The Politics of More Antiwar Republicans…
The New York Times brings to our attention an up and comer:
On matters like abortion, military spending and religion, Representative Walter B. Jones seems thoroughly in tune with this conservative, staunchly Republican district in eastern North Carolina, home to the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune and thousands of military retirees.
On the issue of war, however, Mr. Jones has defied typecasting. An early critic of the American invasion of Iraq, he has been ostracized by the Republican leadership in Congress. And now he is emerging as a leading advocate for swiftly withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan, a position that has made him, of all things, a liberal hero.
“When you talk about war, political parties don’t matter,” he said in an interview.
Jones was the one who sponsored a bill along with Jim McGovern of Massachusetts that intended to accelerate the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and “26 Republicans broke with their leadership to support it, triple the number who voted for a similar measure last year.”
On a similar note, the WSJ today ran an editorial blasting many Republican Congressman for “transform[ing] themselves into isolationists” now that a Democrat is in the White House.
The most remarkable spectacle was the emergence of the Kucinich Republicans, who voted for Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich’s resolution that would stop U.S. military action in Libya within 15 days. At least Mr. Kucinich is consistent in opposing U.S. force against dictators and other enemies no matter who sits in the Oval Office.
But what is the explanation for the 87 Republicans, including the likes of Indiana’s Dan Burton and Wisconsin’s Jim Sensenbrenner, who transform themselves into isolationists when a Democrat takes over the White House?
The piece (no author) is rife with jingoistic concerns about disunity in war time and confused claims of king-like executive power conferred upon the Presidency by the Constitution, but one merit of the piece is that it points out the political nature of this apparent Republican turn to non-intervention. There are a few antiwar Republicans now in office (Ron and Rand Paul, Walter B. Jones, a few Tea Partiers), but recent history shows that all that the rest will need to jerk themselves back to a state of salivating war-hungry outlaws is another Republican president.
Update: I came late to Glenn Greenwald’s post on a similar topic. Excerpt:
That said, insincerely motivated anti-war and pro-civil-liberties sentiment is better than none at all. I’ve long argued that the only way for a meaningful defense of civil liberties — and meaningful opposition to the excesses of the National Security State — to arise is by removing those issues from the partisan prism. All Americans have an interest in barring the government from transgressing Constitutional limits (if, for no other reason, than because a politically hostile President from the other party may use those powers against them: see this Tom Tomorrow cartoon on the Democrats’ support for the Patriot Act). All non-oligarchical Americans are harmed by the insatiable piggishness of the corporatist beneficiaries of excessive military spending. And all Americans are inculcated with an instinctive belief in due process and distrust of government power exercised without transparency and checks.