Today House Speaker John Boehner requested that President Obama come to Congress and explain his thinking on Syria. Knowingly or not, the Ohio Republican provided the perfect opening for the president, even forgetting about the fact that the commander in chief is supposed to confer with Congress on matters of war anyway. When’s the last time that was done, really?
But here’s what Obama should do. Have a private meeting with Boehner and other key Republican members of Congress. And actually listen to them. Any sane individual realizes that there is no perfect action to be taken in Syria. That being the case, why not have it be a bipartisan decision or at least a decision with serious input from across the aisle? Surely this is one area that the motivation is the same no matter what the political persuasion. It’s a rare, but real, opportunity to build consensus. Basically, it’s impossible to demonize someone you’ve just worked with to protect the country. Some will go back to playing obstructionist. But some won’t. A small change, but an important one. Go to Congress, Mr. President.