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.
I first started looking for the formation of such a coalition when reading an article about the DOJ looking at reporters phone calls. This caught my attention:
It is with this in mind that four very different members of Congress (Michigan Republican Justin Amash, South Carolina Republican Mick Mulvaney, California Democrat Zoe Lofgren and Colorado Democrat Jared Polis) have proposed a precise and appropriate response to the overreach by the Department of Justice.
I’ve also discussed the data showing this split with respect to the recent NSA revelations. And how I think the second dimension only seems to appear in American politics when civil liberties are under attack by authoritarian approaches.
We are now seeing this start to expand to rifts that are not about the NSA. The same ‘weird’ coalition is beginning to be seen with respect to the the ability of an Imperial President to carry out war on his own say-so.
Weird if you look at left and right. But it makes sense along this second axis.
As this new coalition gets used to working with each other and begins to gain some political power, it will get stronger. And begin to counter the authoritarian aspects of each party.
Politics does make strange bedfellows.