The man charged with leading Democrats back to a majority in the House on Tuesday downplayed the potential political impact of the crisis in Syria, saying that regardless of what action takes place, voters will care far more about other issues by next November.
“It does not complicated the cycle at all; 2014 is not going to be a referendum on Syria,” said Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “2014 will be a referendum on who can get things done and who clung to partisanship and extremists.”
Polls have shown deep public opposition to any military action in the Middle Eastern country: A United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll found just 21 percent endorsed launching a “limited military strike, using only air power, to punish the Syrian government for using chemical weapons.” Fifty-five percent said the U.S. should “do nothing and stay out of the Syrian civil war.”
Many Democratic House members have voiced skepticism about the proposed military action. And on the politics, Israel, who is personally supportive of such action, emphasized that the DCCC is not encouraging or discouraging members from supporting a vote allowing a military strike.
“The DCCC has absolutely no opinion, no calculation,” Israel said. “We are emphatically neutral on this issue. Our job is to win elections, not to shape foreign policy and national security.”
House Democrats, he added, won’t back the strike simply to help Obama.
“They love the president, but they love themselves more,” he said. “So at the end of the day, they’re going to do what makes the most sense for themselves and their districts.”
Still, Israel couldn’t help but take a swipe at House Republicans for opposing Obama’s proposal, suggesting their opposition was rooted not in principled opposition but in partisanship.
“Does anybody truly believe that if Mitt Romney had been elected president and asked House Republicans for exactly what President Obama is asking, that House Republicans would oppose it to extent that they’re opposing what President Obama wants?” he asked. “The level of hypocrisy is what amazes me.”
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With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:
- An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clinton leading Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary Johnson at 7%.
- A McClatchy-Marist poll gave Clinton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way ballot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
- Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shunning traditional debate preparations, but has been watching video of…Clinton’s best and worst debate moments, looking for her vulnerabilities.” Trump “has paid only cursory attention to briefing materials. He has refused to use lecterns in mock debate sessions despite the urging of his advisers. He prefers spitballing ideas with his team rather than honing them into crisp, two-minute answers.”
Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."
Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."