WASHINGTON–The march to getting 218 votes in the House to pass a Syria measure involves the White House forging unusual alliances. Some President Barack Obama loyalists may desert him–Democratic progressives and members of the Congressional Black Caucus– while some usual foes– Neocon Republicans– may be with the president.
On Tuesday, after meeting with Obama, House Speaker Jon Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “I’m going to support the president’s call for action. I believe that my colleagues should support this call for action.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) agreed saying, “the speaker was very clear, and I’m sure he has told you his view. I associated myself with his remarks.”
That doesn’t mean Boehner is going to help Obama round-up votes in the GOP controlled House.
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement, “The Speaker offered his support for the president’s call to action, and encourages all Members of Congress to do the same. Now, it is the president’s responsibility to make his case to the American people and their elected representatives. Everyone understands that it is an uphill battle to pass a resolution, and the Speaker expects the White House to provide answers to Members’ questions and take the lead on any whipping effort. All votes authorizing the use of military force are conscience votes for members, and passage will require direct, continuous engagement from the White House.”
The House has a large number of freshmen — 49 Democrats and 36 Republicans — and they may well be the most nervous about taking their toughest vote just as the 2014 primary season is taking shape. That’s a bloc that will be heavily lobbied.
My column on the Obama lobbying blitz is HERE.
Excerpt: In my analysis, groups in the House eventually backing Obama will be:
♦ Centrist Democrats from safe districts.
♦ Christian Evangelicals, mainly Republicans, who will view this as an Israeli security issue.
♦ Neocons, Republicans who are pro-U.S. intervention in global affairs.
♦ Mainline liberal Democrats.
♦ The GOP and Democrats who are the chairs and ranking members of the Intelligence, Armed Service and Foreign Affairs Committees.
Obama is facing resistance from:
♦ The Congressional Black Caucus, whose Democratic members have many other priorities.
♦ Hard-line isolationists on the right, which includes Libertarians.
♦ Anti-war leftists who just never vote for war.
♦ Anti-Obama Republicans who object to anything the president wants.
♦ Democratic progressives who lean toward opposing military force and who are haunted by the Iraq war. The leading progressive — House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — is backing Obama.