Huh? Politico's Allen Claims 'Obama Was Led Into Asking Congress For Approval to Bomb Syria'

In a bizarre writeup which alternates between harsh criticism and a pity party about President Barack Obama's "toughness" or lack thereof in the wake of the withdrawal of Larry Summers from consideration as the next head of the Federal Reserve, Politico's Jonathan Allen unleashed a ridiculous assertion about the history of the administration's Syrian adventure: "In another debate that never came up for a vote the White House could have easily lost, Obama was led into asking Congress for approval to bomb Syria."

One wonders how the leader of the still most powerful country on earth can be "led" into anything, but especially in this case, given that it was Obama who came up with the "brilliant" idea of asking for Congressional authorization even though he said he didn't need it.


It was only two weeks ago that Obama decided he would ask for Congressional approval, and from all appearances nobody "led" him into doing so. In fact, many in the administration were appalled by the decision, as seen in the following August 31 report from NBC News's First Read (bolds are mine):

A stroll around the White House grounds with his top adviser on Friday evening changed President Barack Obama’s mind about getting Congress to sign off on a military strike in Syria, senior White House officials told NBC News.

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Obama had been leaning toward attacking Syria without a congressional vote for the past week, the officials said. Obama was convinced he had the evidence to back up a strike and as a result dispatched Secretary of State John Kerry to make a passionate case for U.S. action. But only hours after Kerry called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "a thug and a murderer" and accused his regime of using chemical weapons to kill 1,429 people, Obama changed his mind as he walked across the South Lawn with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the officials said.

Returning from that walk, the president called his advisers in the early evening to inform them of his new decision.

The plan was immediately met with robust resistance from a whiplashed Obama team who had listened to Kerry lay out the administration's strongest case yet for action against Assad. "My friends, it matters here if nothing is done," Kerry had argued. "It matters if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens."

Obama's National Security Council had believed since last weekend that requiring a vote was not even on the table and that “consultation” in the form of congressional briefings and behind-the-scenes conversation was all that would be needed before a strike. One senior official noted that no key leaders in Congress had specifically requested a vote on military intervention.

Apparently according to Jonathan Allen, Obama got "led" into asking for Congressional approval either by a White House team which gave the idea "robust resistance," a National Security Council which didn't even think the idea "was on the table, or a Congress containing no one who "had specifically requested a vote on military intervention." One final alternative may be that Denis McDonough, who accompanied Obama on that infamous walk, has irresistible hypnotic powers.

What in the world is Allen talking about? Whatever it is, it isn't in the realm of reality.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.