regardless of the political suicide it entails.