Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson doesn’t think that President Barack Obama will get 100 votes in favour of his plan for military strikes in Syria — even after the
public-relations blitz Obama will put on over the next two days.
“If you do the maths, what you’re seeing is that Democrats are 2-to-1 or 3-to-1 against among those who have already declared,” Grayson (D-Fla.) said in an interview with Business Insider.
“That will remain true. The Republicans are more than 10-to-1 against. I think that will remain true. Project it out by party, and you’ll see that the President is going to have to struggle to get to 100 votes here.”
Grayson, who re-entered Congress this year for a second term after losing re-election in 2010, has become a leading force in what has been heavy Democratic opposition to Obama’s plan for intervention in Syria.
At home on recess, members of Congress have found near-record opposition to intervention in Syria at local town-hall events.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver told Business Insider on Friday that opposition was lined up at a “90-10” clip. Grayson relayed examples from other members of Congress, who have struggled to find constituents with pro-intervention views. Grayson said that his constituents don’t believe the U.S. should act unilaterally, and they are weary of the potential slippery slope that comes with “limited” strikes.
Grayson told Business Insider that current doomsday-esque whip counts don’t relay the full picture of the opposition. He said that many members of Congress have told him that although they are officially “undecided” in certain counts, they have made up their minds to vote against a resolution in the House. He said the “overwhelming majority” of the House is privately “vehemently against” intervention, but that members in “purple districts” are going through the ritual of consulting their constituents.
And he doesn’t expect Obama’s slew of TV interviews and address to the nation on Tuesday to change that.
“The President can get on any news shows he wants, obviously,” Grayson said. “But the public and members of Congress are already well aware of the arguments.”
He added: “The President has spent too much time talking about what did happen, rather than giving fair consideration to what might happen.”
Grayson also blasted the Obama administration’s “trust, but not verify” approach in presenting intelligence of the attack to Congress — expanding on an op-ed he wrote Saturday in The New York Times. Compared to the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi last September — when the administration made available every document — Grayson feels like it has stonewalled legislators on Syria.
It led him to question, in his Times op-ed, who was right — the administration or the conservative publication The Daily Caller, which ran an opinion piece last week claiming that the Obama administration had “selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria.”
It’s a sentence Grayson, a liberal Democrat, probably thought he’d never write.
“It’s almost incomprehensible to a rational person that they would ask us to go to war based on a four-page [unclassified] report and a 12-page [classified] report written by the proponents of war when all of the information can and should be readily available to all of the people with classified clearance.”
“I think that they’ve made a mistake in asking us to accept their one-sided analyses that they have presented to us, without letting us see any of the underlying intelligence reports,” he added. “I think that will lead people to question whether we’re deploying the proper decision-making process here. In any event, if they simply repeat their existing arguments, they’re not going to win.”
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