Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Libs (both kinds)

Remember what I said a couple of months ago (scroll down) about Libertarians and Greens being closer together on the political spectrum circle, and Ds and Rs grouped on the other side? This latest development with regard to our next war is more about how that is evolving.

As the struggle to secure House votes for or against authorization for military strikes in Syria accelerates, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has started making plans to team up with isolationist conservatives to stop the resolution, TPM has learned.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) has become the leader of the progressive resistance. He is planning an “ad hoc whip operation,” as he called it in a phone interview with TPM. That includes supplying other aligned members with talking points and giving them the names of undecided colleagues to lobby for a no vote.

Grayson’s office has also been in touch with staffs for Republicans who oppose military action against Syria, such as tea party favorite Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), about crafting an organized strategy for lobbying no votes.

It started with opposition to NSA spying, and has gained strength as Syria comes into focus.

How real are the prospects for a genuine alliance against action in Syria between progressive anti-war Democrats and isolationist Tea Party libertarians?

Dem Rep. Alan Grayson, a leader of the anti-war wing of the House Democratic caucus, tells TPM’s Dylan Scott he is organizing across the aisle to create such an alliance by gearing up an “ad hoc whip organization.” This sort of right-left alliance is often discussed but rarely materializes. But this time there could be something to it.

Here’s a way to look at it. I compared the current whip count of Members of Congress who are firm or leaning No votes on Syria right now, with the Members who voted Yes on the recent amendment to end bulk NSA surveillance that corralled a surprising amount of bipartisan support. The vote on that amendment — which was sponsored by GOP Rep. Justin Amash and Dem Rep. John Conyers — was perhaps the clearest demonstration of such a developing alliance we’ve seen.

The overlap is striking. I count nearly four dozen Representatives — from both parties — that are on both lists. In other words, even though it’s early in the whipping process on Syria, we’re already seeing substantial numbers of Members who voted to end NSA surveillance now coming out or leaning against action in Syria.

Overlook, for the moment, the deep hypocrisy of Republican war hawks turning themselves into doves since it's Obama now in the Oval Office.  (Lies about weapons of mass destruction suddenly concern them ten years after?  Really?!) 

Despite this two-faced duplicitousness, there is more common ground being cultivated among the far right and the far left than there is among partisan Democrats and Republicans.

It's not your father's two-party system any more.  Just be careful where you apply those labels.

Update: Glenn Greenwald agrees...

To say that there is a major sea change underway -- not just in terms of surveillance policy but broader issues of secrecy, trust in national security institutions, and civil liberties -- is to state the obvious. But perhaps the most significant and enduring change will be the erosion of the trite, tired prism of partisan simplicity through which American politics has been understood over the last decade. What one sees in this debate is not Democrat v. Republican or left v. right. One sees authoritarianism v. individualism, fealty to The National Security State v. a belief in the need to constrain and check it, insider Washington loyalty v. outsider independence. 

... and emphasizes the larger point: that establishment Republicans and Democrats in Congress are lined up together to advance the interests of the elite against the hoi polloi.

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