Congressional war votes are usually secured by support from both parties’ leadership and their ability to coax the rank-and-file to go along with them. This time, that seems set to fail, as the leadership has jumped on the war bandwagon but failed to get much of anything in the way of support.
It’s not coincidental that the failure of the war rhetoric is happening in both parties, but rather reflects a growing unity among Progressive Democrats and the Tea Party Republicans, each of which is more than willing to stand up to the party’s leadership, and stand with an American public that polls show is also opposed to war.
On the Democrat side, Rep. Alan Grayson (D – FL) has led what he is calling an “ad hoc whip operation,” pushing the large undecided contingent in his party toward “no” votes. With Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D – CA) admitting that she might not be able to get her party’s support on the war, he’s looking pretty successful.
The Tea Party has been at least as successful in the House, if not moreso, and is also fueling opposition to the war in the Senate, usually more sensitive to the demands of party leadership and less to the American voters.
They even managed to convince Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – KY) away from supporting the war, warning him that he could face a dangerous primary battle in 2014 if he supports the war against the public’s wishes.
Efforts to unite the left and right on opposition to military adventurism have been a long-standing project for many, and seems to finally be paying dividends as the administration pushes for a war in Syria and finds, unexpectedly, serious opposition in the public is extending into the halls of Congress too.