This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

How politically risky is President Obama's decision to send aid to Syrian rebels?

DEMOCRATS (95 votes)

Very risky: 16%
Somewhat risky: 52%
Somewhat low risk: 22%
Very low risk: 10%

Very risky

"This is the ghost of Bush-Iraq coming back to haunt the guy who opposed that conflict."

"Hard to imagine that this has a happy ending."

Somewhat risky

"Small arms are unlikely to make much of a difference, so the move could be seen as too little, too late."

"It undermines him with his base, while GOP hawks will hate him just the same."

"If it leads to military intervention or boots on the ground, that will hurt him further with his base."

"Pick your bad option."

"Is it a Bosnia or an Iraq?"

"Who cares how risky it is for him? What will count is how those up in 2014 respond to the decision."

"This will be a long, costly war with no real winners."

"There is no right or wrong answer to whether the U.S. can be effective in Syria."

Somewhat low risk

"War is good for a president's approval rate."

"Human-rights atrocities like those taking place in Syria merit U.S. leadership to address."

"McCain gave him plenty of cover."

Very low risk

"As long as we do not have boots on the ground, there is little political risk."

How politically risky is President Obama's decision to send aid to Syrian rebels?

REPUBLICANS (85 VOTES)

Very risky: 32%
Somewhat risky: 33%
Somewhat low risk: 33%
Very low risk: 2%

Very risky

"It's a no-win deal, politically, which means optically. Either a butcher, who is not our enemy, remains in power, or jihadist insurgents, who are not our friends, take over."

"No troops, no oversight — he may as well give a book of matches to a pyromaniac and walk away."

"Everything a president does in the Middle East is fraught with political risk. The question is whether it is in our strategic interest, and right now the answer appears to be MAYBE."

Somewhat risky

"Egypt, Libya, Syria. (Too little, too late.)"

"Nothing is without a fair degree of risk in this region at this time."

"What's even more risky is the lack of an endgame."

"Arming the mujahedeen worked out so well, why wouldn't ya?"

"It is a risk he has to take."

Somewhat low risk

"The short-term political risks are quite low. The long-term effects of having sacrificed U.S. leadership in the region to Iran are another story."

"Right thing to do for someone who will never be on a ballot again."

"He is still holding together the left-wing coalition that elected him. At some point, they may give up on him, too, but not yet."

"The political risk is minimal since the crisis divides both parties."

Very low risk

"If things head south, he will pull out in a hurry. His base doesn't like it, but what can they do?"

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Steve McMahon, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O'Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jefrey Pollock, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Kevin O'Neill, Connie Partoyan, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud.

How politically risky is President Obama's decision to send aid to Syrian rebels?

DEMOCRATS (95 votes)

Very risky: 16%
Somewhat risky: 52%
Somewhat low risk: 22%
Very low risk: 10%

Very risky

"This is the ghost of Bush-Iraq coming back to haunt the guy who opposed that conflict."

"Hard to imagine that this has a happy ending."

Somewhat risky

"Small arms are unlikely to make much of a difference, so the move could be seen as too little, too late."

"It undermines him with his base, while GOP hawks will hate him just the same."

"If it leads to military intervention or boots on the ground, that will hurt him further with his base."

"Pick your bad option."

"Is it a Bosnia or an Iraq?"

"Who cares how risky it is for him? What will count is how those up in 2014 respond to the decision."

"This will be a long, costly war with no real winners."

"There is no right or wrong answer to whether the U.S. can be effective in Syria."

Somewhat low risk

"War is good for a president's approval rate."

"Human-rights atrocities like those taking place in Syria merit U.S. leadership to address."

"McCain gave him plenty of cover."

Very low risk

"As long as we do not have boots on the ground, there is little political risk."

How politically risky is President Obama's decision to send aid to Syrian rebels?

REPUBLICANS (85 VOTES)

Very risky: 32%
Somewhat risky: 33%
Somewhat low risk: 33%
Very low risk: 2%

Very risky

"It's a no-win deal, politically, which means optically. Either a butcher, who is not our enemy, remains in power, or jihadist insurgents, who are not our friends, take over."

"No troops, no oversight — he may as well give a book of matches to a pyromaniac and walk away."

"Everything a president does in the Middle East is fraught with political risk. The question is whether it is in our strategic interest, and right now the answer appears to be MAYBE."

Somewhat risky

"Egypt, Libya, Syria. (Too little, too late.)"

"Nothing is without a fair degree of risk in this region at this time."

"What's even more risky is the lack of an endgame."

"Arming the mujahedeen worked out so well, why wouldn't ya?"

"It is a risk he has to take."

Somewhat low risk

"The short-term political risks are quite low. The long-term effects of having sacrificed U.S. leadership in the region to Iran are another story."

"Right thing to do for someone who will never be on a ballot again."

"He is still holding together the left-wing coalition that elected him. At some point, they may give up on him, too, but not yet."

"The political risk is minimal since the crisis divides both parties."

Very low risk

"If things head south, he will pull out in a hurry. His base doesn't like it, but what can they do?"

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Steve McMahon, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O'Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jefrey Pollock, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Kevin O'Neill, Connie Partoyan, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud.

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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