The president's decision to authorize military action in Libya has plenty of liberal critics up in arms — Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), for one, has threatened Obama with impeachment over the airstrikes — and plenty of conservatives are howling, too. And yet, "the relative lack of Tea Party angst over the no-fly zone has been surprising," writes Dave Weigel at Slate. None of the big national Tea Party umbrella groups — the Tea Party Patriots, the Tea Party Express, and FreedomWorks — has commented on the military action, nor on Obama's decision to pursue it without seeking authorization from Congress. Why?
It's because the Tea party loves America: The Tea Party may be overwhelmingly libertarian, says Weigel at Slate, but "if it has one defining characteristic, it's that it's nationalist." To them, removing the terrorist appeaser Gadhafi is more important than a constitutional debate over whether Congress should have been consulted. That's why 73 percent of Tea Party supporters favor a no-fly zone.
Tea Partiers are just inconsistent and ignorant: In case it wasn't obvious by now, says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly, the Tea Party has a "narrow ideological agenda," and zero consistency. To judge from their silence over Libya, Wall Street reform, and a tax-cut extension "entirely financed through the deficit," you'd have to conclude "they don't know what they're talking about."
"Searching in vain for Tea Partiers' consistency"
The Tea Party is full of neocon hawks... like everyone else in the GOP: You would have thought bashing Obama on Libya would be a "fairly easy call" for Tea Partiers, says Daniel Larison at The American Conservative, given their professed hatred of presidential overreach. But, "with some honorable exceptions," the Tea Party has proved they are "indistinguishable from the hawkish interventionists that have dominated the GOP's thinking for the last decade."
"Still waiting for that new anti-war right"
Actually, some Tea Party leaders have opposed the war: It's not fair to say the Tea Party has been completely silent, says Lindsey Boerma at National Journal. Ron Paul (R-TX), for example, has been an outspoken critic of the president's decision to wage war without congressional approval, and plenty of regional Tea Party chiefs have said the same. The Tea Party movement is a very big tent. "Outside of fiscal issues," why shouldn't there be a wide spectrum of views?
"On Libya, the Tea Party goes rogue"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Pope Francis' American problem
- A brief history of the Christmas present
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 10 things you need to know today: December 20, 2014
- Vox, derp, and the intellectual stagnation of the left
Subscribe to the Week