Despite initially expressing skepticism, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced on Tuesday that they would back President Barack Obama’s planned military intervention in Syria when it comes up for a vote.
The logic in the decision is hard to understand, especially since their is tepid support at best for intervention inside the House Republican Conference. But now we know why Boehner and Cantor are on board. They want leverage on the Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling battles looming on the horizon, as RedState reported yesterday.
“Was just told by a K Streeter [with] ties to Boehner that Boehner views war approval as giving GOP leverage in CR/debt limit negotiations,” tweeted Sean Davis, a former advisor to Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).
“According to this K Streeter, Boehner thinks Obama will have less ability to attack House GOP for obstruction post-war approval,” he added. “Basically: We’ll scratch Obama’s back on this and we’ll expect Obama to do the same for us in the coming weeks/months.”
This is quite possibly the worst reason to back any sort of military action, especially one that could devolve in a broader war that may put American troops in harm’s way — and that’s a very real possibility. Boehner and Cantor aren’t even likely to get anything from the White House in terms of concessions on any of their priorities, whether they want delays of ObamaCare provisions or spending cuts.
Erick Erickson, editor of RedState, slammed House Republican leaders yesterday evening over the news on his Atlanta-based talk radio show, telling his audience that “[t]he Republicans are going to use Americans soldiers as pawns in their chess game against you.”
Forget about the perceived political advantage Boehner and Cantor hope to gain, because that’s not really the issue here. Playing politics with war — potentially putting American lives at risk — to gain a political advantage isn’t just a bad idea; it’s completely reckless.