Saturday, August 31, 2013

This will be close

President Obama is to ask Congress to authorize the use of military force against the Assad regime. In 1991, when George HW Bush was seeking authorization to use force to expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait -- a much clearer case of a breach of international law -- the Yes votes were hardly a stampede: 250-183 in the House, and 52-47 in the Senate. At that time, Republicans in Congress were overwhelmingly in favour and the issue was how many Democrats would join them (examples: Harry Reid and Al Gore). The most obvious factors that have changed since then -- war fatigue and the tea party -- would lower those vote numbers.