When the textbooks and other tomes about President Obama’s time in the White House are written, history hopefully will be kinder to him than current events have been. As if two wars, a feeble economy, historically high unemployment and a budget battle weren’t enough, the president now faces a crisis in Libya—and a firestorm of criticism back home.
The man just can’t catch a break.
Following a White House announcement that the U.S. would participate in the United Nations’ mission to take out Libya’s air defenses by creating a no-fly zone over the country to protect civilians against vicious air attacks by military forces loyal to Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi, a group of Democratic House lawmakers, including four Congressional Black Caucus members, participated in a weekend call in which they “all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality the president’s actions,” Politico reports.
The news that U.S. participation has expanded to weakening Gaddafi hold on the ground, has Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) all over the airwaves saying that Obama’s failure to get permission from Congress could be an impeachable offense.
Speaking at a news conference in Chile on Monday, Obama reiterated his stand that Gaddafi “needs to go” and that he expects the United States to transfer leadership of the military operation to other allies within “a matter of days, not weeks.”
But if it goes on for too long, he could pay a high political price.
“If it turns out to be relatively measured and brief engagement, I suspect there will be no fallout. If it’s only several days, I don’t think it would have much impact on 2012 or the president’s approval ratings,” said University of Michigan political scientist Vincent Hutchings. “But if it turns out to be longer or Gadhafi is able to survive [the operation] and is basically able to reassert control over the country, it might contribute to a perception that Obama is weak.”
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is toying with the idea of a presidential bid in 2012, seconds that. Speaking on Fox News Monday morning, he said, “If Gadhafi survives, it is a clear defeat for the president of the United States who said on March 3 that he had to go.”