Norquist: Obama Will Be Weaker Because of Syria

President will use political capital he needs for other fights with Congress, Norquist says.

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President Obama's campaign to win congressional approval for military strikes in Syria will weaken him politically in the coming budget fights this fall, says conservative tax-cutting advocate Grover Norquist.

"Win, lose or draw, he's weaker," Norquist told me. "He's doing something that two-thirds of the American people don't want." Norquist adds that swing voters are particularly angry with Obama because of his intervention plan, and declining support from that key voting group will further erode Obama's political strength.

Recent polls show that about 60 percent of voters oppose Obama's plan to intervene militarily in Syria to punish the Damascus regime for allegedly using chemical weapons.

[READ: Poll: Most Americans Oppose U.S. Military Strike in Syria]

Norquist says Obama "is going to ask for permission to spend a lot of money to blow stuff up," and the president will need Congress to approve funds to replace the expensive bombs and missiles that he wants to use and to pay other costs associated with the intervention.

Grover Norquist, a conservative tax activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform, far right, testifies in favor of immigration reform legislation during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 22, 2013.
Grover Norquist, a conservative tax activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform, far right, testifies in favor of immigration reform legislation during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 22, 2013.

Some critics also say Obama will be trying to twist arms in other ways, expending his political capital on Syria even though he will need that capital in the budget fights ahead.

[OPINION: Sequestration Cuts to the Air Force Impede Ability to Intervene in Syria]

Those battles include confrontations over raising the debt ceiling and a continuing resolution to keep the government running. "He will be weaker because he has to trade something for what he's getting" on the Syria front, Norquist says.

Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, is best known for persuading many Republican legislators to pledge never to raise taxes.

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  • Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and on Facebook and Twitter.