Tea Partiers and Liberals – An Unlikely Union on Syria

Tea Partiers and Liberals – An Unlikely Union on Syria

One of the things lost in the Syria military action discussion is that it’s the people on both sides of the political spectrum unifying to create a bloc of opposition, while those in the (allegedly) most popular center hold hands to promote a use of force.

As Peter Weber of TheWeek.com notes, it’s quite the unlikely union.

“The Tea Party movement formed in early 2009 to protest an Obama administration housing and bank bailout proposal, gathered strength opposing ObamaCare and taxes, and evolved into a reliably Republican voting and advocacy force…Now, the Tea Party is linking arms with bearded leftist peaceniks — literally — at rallies opposing U.S. intervention in Syria, says Trip Gabriel in The New York Times…’I haven’t seen grass-roots response this huge since that first opposition to TARP,’ says Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, which recently urged lawmakers to oppose intervention in Syria.”

He then asks the question: How did we get here? How did two polar opposites end up combining forces against the middle?

Part of it has been the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, led by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. They’ve stepped up to take the conch from the GOP leaders of old.

“In Congress, the libertarian faction of the GOP has been gaining ground since George W. Bush left office and former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) became a prominent voice, now represented most vocally by Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Along with opposing taxes, regulation, and government generally, the libertarian Republicans tend to be wary about intervening abroad.”

Recent polls have shown that the anti-interventionist option in Syria is by far the most popular choice among Americans, many of whom are war-weary or skeptical about getting involved any more in the Middle East. Not to mention, the U.S. hasn’t even officially gotten out of its most recent war.

So Paul, who has been the loudest voice against U.S. military action, and an absolute force when it comes to building support, is in many ways acting as the megaphone for U.S. citizens. It’s no wonder he’s so popular right now.

And that’s forcing the entirety of the GOP to rethink its party brand.

“It’s an open question ‘whether the Tea Party becomes a long-term anti-war force, outlasting the Syria issue — which contains an element of bald anti-Obama sentiment,’ says The New York Times’ Gabriel. Kibbe, the FeedomWorks president, says the Ron Paul wing of the party really is gaining ground over the neo-conservatives and hawks who have held sway since the Eisenhower administration.

‘There’s a recentering or realignment going on in the Republican Party,’ Kibbe tells The New York Times. And at least for now, the Tea Party has a new driving purpose.”

A driving purpose with Paul at the pedal. Watch out.

 

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