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Bob Gates backs Syria strike
NY Times:
The 10-to-7 vote in the Foreign Relations Committee sets up a showdown next week in the full Senate on whether President Obama should be given the authority to strike Syria.
Don't bet against Presidents getting what they want. Setting aside for a moment the wisdom—or lack of it—of a Syrian strike, attempts to defeat Obama just because he is Obama will likely fail as they always fail. The tea party never learns anything, so look for the same outcome as always: an embarrassing display of inability to govern.

Julie Bykowicz:

Lobbying on Syria has inspired coalitions of the unlikely, aligning President Barack Obama with Sheldon Adelson, the Republican billionaire who spent about $70 million trying to defeat him last year, in the push for a military response to the use of chemical weapons.

Opponents of U.S. military intervention in the civil war-torn Middle Eastern country include Occupy Wall Street, which protests against Wall Street profits; Code Pink, an antiwar group; and the Russians.

More politics and policy below the fold.

NY Times on the Fed chair decision:

And Mr. Obama still does have Mr. Summers in mind, associates say.

“It’s like the attachment you feel for your heart surgeon after he performs a quadruple bypass,” said a former administration official, who like most others did not want to be identified speaking of such a sensitive personnel matter.

But as that Oval Office meeting last year also suggests, Mr. Obama’s one concern about nominating Mr. Summers has been the potential for a Senate battle — not only from Republicans spoiling for fights, but also from liberal Democrats who view Mr. Summers as too friendly toward deregulating big banks when he was Treasury secretary late in the Clinton administration.

That concern about confirmation has been affirmed in recent weeks as bloggers and groups on the left have mobilized, either to oppose Mr. Summers outright or to urge Mr. Obama to pick Ms. Yellen to be the first female Fed chairman. Mr. Summers declined to comment for this article.

Bloggers? Could that be us?

Charles M. Blow:

This is a particularly bad time to sell the American people a war, and make no mistake: we are being sold, and this “military action,” in another time and place — and in some quarters, here and now — would be called an act of war.

Americans are not only weary of war, they’re weary of the politicians who commit us to it.

EJ Dionne:
The debate over Syria is a jumble of metaphors, proof that every discussion of military action involves an argument about the last war. Yet beneath the surface, the fight in Congress over President Obama’s proposed strike against Bashar al-Assad’s regime is a struggle to break free from earlier syndromes to set a new course.

Obama himself is using the imperative that he back up his “red line” against chemical weapons as an occasion to revisit his Syrian strategy. And both of our political parties are emerging from a post-9/11 period of frozen foreign policy thinking to a more natural and intellectually honest exchange over America’s long-term role in the world.

Make no mistake. Whatever the complexities of the discussion, it's a damn sight better than a noun, a verb, and 9/11.

NY Times:

Another complicating factor for the president and his allies on Capitol Hill is that as Congress has lost many of its moderate voices and become more politically polarized, Democrats in the House and the Senate have become a more liberal group.

In the Senate, this was evident on Wednesday as two liberals who cast votes that would have curtailed American engagement in Iraq when they were members of the House — Tom Udall of New Mexico and Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut — voted no on the use-of-force resolution.

Newer senators like Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, one of the most reliably liberal members, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who as a House member also opposed the wars, will also be tough targets for the president.

Hi, my name is "complicating factor". Pleased to meet you.
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