Syria splintering Dems
The unofficial whip count list on Syria is fascinating in political terms.
The issue with the Republicans may be how hard the House leadership tries to whip members into line. Republican leaders are in a position in which they at least have to pay lip service to Obama simply because of the longstanding Republican position that politics should stop at the water's edge once a President, any president, commits to a plan of action. My guess is they won't press very hard to line up votes.
The Democrats have a far more complex political problem. There exists a huge block of members who were elected at least in part because they professed pacifism in principle when now it seems that all they really were was anti-Bush. But many of their supporters probably took them at their word in the progressive strongholds across the nation. What to make of militant progressives such as Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill) who are now said to be in support of going to war? And what to make of career progressive politician Ed Markey, recently elected Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass)? He started his political career by opposing the war in Vietnam. Markey took the bold move and voted present on the Syria resolution in committee. He will have to run for a full term in 2014.
While none of these seats are potential pickups for Republicans too much rank hypocrisy will encourage potential primary opponents and there is plenty of time to put together a respectable challenge. Nor will but I only did it to support the President be a big sop to the true believers coming into the end of a lame duck term.
The press loves to write about the Republicans falling apart but this issue has the potential to shred the Democratic Party at the grassroots level where a healthy chunk of money and volunteer manpower is anti-war on principle.