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Crusty Pelosi scrambling, if not whipping, for House Democratic votes on Syria

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09/03/2013 09:45 PM

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Crusty Pelosi scrambling, if not whipping, for House Democratic votes on Syria
[link to thehill.com]
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has launched an aggressive campaign designed to maximize Democratic support for President Obama’s proposal for U.S. military strikes on war-torn Syria.
The California Democrat emphasized Tuesday that she and other Democratic leaders would not twist arms with a formal whip of a Syria vote. But in a press conference at the White House, and then in a letter sent to all her troops, Pelosi is laying out a very public case for intervention with an unequivocal humanitarian message aimed to rally wary Democrats behind their president.

It is in our national interest to respond to the Syrian government’s unspeakable use of chemical weapons,” Pelosi wrote in her “Dear Colleague” letter. “Indeed, it has been, and remains, a core pillar of our national security — under Democratic and Republican administrations — to prevent, limit, and halt the spread and use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
“This is a matter of national, regional, and global security,” she added.
The remarks come as a number of liberal Democrats are warning that U.S. intervention would do little to help the civilian victims of Syria’s yearslong civil war or unseat the regime of President Bashar Assad. Instead, the critics say another military operation in the Middle East would simply fritter away taxpayer dollars better spent on humanitarian aid to Syria and projects at home.
“We’re in a situation where we’re not going to do anything that’s going to do any good,” Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said Tuesday in an interview with CNN. “No one in the administration says this will cause regime change, this attack that’s being contemplated. No one in the administration is even saying it will prevent Assad from using chemical weapons again. … There’s no contemplation that any attack that we launch will end the civil war.
“I feel bad about it,” Grayson added, “but sometimes you have to recognize your own limitations. Otherwise, it’s hubris.”
Pelosi conceded that she won’t get every Democrat on board — “Some won’t ever be comfortable with it,” she said — but she’s hoping emerging evidence about Assad’s alleged chemical attacks will convince on-the-fence Democrats that intervention is necessary.
“On these kinds of issues, it’s not a question of whipping, it’s a question of discussion — to make sure that people have the information that they need to make an informed decision, to make sure that they have the full value of the i

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