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September 05, 2013 5:57 PM Obama’s Bad Timing

By Ed Kilgore

I’d say the New York Times’ Charles Blow comes up with the understated Quote of the Day:

This is a particularly bad time to sell the American people a war,

No kidding. Aside from the declining levels of trust in Congress and the president which Blow emphasizes, there’s the little matter of the many domestic difficulties that are paramount in the minds of Americans right now.

But where the really bad luck for Obama comes in is that he is asking for authority to launch a military strike at a Middle Eastern dictator who is sitting on a regional powderkeg over his use of WMD, and is asking Americans to become the enforcer of “international norms” that the international community won’t enforce. As different as Obama is from George W. Bush, and as different as a cruise missile strike is from an invasion, there’s just no way Obama’s request can be considered in isolation from what happened just over a decade ago. As Blow concludes:

President Obama is not President Bush and Iraq isn’t Syria, but trust is trust, and when certitude melts into uncertainty, it is hard to reshape.

That’s the heavy burden of persuasion Obama must bear.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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