SARASOTA - U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, (R) Longboat Key, remains unmoved by President Barack Obama's push to strike Syria for using chemical weapons. "I don't see where it's in our vital interests from a security standpoint for us to engage today," he says, adding his office has fielded more than 800 calls from constituents on this issue. "Ninety-five percent are opposed," he says.
In person, and by proxy, the president makes the case to strike Syria for gassing its own people. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asked, "are you going to be comfortable if Assad, as a result of the United States not doing anything, then gasses his people yet again, and the world says, 'why didn't the United States act?'"
"Nobody likes to hear about that," Buchanan responds. "But I just can't see us getting involved in the Middle East."
And that seems to be the counterpoint, from the right and the left. Yes, it's bad, but it's not our business. "It is not our problem. It is very expensive. And it's dangerous," Rep. Alan Grayson, (D) Orlando, told CNN.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved using force against Syria. But the president faces an uphill climb to get the U.S. House to agree, especially as polls show that Americans do not like the idea. An ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 59% opposed U.S. Intervention in Syria. The number in a Reuters/Ipsos poll was 56% opposed.
Buchanan: "I've had a lot of calls that I've been on with constituents, and they oppose it."
With memories, a decade ago, of the drumbeat to war with Iraq over its weapons of mass destruction. Though the president now does not talk of invading, what he says still appears to reach skeptical ears. "I don't see where it's in our vital interests from a security standpoint for us to engage today," Buchanan says.
Buchanan does have a classified security briefing on Syria Monday that could give him information he doesn't have now, but says he does not expect that it will change his mind.