Political butt covering

September 4, 2013 

That’s the nice way of saying it, I suppose, right?

This past holiday weekend, somewhere between the downtown farmers market and an afternoon trip to Paradise Park, I decided to let Addy in on a little Politics 101 lesson – tuning into the President’s speech where he addressed the issues in Syria.

According to the news (and I should have known better, I’ve been covering politicians for a long time) President Obama was to hit the Rose Garden at 12:15 p.m.

Of course, at 12:50, he still hadn’t arrived.

And trying to keep my curious little one occupied while I explain to her that our President is about to come out and say something fairly important to the nation, up to and including our involvement in yet another Middle Eastern conflict, was challenging to say the least.

“Where is he?”

“He’s coming, sweetie. He’s probably talking to some other people right now.”

“Why?”

“Well, ugh…he’ll be here soon…”

Of course, once Obama and VP Joe Biden stepped to the microphone, that’s when Addy got seriously inquisitive, peppering me with questions about anything that popped into her brain.

Meanwhile, Obama is mildly making a case for military action against the Syrian government for alleged use of chemical weapons against their own people. Such an atrocity should garner international outrage and force us into asking just what exactly we can and should do to stop this carnage.

I guess I really wasn’t sure what our President would say this weekend. I thought after the tough talk and rhetoric, he would have come out swinging and announcing immediate action.

Instead, he decided to bring the issue to Congress and get their take on things. Because if there’s one thing we know about Washington, D.C. it’s that things always happen quickly.

The President doesn’t necessarily need to ask Congress to approve a military strike. Going to war? Yes. A strike, no.

The transparent political butt covering was tough to watch, and certainly not worth putting my daughter through a 35-minute delay for.

We come off as ineffectual when we do things like this.

I can make a case, if the evidence bears out, to punish Assad for gassing his people.

I can also make a case for staying the heck out of another conflict halfway across the world.

Obama’s case for Congressional support and our next steps seemed, at best, flimsy and uninspired.

Not only that, getting pulled into a conflict that seems to have no end, not to mention one where Russia, China and Iran are all watching very closely, actually puts a little scare into me.

This thing in Syria could get real ugly real quick.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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