Tuesday evening President Obama addressed the nation to discuss the ongoing situation in Syria and try to gain congressional and public support if he must take military action. According to the recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll only 28% of Americans are in favor of a military strike on Syria. Americans are more skeptical about taking military action than before any major strike in the last two decades.
One hundred years ago it was Woodrow Wilson in the hot seat. He took a weary American nation into the first World War and through economic turmoil, redefining the presidency. “Woodrow Wilson was the only president with a PhD. A real scholar of American government,” A. Scott Berg, Pulitzer prize winning biographer and author of Wilson said on Tuesday’s show. Wilson “knew that the presidency was the least defined office in the constitution. And that it was basically up to the president himself to define what the president can do.”
As President Obama continues to try to sway the American people, there are some lessons that he could learn from our 28th president. “Wilson believed very strongly in sustained dialogue,” Berg said. There “was always a conversation going on between Wilson and the American people and the congress. Wilson strongly believed that those two branches, the executive and the legislative, should cooperate… Whenever he had an important measure he wanted to pass…he would sit [in the presidents room in the Senate] day after day and just grab senators when they walked out of the floor.”