It's a bit like watching a train wreck to see the Obama administration and its congressional allies wriggle and squirm over a red line on chemical weapons the president insists he didn't actually draw, even though he did, and accidentally create apossible diplomatic solution that will confine the Assad regime to slaughtering its domestic enemies with good, old-fashioned weapons instead of nasty gas. (Whew! Glad that's settled!) But if it's a train wreck we're watching, at least most of us agree that we want no part of it. Polling shows Americans continue to view the drumbeat for war as an inside-the-Beltway fetish, oppose indulging any such thing, and are appalled by the Obama administration's let's-blow-something-up-just-because excuse for a foreign policy.
Reason-Rupe polling finds that a plurality of 47 percent of Americans say the "political establishment in Washington D.C." is more likely to favor military action than is the public at large—17 percent somehow got the impression that their neighbors are more warlike than John Kerry or Rep. Pete King, and 30 percent think it's even-steven.
As for actually indulging in military action… Seventy-four percent of Americans call airstrikes against Syria "unwise." That is, as we know, the course of action President Obama is pushing as the means to convince the Assad regime to stop slaughtering its people the wrong way, and will presumably still be peddling during this evening's speech.
Not surprisingly, the president's overall foreign policy gets a big thumbs-down from the public at large, with 58 percent disapproving—there's been a huge swing just in the past month, ever since Syria became the designated replacement for Iraq Afghanistan as a military test range.
As Alexander Burns and John F. Harris write for Politico, "Barack Obama's unsteady handling of the Syria crisis has been an avert-your-gaze moment in the history of the modern presidency." That's a fair point, though there's plenty of gaze-averting to share with congressional leaders, from both political parties, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who have backed yet another war with a country that poses no threat to the United States. (A special shout-out to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for going straight for the Godwin by invoking Auschwitz.)
The president and his cross-aisle congressional buddies seem dead-set on military action that nobody else wants. Maybe they should charter a boat on their own and go toss some rocks at the Syrian coast.