Obama stymied as Gladys Whiskerson, Ohio homemaker, declines to support Syrian strike

6 Sep

PILTON VALLEY, Ohio—in the latest blow to President Obama’s efforts to rally national and international support for punitive action against Syria, his decision to seek permission from Gladys Whiskerson appears to have backfired on him.

Obama, who is said by his staff to be eager to enforce the “red line” he declared last year, had previously said he would strike only if he had support from Congress, the American public, NATO, the European Union, the entire cast of “Friends,” senior executives at Dunkin’ Donuts, and Ms. Whiskerson, a housewife in this small rural community known for her involvement in 4-H and a mean hand at bowling. So far, however, several of those groups have been reluctant to get involved, foremost among them Whiskerson, who called the idea “crazy.”

“I’m just a simple woman who knows apple pie and bowling,” said Whiskerson in a statement. “But I do think that cruise-missile strikes against the Alawite-led Syrian regime are unlikely to increase regional stability in the long run.”

Aides described Obama as “beside himself” at his inability to convince Whiskerson.

“Look, the President is a big fan of gutsy moves in international relations,” said an aide speaking on condition of anonymity. “He’d love nothing more than to enforce his warnings against the use of chemical weapons. But if we can’t get complete unanimity from the seventy-two different groups that he has voluntarily sought approval from, then his hands are completely tied. You can’t expect him to use the constitutional powers of the Presidency without permission.”

On the ground in Syria, the embattled opposition was reported to be “deeply concerned” at the President’s political dilemma. An umbrella group released a statement expressing its “fervent wish” that Obama somehow be able to wriggle his way out of the corner without lasting political damage.

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