In fact, they think we’ve become downright Doveish
Of all the unexpected turns in the Syria debate, one stands out most: The GOP, the party of a muscular national defense, has gone the way of the dove.
A decade after leading the country into Iraq and Afghanistan, Republicans have little appetite or energy for a strike aimed at punishing Bashar Assad for allegedly gassing his own people. To the contrary, many of the party’s lawmakers are lining up to sink President Barack Obama’s war authorization vote.
Of the 279 Republicans currently in the House and Senate, 83 were also serving in October 2002. All of them voted to give George W. Bush authorization to invade Iraq. Now, just 10 of those 83 have come out in support of striking Syria. Most of the others have expressed serious reservations or are leaning against voting for the authorization.
That the shift has many possible causes — the enormous toll of American lives and taxpayer dollars exacted by two faraway wars since 2001, the antagonism toward a Democratic president, the very different circumstances in Syria than Iraq — makes it no less remarkable. From the Vietnam War through the Cold War and into Afghanistan and Iraq, an aggressive foreign policy has been as much a part of the Republican Party’s identity as low taxes and opposition to abortion.
From there, Politico states that Syria really isn’t Iraq, but, hey, Republicans were all for that adventure, but must be big meanies for not wanting to engage in a super limited air strike on Syrian government property, with the targets having been leaked. I’m surprised that the raaaaacism meme didn’t rear its head.
But politics is also unquestionably at play. The GOP’s resistance has to do not just with the proposed mission but who’s leading the charge. Having Obama making the case instead of Bush, makes a difference.
Well, yeah, but not because Obama’s a Democrat, but because he’s a horrible Commander In Chief (among other things). How’d Libya work out? Not well. Not well at all. Syria has little to no impact on our national security, except in that Obama has made the U.S. look weaker. But, really, most world leaders understand that it’s Obama who is weak, not America. The GOP understands that the strikes will do virtually nothing.
But, notice that many of the memes in the media have been aimed at harming the GOP politically. Anyone want to bet that this is exactly what Obama wanted when he decided, at the last minute in a decision that surprised the heck out of all his advisers, to shuffle the responsibility over to Congress?