Politico Pair Puzzled How GOP, 'Party of Hawks,' Has Gone 'Dovish' on Syria

September 9th, 2013 9:45 AM

No website outdoes the Politico when it comes to looking at the world through Beltway-stereotyping glasses. A post this morning on Republican congressmen and senators' views towards attacking Syria exemplifies that outlook.

Apparently, in the fevered minds of Alex Isenstadt and James Hohmann, a GOP lawmaker learning about any idea to intervene militarily automatically salivates at the prospect and shuts down all critical thinking processes. The Politico pair are puzzled at how so many of them can possibly be opposed to President Obama's proposed Syria intervention. It's really not that hard, guys, if you abandon your stereotypes and do some thinking yourselves for a change. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

The party of hawks turns dovish on Syria


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.

... listening to some Republicans lately, it’s hard to believe that they’re the same crowd who led the charge into Iraq.

Somehow, the fact that the situation in Syria is totally different from others makes a completely different reaction "no less remarkable." In other words, the fact that these knuckle-dragging, neanderthal GOP lawmakers aren't marching in lockstep towards any kinds of military conflict, but are instead actually engaging in coherent thought and analysis is "remarkable" to these guys. In unexcerpted text, they also claimed that the party is in the midst of some kind of "ideological upheaval."

Among many differences, I'll cite just two.

First, even Isenstadt and Hohmann admit that Assad "gassing his own people" is "alleged." There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against the Kurds. There is considerable doubt as to whether Assad's military has used chemical weapons, and not inconsequential evidence that Syrian rebels are the ones who used them.

Second, unlike in Iraq, this time the U.S. is in a coalition of one. As noted by Patrick Brennan at National Review, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough admitted as much when he told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday that "You’re trying to get me to say that, but I’m not going to say it."

The upcoming Syria vote has nothing to do with the Politico pair's "hawk vs. dove" contrivance, and everything to do with the facts and circumstances of the situation. It appears that they're having a hard time processing that reality.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.