Shadi Hamid Plays the ‘Trump Was Democratically Elected Card’
You may be familiar with the term ‘the blob’-which refers to the famous designation of the foreign policy establishment from some on the Obama team-like Ben Rhodes.
With Trump’s Syria strikes they have made something of a comeback. The blob is the foreign policy establishment that always wants war and intervention.
If anyone is a charter member in the blob, it’s Shadi Hamid. Some at least admit that while they like what Trump did last Thursday, they have misgivings about the man who did it. Not Hamid. He doesn’t care that Trump is a fascist authoritarian just that he launched 59 cruise missiles last week.
But for me the fact that Trump is our democratically elected president means a lot. He does have a mandate to do what presidents usually do, and I am not willing to say that because he is Trump, we have to apply a completely different standard when we are judging the appropriateness of certain military action.
The trouble is his being ‘democratically elected’ has a lot of caveats. His win was tarnished both by the Comey letter and Russian interference. Even besides that he got the minority of the vote by three million. Because he won by a narrow electoral college win doesn’t mean he’s got a huge mandate for anything he wants to do.
And because Trump is different you have to treat him by a different standard. I’m sorry, but you have to treat a drunk pilot differently even if you really have to take a trip to California.
Meanwhile, we don’t know whether he colluded with a hostile foreign power. So his very legitimacy is at stake. Hamid clearly doesn’t appreciate this:
“What about the fact that he doesn’t have congressional approval and he has shown autocratic tendencies? Is that a dangerous precedent?”
“I think the fact that these were just, at least for now, one-off strikes, I don’t think requires congressional approval. And for that matter Congress has shown very little interest in playing more of a role on something like this. And let’s remember that Obama himself wasn’t initially going to go to Congress for the potential response to the August 2013 chemical weapons attacks. It was only at the 11th hour that Obama on the way out tried to give it to Congress for it to die a slow death. If Obama didn’t see it as necessary, I don’t see why we would require Trump to do so. That would seem to be applying different standards to different presidents. But obviously if it becomes a more long-term engagement, that conversation should be revisited.”
I don’t get it. If Obama went to Congress and it died why is demanding the same for Trump treating him differently?
The standard should be the Constitution which says you have to go through Congress, not what you think Obama was going to do before he went to Congress-and was denied.
And if Hamid wants to focus on democracy, it’s clear Americans don’t want Trump to do anything more in Syria without Congressional approval:
“President Trump’s strikes against the Syrian government earned the support of the American people and improved views of Trump (albeit only slightly), according to a new poll. But the biggest takeaway might be the big, red stop sign that came with all that.”
“A new CBS News poll — the first live-caller poll to test reactions to the strikes — shows 57 percent of Americans agree with the decision Trump made. His approval rating, meanwhile, edged up to 43 percent, with about half (49 percent) still disapproving.
But Americans were even more emphatic about what they don’t want to see next: any other unilateral strikes authorized by Trump or further involvement, period. And there is basically no vote of confidence when it comes to Trump’s leadership.”
“Seven in 10 — including a majority of Republicans — said Trump needs to obtain authorization from Congress for any more strikes. And a majority — 54 percent — say they are “uneasy” about Trump’s approach to the situation in Syria, with just 41 percent expressing confidence in him.”
“And finally, just 18 percent say they would like to see American ground troops in the civil war, which features Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government forces; the Islamic State, also known as ISIS; and more moderate opposition forces. An additional 30 percent say they are okay with airstrikes — but many of them apparently want authorization first.”
“That support for ground troops is only slightly higher than it was in 2013, the last time the U.S. government threatened to retaliate for Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons. A McClatchy-Marist poll at the time showed 13 percent believed ground troops were called for.”
Speaking of Obama 2013, another reason he brought it to Congress was clearly he didn’t have popular support.
So if Hamid wants to focus on the democratic will it’s clear that this will wants Trump to go before Congress for anything more and that it’s highly skeptical of any further action.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
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