Why do talking heads have the collective memory of an amoeba? It just drives me crazy to watch them talk about Syria as if Congress had absolutely nothing to do with any of last years' decisions while simultaneously blaming the President for not obliterating the entire nation and most of its civilians last year. That was the right thing to do. Why should we have made things worse by destroying more of the region than they're doing to themselves?
It's worth starting with the basics here, at least when it comes to TV talkers' priorities. Two things that Mitchell and her guest Chris Cilizza focus their discussion on: Polls and the timing of the President's speech tomorrow night.
It shouldn't surprise anyone to see that polls show a huge leap in support for airstrikes in Iraq following recently released videos of journalists being beheaded, right? Polls overwhelmingly supported decisions to invade Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2003, too. That doesn't mean it was the right decision to make. This is one area where public opinion shouldn't always guide policy.
One might have also expected them to note that the President has already carried out airstrikes on Iraq to weaken ISIS, too. Successfully.
But then they'd have to give him credit for something, so no. That wasn't mentioned. Instead, they spent well over a minute of a 4-minute segment discussing the President's choice to give his speech at 9pm Eastern, in the middle of prime time. Information we need to know, folks.
Dealing with the fallout of the Bush administration's decision to destabilize the Middle East is prime time stuff. Period. It's serious, it's major, and we already see the House of Representatives playing stupid games with funding for counterterrorism efforts in the region, because it's Obama who's asking for them. I'm not sure I think a counterterrorism slush fund is a good idea either, but let's at least have a debate about it instead of wasting legislative time naming post offices and passing meaningless resolutions to slap the President for bringing home one of our own soldiers.
It is mind-numbingly stupid for Andrea Mitchell to sit there on her high horse and blame Obama for asking Congress to approve action in Syria. If she were thinking straight, she'd know the idea was to put Syria on notice that the diplomatic window on their chemical weapons was rapidly closing. That did, in fact result in Syria giving up chemical weapons and submitting to international monitoring.
Will any pundit ever address Congress' role in foreign policy, or will they just continue their lazy criticisms bathed in disappointment that President Obama isn't some magical person who can wave a magic wand and make things happen the way they think they should happen?
One last thought on this. In the beginning of the segment, Mitchell ticks off the group of foreign policy talking heads who went to dinner at the White House last night to talk to the president. She assumes he called them in to hear their opinions, because he's just that clueless that he can't hear their opinions anywhere else.
I tend to think that the President has already decided on a course of action, which is why he scheduled the speech. It's far more likely that group was invited to dinner so they could be clued in on what he has decided to do.
I'm really tired of the nonstop baloney over foreign policy. Obama has a track record that's been pretty strong in this area. Andrea Mitchell? Not so much.
Update: I guess Mitchell didn't consult Mitch McConnell before she went off about consulting Congress, because he really wants Obama to take it to them before acting.