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Friday, September 6, 2013
Bill's Mugs
The Factor Rundown
Guest Host
Laura Ingraham
Talking Points Memo & Top Story
Impact Segment
Personal Story Segment
Factor Follow Up Segment
Unresolved Problems Segment
Unresolved Problems Segment II
Comments
More Questions Than Answers
"Today at the G20 meeting in Russia, President Obama acknowledged the steep hill he has to climb for military action in Syria, and his planned address to the nation on Tuesday may not do him any good. When the President tried to explain why he went to Congress, he conceded that Assad does not pose an 'imminent and direct threat to the United States.' Bingo! That is one of the main reasons the American people are vehemently against blowing one dime in Syria or jeopardizing the lives of our military personnel there. There are major questions the administration can not adequately answer - questions about the identity and motivation of the rebels, about how we would pay for all of this, about what our real objectives are and whether they are achievable. With the exception of a coterie of Washington elites, left, right, and center are united against military action. So will our representatives be guided by the bipartisan demands of the people, including most veterans and active duty military? Or will they continue to follow a path of endless spending on wars to enforce 'international norms,' even though the rest of the world strongly opposes such wars. The time has come for the American people to draw their own red line. The establishment has failed us on many fronts - a jobless recovery, skyrocketing debt, porous borders, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that accomplished very little. They should stop trying to sell us more wars against nonexistent threats and start doing their jobs on the home front. A stronger, more prosperous America, not more establishment wars of choice, will lead to a more stable, peaceful world."

Laura welcomed military analyst Robert Kagan, who criticized the Obama administration's effort to convince the folks of the need for action. "The public mood should not be that surprising," Kagan said. "For five years President Obama has been telling the American people that they should be nation-building at home and getting out of the Middle East. Now he turns on a dime and says this is a big threat and we have to do something about it, and I am not at all surprised that the American people have whiplash." Nevertheless, Kagan contended that military action against Syria may be warranted. "I think there are substantial American interests at stake in Syria and I worry that if we look away from a dangerous world it will eventually come back to bite us. If we continue to do nothing, the jihadists continue to get stronger." Laura theorized that Americans are still suffering from a hangover after the war in Iraq: "People see the broken men and women who came back and they see the collapsed economy. Iraq is in total chaos."
Obama vs. Congress
President Obama's decision to request Congressional approval for military action in Syria may backfire; many political observers predict the House is likely to reject the authorization. Laura hashed out the prospective vote with Michael Scherer of Time Magazine and political scientist Larry Sabato. "Right now it looks bad for the President," Scherer said. "If you include members who are leaning, there are counts that have this losing in the House. The President will have another chance to make his case to the country and to individual members of Congress, but clearly the administration is in a worse position now than a few days ago." Sabato added that opposition to an attack is strikingly non-partisan. "It's great to see Democrats and Republicans working together. The Senate is likely to approve this resolution because two-thirds of the Senators are not up for reelection until 2016 or 2018, whereas 100% of House members are up in 2014. That's one of the reasons they are so skeptical of this Syrian adventure." Laura added, "People are melting down the phone lines on Capitol Hill and the calls are about 95 - 1 against."
Facing off with Russia
The chilly relationship between President Obama and Russia's Vladimir Putin has grown even colder over the Syria situation. Nile Gardiner of the conservative Heritage Foundation analyzed the Putin-Obama tension and how it played out at the G20 meeting in Russia. "This was a very bad day for Barack Obama," Gardiner declared, "for he did not secure the international coalition he so badly needs to support military action. He has implemented a policy of appeasement towards the Russians for the last four-and-a-half years, and where has that gotten the United States? Vladimir Putin practically walked all over Barack Obama today, it was a rather humiliating day for the President. So far his grand international coalition has Barack Obama and the socialist French President. Compare that with President Bush's 40-country coalition that went into Iraq! Barack Obama just projects sheer weakness, dithering, and indecisiveness."
Who are the Syrian Rebels?
A gruesome video shows Syrian rebels executing seven Syrian soldiers, reportedly after torturing them. Laura asked FNC Middle East analyst Walid Phares how he would effect change in Syria. "Many people say let the two sides fight," Phares said, "but they could form two Syrias, both with chemical weapons. Another option is to arm the rebels, but that would be arming Al Qaeda. My choice would be to find an area inside Syria where there are Kurds and Christians and other minorities, have a no-fly zone over them, and have people aggregate with them from all sides. I'm not talking about taking down Assad, I'm talking about having a zone that is free and allied with the United States." Laura expressed skepticism, saying, "We just don't trust the establishment to run these wars of choice any more, we don't see that it ultimately affects our national security."
Can President Obama Please His Base?
Many of President Obama's most loyal supporters on the left disagree vehemently with his call for action in Syria. Laura welcomed two staunch liberals, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg. "I have written an article," Kucinich said, "called 'Top 10 Unproven Claims For War Against Syria.' I did an analysis today and so far only 11% of Democrats who voted against the Iraq war have switched to vote for the war against Syria. I think Democrats will vote pretty solidly against this, the President hasn't made the case." Rosenberg wasn't nearly so certain that his fellow Democrats will oppose the President. "This is a tough issue for both parties and I don't know where we'll end up next week. The President's speech will matter a lot and I still think he has a shot at winning this. He has to make a better case Tuesday night than he's been making the last couple of weeks." Laura concluded, "Nobody in the world community is willing to spend one dime or the life of one soldier to take out Assad."
Politics in the Classroom
Michigan State University has temporarily removed English professor William Penn from the classroom after he harangued his students about Republicans who have "raped this country." Laura welcomed attorney David Lane, who objected to Penn's reassignment. "Michigan State has taken an adverse employment action against him based on the content of his speech," Lane posited, "so the issue becomes whether the content of his speech is protected under his First Amendment. Because Michigan State is a public school, this is the government punishing him for his free speech, which should raise a red flag for everyone who is concerned about the government suppressing free speech." Laura argued that Penn is actually getting off easy by merely being reassigned: "If he had said something equally derogatory about gay Americans or Muslims, there would be a huge public outcry and a demand that he be fired. You don't have a right to work at Michigan State University."
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