It’s time now to clear the air, and “the presidency in peril” is a narrative and a story line that Republicans have been trying to sell from the moment the current occupant won the White House in 2008.
And they haven’t really been bothered if their shots against him have also injured the nation along the way.
Look at what happened during the debt ceiling debacle of two years ago: consumer confidence collapsed, according to Gallup, and the effect on employment was also severe—both provoked by an unnecessary attempt to harm the president by using the debt ceiling.
But the one area that Republicans have tended to avoid has been foreign policy. After all, this is a president who voted against the Iraq War. He’s led the nation’s withdrawal from Iraq and, soon, Afghanistan.
And, on the eve of our 12th remembrance of 9/11, it’s worth repeating that Osama Bin Laden’s body lies at the bottom of the North Arabian Sea.
So it is quite the turn of events that it should be foreign policy, and Syria in particular, that may offer Republicans the best chance of injuring this president—perhaps even inflicting a fatal wound.
Because they know that if his “red line” means nothing in practice, then the world will treat this nation’s future protestations with scorn. It’ll mean that any warnings to Iran about its nuclear ambitions will be treated like a dog with all bark and no bite. As Ross Douthat wrote this weekend for The New York Times, “American foreign policy will be in the hands of a president whose promises will ring consistently hollow, and whose ability to make good on his strategic commitments will be very much in doubt.”
If that happens, it’ll be ‘congratulations’ to the Republicans, but commiserations to the nation.