Never has a President faced the prospect of a threatened Government shutdown as his immediate primary problem with such relief as did President Obama when he arrived at his desk this morning. As he contemplated the looming economic confrontation with Congress over the next few weeks, he did so in the knowledge that he had deferred—at least—needing to order a military strike on Syria without a congressional authorization of the use of force behind him and without the support of a majority of the American people.
Bizarre though that is, the domestic crises in which the Administration must engage during the next several weeks are relatively “child’s play” when compared with international confrontation which appeared imminent two weeks ago. Not that the Syria crisis is going away especially with all the forthcoming U.N. activity following up on the Geneva meetings, but the President certainly did not have his best hours as the leader of the free world during the past few week.
Not only will the U.N. inspection teams be exceedingly active but the Security Council will be absorbed in the activity as well plus the annual General Assembly session will open tomorrow with the general debate scheduled from September 24-October 1. Undoubtedly, the Syrian confrontation will appear large in many of the major speeches not the least of which will be that of the President. In addition, Iran, Egypt, and Israel undoubtedly also will be subjects addressed from various and differing positions by many of the major delegations and world leaders.
Nevertheless, it will be domestic issues which will preoccupy the White House as the debt limit, the FY 2014 federal budget appropriations, the need for a continuing resolution, the demand for tax increases on one side and the push for spending cuts on the other. All of these issues come cascading down as the calendar ticks toward October 1 and the threat of a possible Government shut down looms. The immigration bill will wallow about, awaiting calmer waters. Even Larry Summers’ withdrawal will make the confirmation hearing for the next head of the Fed—baring a surprise candidate– likely to encounter relatively smooth sailing in the Senate.
What a Relief!