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Thu Sep 5, 2013, 09:19 PM

Hawks, Doves, Fence Sitters (Updated with names)

There are 18 kinds of Syria bombing opponents in Congress, and 12 kinds of bombing supporters.

This piece has been updated since original publication to add to the list of members of Congress for and against Syria action.

During the Cold War and for a period after the attacks of 9/11, a national security consensus existed between the two parties. When it came to foreign adventures, the presidentís party would support him, and a significant portion of the opposition (sometimes a majority) would go along, too. This consensus has been fraying. On issues from President Obamaís use of drones, to the breadth of U.S. surveillance, to how to respond to the coup in Egypt, there is confusion, instability, and partisanship in Washington.

This is why the Congressional debate over the presidentís decision to attack Syria is so fraught. The well-worn partisan splits don't tell us much. House Republican leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor are supporting the president, but theyíre leaving it up to Obama to make the case to colleagues who donít like him and and many of whose constituents are against action. A recent Pew poll found 48 percent of voters, including 40 percent of Republicans oppose action. (Only 29 percent of the public favors action and only 35 percent of Republicans do.)

Isolationist Republicans are aligned with Democratic doves in opposing the move. Republican hawks are aligning with Democrats anxious to support the president and who believe in using force for humanitarian ends. The consensus will only really be known after the vote and may not tell us much beyond the narrow limits of the minutely tailored congressional authorization. The attack is supposed to punish Bashar al-Assad without changing the balance of power in the ongoing civil war (like stopping a fugitive to give him a speeding ticket before letting the chase continue), which means members may tailor their reasons for voting in equally careful ways. As they do so, here is a preliminary typology of the distinct positions on intervention in Syria:


http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2013/09/obama_congress_and_syria_arguments_for_and_against_the_bombing_resolution.html



Sens. John McCain (L) and Lindsey Graham (R) have expressed support for intervention in Syria.
Photo by Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

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Reply Hawks, Doves, Fence Sitters (Updated with names) (Original post)
Rhiannon12866 Sep 2013 OP
Cooley Hurd Sep 2013 #1
Rhiannon12866 Sep 2013 #2
Rhiannon12866 Sep 2013 #3

Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Thu Sep 5, 2013, 10:06 PM

1. Kick and recommended - this is a good explanation of where the fissures lay...

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 5, 2013, 10:12 PM

2. Thanks! I thought we needed a guide to remember who supports what...

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 6, 2013, 01:29 PM

3. This is truly bizarre. Chris Gibson pretty much agrees with Alan Grayson...

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