Betty McCollum is apparently the first vote switching success the White House can claim as a result of its intense lobbying effort for authorization of the use of military force in Syria.
President Obama himself has been calling Democratic members of Congress to ask for their support, and local news reported that Congressman Rick Nolan (D-MN) was contacted by the White House “within hours after voicing dissent on Syria.”
He was probably referring to an August 30 CBS Minnesota report which said “Democrats Betty McCollum and Rick Nolan are joining Republican Michele Bachmann to oppose any military action” (my emphasis).
Now, however, the Star Tribune is reports that “McCollum on Wednesday signed on to a draft resolution in the House that would authorize limited military action — without ground troops — for up to 60 days.”
McCollum is an anomaly though. Yesterday the ranks of those opposed to intervention grew tremendously, and Firedoglake’s whip count page now shows 93 “lean nay” and 92 firm nays. (With 433 members currently in the House, it will take 217 votes to reach a majority.)
The vast majority of these “no” votes are Republicans. Why are so many formerly anti-war Democrats either silent or born-again interventionists?
“It’s because they have to choose between the President and their constituents,” says Alan Grayson. “The President’s in favor of this and their constituents are against it.”
McCollum evidently decided to choose her President.