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Politics

Phil Matier: Syria Crisis Creates Unique Bipartisanship

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Phil-Matier_BIO-HEAD Phil Matier
Whether it's politics, personalities or analysis Phil Matier is one ...
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(KCBS)—President Barack Obama hasn’t said what he would do if Congress doesn’t authorize his request for a military strike against Syria; but if Bay Area politicians are any indication, the White House may not have the support it wants and needs.

It’s created a very unusual situation where House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, one of the strongest Democrats in the nation, a person who is usually in command is telling everyone to get on board with the president but is being met with stony silence or vocal opposition from just about every member of the Bay Area congressional delegations. The best she has is a “well…maybe.”

How often have you seen politics like this where you have liberals like Barbara Lee and George Miller sort of lining up with some the Tea Party people in opposition to this military strike?” Carla Marinucci, Chronicle political reporter, said.

“You’ve got people like Barbara Boxer in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voting for it and Rand Paul and Marco Rubio voting against it. These are very strange times and very big challenges for Nancy Pelosi and the president.”

I asked George Miller about what he hears on the streets and he said, “I’m hearing ‘no,’ I’m just hearing ‘no’ from all sides.”

The biggest concern out there is: what are we getting into?

When you look at the polling, there is a question there whether Americans are opposed to an airstrike on Syria, like firing a few missiles like we did in Libya, or getting involved—that’s where it becomes a different. After Iraq and Afghanistan, Miller said that people are just tired and they don’t trust Washington to just limit it to an airstrike; they are afraid it’s going to lead into another major involvement.

“There is a disconnect between the Beltway discussion and what’s going on in ‘real’ America,” Marinucci said. “The Beltway is about this macro view: America’s place in the world, its clout and diplomatic issues and in the real world, they’re talking about, ‘Could this be the start of WWIII?’”

Manucci said that one thing is clear: we’ve never seen this kind of bi-partisanship before. They are finally coming together and it’s on this issue.

I saw Nancy Pelosi at the a recent tech event and she said that a dialog was needed and that our objectives to be clearly written out—that we are not going to put boots on the ground, that it’s going to be limited and that it will be done within a specific amount of time.

The question is: will the American public buy that?

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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