It’s odd how President Barack Obama appears to be enlisting (or at least enjoying) the help of pro-Israel organizations to push for congressional approval for an attack on Syria, but his own group, Organizing for Action, doesn’t seem to be the least bit engaged on the issue, as Richard Baehr recently observed.
On virtually every other agenda item–immigration reform, climate change, you name it–the president deploys OfA to pressure Congress to vote his way. But on the Syria crisis, Obama is content to let the pro-Israel organizations shoulder the burden–and the blame–for a poorly-conceived and unpopular war.
Presumably, Obama’s keeping OfA out of the fight because he knows its radical left-wing activists are solidly against a new war. But if he’s not willing to use his own former campaign arm to defend his credibility, why should anyone else? This is not a president who is serious about winning a vote–only in having one.
A further, and even more interesting, question is why pro-Israel organizations like AIPAC, which could not be bothered to lift a finger to stop the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense (partly on the argument that it would be weakened in a losing battle), is now going for broke in a hopeless cause.
The least they could have asked for is backup from the richly-funded activists of OfA. But Obama evidently has better things to do with his resources. It’s just the rest of the country–and the pro-Israel community–that has to sacrifice. I hope whatever AIPAC is getting out of this is worth it. Perhaps some tasty dinners.