Well, not quite, perhaps, but still, there can be little doubt that all sorts of aspersions and comparisons would have been hurled at Obama had he failed to 'consult' with Congress in an open and proper way rather than those dodgy private telephone conferences where everyone can spin it the way they want it.
In today's Telegraph, Charles Moore, a distinguished former editor of The Spectator and a man whose commentary I take seriously without necessarily agreeing with all of it, has an interesting and contrary opinion on this week's vote in parliament:
Yesterday morning, Britain woke up and found it no longer had a functioning
foreign policy. “We might as well turn all our embassies into car showrooms,”
one Cabinet minister told me bitterly.
The Government’s defeat in the House of Commons over Syria is like a
no-confidence vote, though it wasn’t one. “You must trust my judgment,” said
David Cameron, as all prime ministers from time to time must say, “in matters of
war and peace.” “We don’t,” said Parliament. Obviously, if you do not trust your
leader, you have withdrawn from him the right to make decisions.
To which I can only ask whose fault was it, then? Surely a prime minister should have a very keen sense of what both his party and the other parties will or will not support. There have been constant reports over the past couple of years that 'Cameron the Toff' has superceded 'Cameron the Party Leader' and that he finds the company of ordinary backbenchers tedious and prefers to surround himself with people of, dare I say it, his own class. Last Thursday's train crash was proof that those stories were very soundly based.
However, I certainly do not agree with the inference to be drawn from Charles Moore's words that somehow parliament should - must? - go along with whatever a prime minister orders when it comes to matters of war and peace and foreign policy. Members of parliament are, God help us, 'representatives of the people' and it is precisely on these huge matters of moment that they should try to take the flavour of public opinion , meld it (if possible) with their own, and then vote accordingly. Otherwise, what is the point of them? Of course, it goes without saying that the Great British Public and their, er, less than Great British Representatives in parliament will frequently get it wrong. They did that for six wasted years from 1933 to 1939. But, hey (as they say these days), that's the price of democracy. And anyway, the politicians frequently do not know any better than the mythical man on the Clapham omnibus!
So now the searchlight falls on Congress. Crafty Obama has just handed them a shit sandwich. Will they eat it or will they spit it back in his face? Will the so-called 'Peace Movements' mobilise in the streets against their favourite president? Will it split the pacifist wing of the Democrat party? Will the Republicans split between their isolationist wing and their war party? Who knows? - but I can't wait to find out - and I'm not making any forecasts!